Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Game #24: Marlins 4, Mets 3 (15)

A long night was made much too long, and in the end it was New York that ended up on the long side.

The Mets blew leads in the 9th and 15th innings, falling to the Marlins in a sparsely-attended series opener, 4-3.

The Bad Stuff:
  • Up 2-1 in the 9th, Bobby Parnell gave up a long leadoff double to Justin Ruggiano. Collin Cowgill misplayed a Rob Brantly single to send Ruggiano to third, and then he came home on a Nick Green sac fly, resulting in Parnell's second blown save in four opportunities.
  • A long stalemate was broken in the 15th by a Ruben Tejada base hit, the Mets' first and only hit with runners in scoring position. The team went 1-18 in that particular category, stranding 14 men on base.
  • Entering into his unusual second inning of relief work, Shaun Marcum got a quick first out of Placido Polanco. It was the last out he would get on the night. Greg Dobbs singled, Ruggiano walked, and the tying and winning runs came home on a Brantly single and a Green sac fly. Game, set, match.
The Good Stuff:

  • While he ran his pitch count up early on, Matt Harvey was in line for his fifth W, allowing a run on seven hits in 5.1 innings, walking two and striking out seven on a career-high 121 pitches.
  • John Buck blasted his ninth home run of the season into Miami's kitschy home run sculpture in the 4th inning. The RBIs were Buck's 24th and 25th of April.
  • Justin Turner and Ruben Tejada each had three hits on the night.
Final Analysis:
The moral of the story: you can't win a game on productive outs. The Mets had far too many productive outs last night. It didn't work.


Monday, April 29, 2013

GAME UPDATE: Mets vs. Marlins, 4/29/13

Dear beloved readers of Midwestern Met (all three of you),

It is now midnight on the East Coast, and the Mets and Marlins are about to enter their 14th inning of play. Due to a combination of the late hour, my haircut in the morning, and sheer apathy and boredom thanks to 0-15 with RISP, I am suspending the post on tonight's game until tomorrow afternoon. You may all get some sleep. You don't have to go home, but you can't stay here. Some other third "get out of here" cliche.

Goodnight, folks. LGM.


Sunday, April 28, 2013

Game #23: Phillies 5, Mets 1

Most teams who commit three errors in a game are going to lose. Today was no exception.

John Buck's dropped popup opened the flootgates for a big Phillies 7th inning, as the Mets were swept for the first time at home in 2013, 5-1.

The Bad Stuff:
  • New York got lucky in the 1st inning as errors by Jonathon Niese and David Wright led to nothing on the Philadelphia side. They wouldn't get so lucky in the 7th when John Buck dropped a two-out foul ball by way of Lance Nix. Nix took the second chance to single into left, then after Jimmy Rollins's single knocked out Niese, Ryan Howard slammed a pinch-hit double to put the Phils up. Chase Utley drove in Howard to make it 4-1 after seven, and John Mayberry's double in the 8th provided the final margin.
  • The Mets could only manage three hits on the afternoon and just one after the 1st inning, giving Cole Hamels his first W of the season despite six walks from him. They hit 1-5 with RISP and left eight men on base.
The Good Stuff:
  • Jonathon Niese took the hard-luck loss on the afternoon, allowing three runs (one earned) on five hits in 6.2 innings, walking one and striking out three on a season-high 117 pitches. The one earned run Niese allowed was a stupid home run to Freddy Galvis in the 5th inning; Galvis golfed a pitch he had no business hitting over the short wall in the left field corner.
  • David Wright drove in the Mets' only run on a single in the 1st. Ruben Tejada scored that run after a leadoff double in the 1st, his first of two doubles on the afternoon.
Final Analysis:
I believe in the power of the healing hot springs. Miami should provide those tomorrow. Already guaranteed a losing record in the month of April, the Mets need at least a series win and probably a sweep to get their confidence back up for the merry (or not-so-merry) month of May. Matt Harvey takes the hill tomorrow; if anyone can get New York going, it's him.


Game #22: Phillies 9, Mets 4

Even yesterday, New York could have survived with just one bad inning. Two bad innings? Not so much.

Shaun Marcum was knocked around in his season debut and Robert Carson didn't do the Mets any favors in the 5th inning as the Phillies clinched the series with a resounding 9-4 win.

The Bad Stuff:

  • After getting through his first two frames, and with a fresh 1-0 lead courtesy of back-to-back doubles by Ike Davis and Jordany Valdespin, Shaun Marcum faltered in the 3rd inning of his Broadway debut, allowing singles to opposing pitcher Jonathan Pettibone and Jimmy Rollins, then a run-scoring double by Chase Utley. Rollins came home on a wild pitch, then two batters later Ryan Howard brought home a third on a sac fly. Marcum was relieved for a pinch-hitter in the 4th inning with his final numbers a disappointing four innings of five-hit, three-run ball, including two walks and three strikeouts on 71 pitches.
  • The Mets only scored one run in the 4th inning (an Ike Davis sac fly) after loading the bases with none out. Just a half frame after they put this game in a coffin, Robert Carson provided the hammer, nails, shovel, and burial plot. Carson allowed five earned runs in the top of the 5th, including back-to-back home runs by Dominic Brown and John Mayberry, Jr. His ERA now stands at an even-worse-than-Josh Edgin 16.20.
The Good Stuff:
  • David Wright continued to do his best in a bad situation, going 2-4 with an RBI double in the bottom of the 5th. It was is fourth two-bagger of the season and 18th RBI.
  • John Buck pounded his eighth home run of the season in the 9th inning, a solo shot that gave him 23 RBIs so far in April.
Final Analysis:
Maybe the Mets are still in the process of thawing out from their frozen road trip of two weeks ago: since being snowed out on April 14th in Minnesota, the team has lost eight out of 11 to fall from 7-4 to 10-12. Come soon, summer. New York needs a team to heat up.


Saturday, April 27, 2013

Game #21: Phillies 4, Mets 0

The very least you could say is that, at two hours thirty-five minutes, the pain was relatively quick.

The Mets had no answer for Kyle Kendrick, and the Phillies rode a big 6th inning to a 4-0 series-opening win.

The Bad Stuff:

  • Coming off a series in which Philadelphia's big three of Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, and Cole Hamels all lost, it was Kyle Kendrick who needed to be a stopper. But no one expected him to stop New York to the tune of a complete-game, three-hit shutout. He gave up no extra-base hits, walked just one Met, and struck out five of them, turning in one of the finer starts of his career with 107 pitches.
  • The Mets only got a single at-bat with RISP (they failed) and stranded the only four runners to get on base (clearly).
  • In what was in the first half of the game a real pitcher's duel, Dillon Gee cruised to five quick shutout innings himself. Then in the 6th, the roof caved in: three consecutive singles by Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, and Michael Young provided the opening score, and Ryan Howard's three-run homer all but guaranteed a Philly triumph.
The Good Stuff:
Final Analysis:
Dillon Gee, while spectacular for his other 72 pitches, was undone by a horrendous stretch of 11 tosses to start the 6th, and his team paid for it in the W-L column, falling below .500 for the first time in 2013. For the sake of comparison, it took until late summer for the Mets to have a losing record in 2012. Hopes are fading faster for these Mets (some would say at least there's no chance for soul-crushing false hope), and if they consistently make guys like Kyle Kendrick look like any of his better peers in the Philly rotation, it has the makings of a very, very long summer.


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Game #20: Dodgers 3, Mets 2

Well, the Mets got themselves another last-inning home run. It just needed to be at the end, not the beginning.

Ike Davis's solo home run in the 9th wasn't enough as the Mets squandered Jeremy Hefner's best start of the season to drop the game, and the series, to the Dodgers, 3-2.

The Bad Stuff:
  • Tied 1-1 in the 9th, Scott Rice came on for a full inning of relief and proceeded to give up a leadoff double to Nick Punto. Adrian Gonzalez's groundout advanced Punto to third, and Rice walked Matt Kemp intentionally to get to the favorable matchup in Andre Ethier. Favor wasn't kind: Ethier singled in the go-ahead run, then after Bobby Parnell came on to relieve Rice, Juan Uribe hit a single up the middle to make it 3-1.
  • The New Yorkers collectively were far from clutch, as they went 0-5 with RISP and stranded seven. The key inning was the 6th, when the Mets got the first two men on and could only bring one home; the disappointment was punctuated with Ike Davis's strikeout with runners on second and third to end the threat.
The Good Stuff:
  • Jeremy Hefner may have played himself out of going the way of waiver-wire Aaron Laffey, allowing a single run on three hits in seven innings, walking three and striking out four on 93 pitches.
  • David Wright picked up his 17th RBI of the season with a sac fly in the 6th to tie the game at 1-1.
  • Davis's solo home run to lead off the 9th, his fourth of the season, gave the game its final 3-2 margin.
Final Analysis:
The New York bats, so hot upon their return home from the Rocky Mountains to thaw, cooled off again during this series; aside from Jordany Valdespin's grand slam in last night's 10th inning the Mets scored seven runs between 27 innings against L.A.'s pitching.

Great to see Hefner pitching so well this afternoon. He may not be much of a starter but every so often he turns in a gem.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times for Ike Davis, who couldn't get the job done in the 6th but whose last at-bat was particularly memorable. Any time something good happens for Ike you want to think maybe, just maybe, this is when he gets it going. And that's all I can really say right now. We'll see what he does tomorrow against the fourth-place Philadelphia Phillies.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Game #19: Mets 7, Dodgers 3 (10)

On a night when Matt Harvey proved to be mortal, it was another New York young gun that got his own shot at a little immortality.

Jordany Valdespin's walk-off grand slam capped a thrilling comeback for the Mets, who battled back to beat the Dodgers 7-3.

The Good Stuff:
  • It all started with a Carl Crawford play (or lack thereof) in the 9th. Down 3-2, Mike Baxter led off with a line drive to left that Crawford bobbled in a similar manner to his drop at the end of the 2011 Red Sox collapse. Baxter was on with a double and was bunted over to third by Ruben Tejada. After Daniel Murphy was the victim of a spectacular foul catch by Jerry Hairston, Jr. at third, David Wright sent a rope into right center on the first pitch he saw from L.A. closer Brandon League. Wright was caught stealing second to end the inning, but the Mets had new life going into extras.

  • After Bobby Parnell got through the top of the 10th, John Buck led off the bottom with slump-busting single to center. After Josh Wall walked Ike Davis on four pitches, Marlon Byrd bunted both runners into scoring position. As Lucas Duda was walked intentionally, Dodgers' manager Don Mattingly caused an extended delay when he sent out a rare five-man infield (center field moves in right behind second base, left and right fielders become left-center and right-center). With Jordany Valdespin coming up, SNY's Keith Hernandez fretted over how to score this infield. He wouldn't need to: 'Spin took a 2-1 fastball and sent a bomb to right field. The only question was whether New York would win by one run or four, but as it landed in the netting over the former Mo-Zone, Jordany had the Mets' first walk-off grand slam since Kevin McReynolds did it on June 25, 1991 (Robin Ventura, of course, never made it to second).
    • As Kevin Burkhardt interview the triumphant #1, it was not Justin Turner but rally-starter John Buck who came out to give him the pie-in-the-face. Maybe "give" is too gentle a word, because Buck could have broke Jordany's nose with the force he put behind that pie. It was so hard and so fast that a majority of the whipped cream missed Valdespin. Buck has done it all for the Mets in April, but some practice work with JT might help the next time a pie must be delivered.
  • As for the rest of the game, Matt Harvey got the scoring going for his team in the bottom of the 5th, leading off with a wallbanging double off Ted Lilly. Tejada's ensuing groundball skipped just over first base, plating Harvey and knotting the game at one run apiece.
  • Justin Turner's pinch-hit sac fly brought the Mets within one, 3-2, in the bottom of the 6th.
  • LaTroy Hawkins, Scott Rice, Scott Atchison, and Bobby Parnell combined for four hitless innings in relief of Harvey.
 The Bad Stuff:
  • Matt Harvey still walked away from this game with a quality start, but compared to the superhuman run he had during his first four starts, this one qualifies as Bad Stuff. Harvey was tagged for three runs on four hits in six innings, walking one and striking out seven on 90 pitches. After giving up his first 1st-inning run and hits, he settled down until the 6th, when he walked Adrian Gonzalez with two outs. Matt Kemp then snuck his first home run of the season barely over the right field corner wall to make it 3-1.
  • In his first major-league start (his first hit was last night), center fielder Juan Lagares went 0-2 with a walk, the only New York starter without at least one of the team's 11 hits.
Final Analysis:
Even with Matt Harvey, they can't all be record-smashing starts. But he still pitched very well in his first "tough" outing, and his teammates were able to bail him out at the last minute.

Terry Collins has talked about Jordany Valdespin in more of a bench role than as a starter. Um...get that man some starts!! Valdespin is one of the most exciting players on the team, the sparkplug that fills the gap Jose Reyes left. If this really is a lost season, why not give this young man the chance to see what he can do leading off and playing center field? Aside from David Wright, Valdespin has the best potential of anyone on this team to produce Amazin' moments. Tonight was an Amazin' moment, and I hope we see more from the 'Spin as the games roll by.


Game #18: Dodgers 7, Mets 2

After their starter went down much too early, it was only a matter of times before the bullpen started caving in on itself.

The implosion started in the 7th inning, as the beleaguered Mets relief staff gave up five runs over two innings to allow Mark Ellis and the Dodgers a 7-2 series-opening victory.

The Bad Stuff:

  • This ballgame was trouble right from the start, as Jonathon Niese walked the bases loaded in the 2nd inning. The benefit of a double play allowed him to escape with just one run against, but Niese would be out of the game in the next frame after Mark Ellis's line drive ricocheted off his right leg. X-rays came back negative, revealing only a bruise, so things seem to be fine there (for now...).
  • Six innings would prove to be too much heavy lifting for the worst bullpen in the National League.
    • Newly-promoted lefty Robert Carson gave up the tying home run to Ellis in the 5th.
    • Ellis struck again in the 7th, this time against Brandon Lyon, lacing a two-out homer of the three-run variety over the sloped corner of the left field wall to make it 5-2.
    • Another Ellis, A.J. Ellis, brought the nail in the coffin in the 8th with a two-run double to provide the final margin.
The Good Stuff:
  • New York got two runs off Clayton Kershaw in the bottom of the 3rd. L.A.'s ace temporarily unraveled, starting with a two-out walk to Carson, who as a relief pitcher was making his first-career MLB at-bat (his OBP as of now stands at an impressive 1.000). After Ruben Tejada fought for a signature full count walk, Daniel Murphy pounced on a hanging slider for an RBI single up the middle. David Wright followed with a line drive single of his own to score the then-go-ahead run.
  • Tejada and Murphy both had Web Gems in the field, with Ruben soaring high to snag a Jerry Hairston line drive in the 3rd (#1 on ESPN's segment) and Daniel making a nice jump throw to rob A.J. Ellis of a base hit in the 4th (#4 on ESPN's segment).
Final Analysis:
Well, the bullpen sucks (5.52 ERA collectively), but we knew that already.

Initial news is good for Jonathon Niese, but knowing the state of the Mets medical staff, any sort of misdiagnosis is not out of the question. If you'll recall, it was just a knee bruise for Ike Davis as well.

Remember two years ago when we couldn't put Daniel Murphy anywhere in the field? Not so much anymore. It was just a matter of finding a place for Murph and making him stick to it, and after a full year of work at second base, he not only looks serviceable, he is exceeding expectations as a fielder. Now that he has a glove to match his fantastic bat, it all but guarantees him a place in the Mets' future, and maybe even an All-Star appearance this season.

The boys had a rough go of it tonight, but the beauty of baseball is that there's always another game. And the next one is the latest installment of The Matt Harvey Show. Whoa baby.


Sunday, April 21, 2013

Game #17: Mets 2, Nationals 0

With some surprisingly good pitching, and a touch of generosity from the opposition, New York completed its thaw-out from the previous week in grand style.

John Buck's moonshot gave Dillon Gee and company all the run support it needed as the Mets knocked off the Nationals 2-0 to win the teams' first series of the year.

The Good Stuff:

  • On a 3-1 fastball from Jordan Zimmerman in the bottom of the 2nd, John Buck continued his stampede to NL Player of the Month, blasting off a rare upper-deck home run to put his team on the board. The solo shot was his seventh round-tripper of the season (more than halfway to his total last season) and league-leading 22nd RBI.
  • Mike Baxter's sac fly in the 4th provided Dillon Gee some much-welcome (if not needed) insurance, as Gee turned in 5.2 scoreless innings, allowing three hits, three walks, and striking out six on 98 pitches.
  • New York stole two more bases on the afternoon, as Jordany Valdespin stole third in the 1st inning and David Wright swiped second in the 5th.
  • After Gee walked the bases loaded in the 6th, LaTroy Hawkins came on and calmly struck out Ian Desmond to preserve the Washington goose egg.
  • Brandon Lyon cruised to a 1-2-3 7th, but Scott Rice had some trouble to lead off the 8th, allowing a single to Steve Lombardozzi and a walk to Denard Span. Now here's where the aforementioned generosity comes in to play: after working the count to 3-0, Jayson Werth was given the swing away sign, which he promptly turned into a 6-4-3 double play to let Rice mostly off the hook. Not even Bryce Harper could save this rally, as Rice took care of him by way of the K.
  • Bobby Parnell pitched a brilliant 1-2-3 9th, striking out two Nats en route to his second save of the season.
The Bad Stuff:
  • The team went 0-8 with RISP and stranded seven castaways on Gilligan's Island. But they won the game anyway, so we can forget about them. They'll be fine; they've got the Professor. And Mary Ann.
Final Analysis:
That'll do. Dillon Gee finally showed signs of life on the mound and John Buck continued his Flushing Renaissance, as the Mets held their own in what turned out to be a hard-fought and very exciting series. With the New York-Washington rivalry only set to heat up as the weeks, months, years go by, the taste of what's to be we got this weekend makes it that much more scintillating.


Game #16: Nationals 7, Mets 6

Author's Note: Please excuse the late edition to the blog - as a result of attending the game in person, it took quite awhile to get back to Washington, D.C., where I am living this semester. It was my first visit to Citi Field and I met up with the staff from my other blog, Rising Apple.
(L-R: Will DeBoer, Danny Abriano, Dan Haefeli, Matt Musico, Rich Sparago, Sam Maxwell)

A fun time was had by all, despite the results and the best efforts of our new nemesis. And now, without further adieu, the recap from this afternoon's game.

For those of you keeping track, this sequel shall be titled Chipper the Met Killer Part XVII: Larry Lives.

The Nationals pounded out four home runs, and Bryce Harper's second blast of the day provided the margin in a 7-6 Mets loss.

The Bad Stuff:
  • The trouble started on Jeremy Hefner's first pitch of the 2nd inning, which Ian Desmond deposited into the left field stands (not too far from where I was sitting) for a 1-0 lead. In the 3rd, after a double by Jayson Werth, Bryce Harper continued his hot start with a two-run bomb to right center.
  • After the Mets clawed their way back and chased Gio Gonzalez in the 4th, Aaron Laffey gave away a 5-3 lead in the very next inning, allowing a three-run homer to Adam LaRoche to make it 6-5.

  • New York once again made a comeback in the 7th when John Buck's RBI double knotted things at 6-all, but on the first pitch he saw from Josh Edgin in the 8th inning, Bryce Harper put Washington back in front with a monstrous home run.
  • New York would not have another comeback in them, going down to Rafael Soriano in the 9th to even the series.
The Good Stuff:
  • Making the most of rare starts, Collin Cowgill and Justin Turner each contributed two-run singles as part of the Mets' five-run 4th.
  • Daniel Murphy went 2-5 with an RBI single.
  • David Wright laced a triple to start the rally in the 4th, giving him two games in a row with a three-bagger.
Final Analysis:
Three takeaways from this ballgame.

First: Chipper Jones lives. And his name is Bryce Harper. And he's 20. Uh-oh.

Second: Jeremy Hefner would make a great long man in the bullpen. The problem is, in order for the Mets to have a long man, they need a fifth starter. In turn, in order to have a fifth starter, they need a fourth starter. It's a vicious cycle indeed, one where the answer could be Shaun Marcum, Zack Wheeler, or someone else entirely. But until New York finds at the very least a reliable fourth starter, they will be automatically out of half the games due to simply having half a rotation.

Third: the Mets-Nats series is going to be a good one for the next decade. With a cavalcade of young stars on both sides, the fireworks of this weekend at Citi Field are only the beginning. This season may turn out to be one-sided toward the team from DC, but hopefully it won't stay that way for long.


Friday, April 19, 2013

Game #15: Mets 7, Nationals 1

The mantra of tonight's ballgame was "Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better." It was a running theme in both the inter- and intra-squad contests.

Ike Davis and Lucas Duda each went yard twice to help Matt Harvey and the Mets beat Stephen Strasburg and the Nationals, 7-1.

The Good Stuff:

  • In the first edition of a matchup that will define the next decade in the National League East, Matt Harvey outdueled Stephen Strasburg to become the first four-game winner in the majors. Harvey gave up a single run on 4 hits in 7 innings, walking 3 and striking out 7 on 105 pitches. After getting into trouble in his final frame (walk, single, single + run, error to lead the bases), the Harv buckled down to strike out Kurt Suzuki, get Roger Bernadina to pop up behind the plate, and forced a groundout by Denard Span to end the threat and earn a hearty handshake from the manager.
  • On a night when there were fireworks on the mound, there were just as many at the plate for the team from New York. Ike Davis took Strasburg's first pitch of the 6th inning and deposited it in the left center stands to end a home slump and make it 3-0 home team. Two batters later, Lucas Duda had what Ike was having and blasted a solo home run to dead center. The knockout punch to Harvey-Strasburg I resulted in a resounding chorus of "HARVEY'S BETTER!" from the Citi Field crowd.
  • After David Wright led off the 8th with a triple against Washington's Drew Storen, Davis continued his mojo and shot a rocket off the Pepsi Porch in right field. Two batters later,
  • Scott Rice and Bobby Parnell each delivered 1-2-3 innings in relief, with Rice sitting down Bryce Harper and company in the 8th and Parnell nailing it down in the 9th for the bounceback win.
The Bad Stuff:
  • Harvey and John Buck were having a bit of miscommunication in about the middle of his start, but it got worked out just fine.
Final Analysis:
With Dwight Gooden in the house, Matt Harvey was a Doctor on the mound. Harvey electrified the Flushing faithful in a way not seen since No-Han. But unlike Johan Santana's triumphant night, many, many repeat performances are expected in this case. The future is now for the Mets' budding ace, and this time the world is taking notice.

In other news, Davis and Duda showed more than just signs of life at the plate, giving fans a glimpse of what could become the next Bash Brothers duo (minus the 'roids, of course). If the D&D Boys can keep swinging like that, New York should regularly compete even with a weakened bullpen.

To make a long story short: great game. That is all.


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Game #14: Rockies 11, Mets 3

On a day that started out bad for Travis D'Arnaud, for his future team, it ended with a resounding "D'oh!"

The Rockies erupted for a six-run 7th to bury the Mets, 11-3, in a series that won't "officially" end until June 27.

The Bad Stuff:

  • Down 3-2 in the 7th, New York turned it over to the bullpen after Jonathon Niese's quality start (see Good Stuff below). The results weren't pretty, as Josh Edgin, Scott Atchison, and the recently-promoted Jeurys Familia combined to allow six Colorado runs in that one inning, with Atchison failing to retire any of his three batters.
  • In an 8th-inning tune-up before Saturday's scheduled start, Jeremy Hefner allowed solo home runs to Dexter Fowler and Troy Tulowitzki, which provided the final margin.
The Good Stuff:
  • Despite the intensely cold weather, Jonathon Niese was able to piece together a quality start, taking a relatively tough loss by allowing 3 runs on 9 hits in 6 innings, walking 1 and striking out 3 on 96 pitches.
  • The Mets' 1-4 hitters combined to go 7-11, as Jordany Valdespin and Daniel Murphy picked up a double and a single each, while David Wright's continued dominance at Coors Field included 2 RBIs, and Ike Davis drove in a run for the first time in what seems like forever.
Final Analysis:
Factor in a clean sweep at the hands of a team they should have beaten, an injury to their top catching prospect, and the realistic possibility that half the team got frostbite, and this road trip could not end soon enough. Now, weekend forecasts of 60 degrees on Saturday and 55 on Sunday certainly aren't summery, they should feel positively like Miami after the week the Mets spent in one of Dante's colder layers of hell. Good day, and good riddance to cold weather.


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Games #12 & #13: Rockies 8-9, Mets 4-8

You're cold and tired, I'm cold and tired, the Mets are cold and tired, let's just get this over with and go to bed.

Dillon Gee's 5th inning implosion lifted the Rockies to a 8-4 victory in the afternoon game of the doubleheader, while Ruben Tejada's sixth error in 13 games spelled doom for the Mets in a four-hour, 10-inning day-after-Tax-Day cold-fest of misery.

The Bad Stuff:
  • Dillon Gee got plowed like the snow at Coors Field in the first game, giving up 5 runs on 7 hits in 4.2 innings, walking 2 and striking out 2 on 88 pitches.
  • While David Wright and John Buck combined for five hits in the opener, the rest of the New York squad teamed up for just three.
  • Up 8-2 after a five-run explosion in the 5th inning of the night game, the Mets turned around and gave up four runs the very next inning. In the 8th, Bobby Parnell looked like he got out of a tough jam, but Ruben Tejada threw away what would have been the third out and let the tying runs score.
  • After getting runners in scoring position in the 9th and 10th, New York failed to plate the go-ahead. Then a walk and an error off Greg Burke with two outs allowed Jordan Pacheco to play the hero with the game-winner, breaking the Mets' hearts while at the same time warming up the rest of their bodies as they descended into the dugout.
  • The Mets extended their home run streak to 12 games after the first, but failed to leave the yard for the first time all season in the second.
The Good Stuff:
  • David Wright went 3-4 with his first two homers of the season in the first game, driving in three runs and scoring twice.
  • Marlon Byrd had three RBIs in the second game.
  • Ruben Tejada picked up three RBIs between the two contests, proving that at least something was working for our troubled young shortstop.
Final Analysis:
First off, props to the grounds crew at Coors Field for managing to get all that mountainous snow off the field in time to get both these games in tonight. While it may have been a miserably cold affair, the odds of the Mets having to make the return trip to Denver in the summer just went down with the mercury.

Secondly, I think these guys have the best summary as to how today went. And my goodness, what is going on with Ruben Tejada? Less than a tenth of the way into the season and he's already halfway to his error total for all of last season. Young he may be, but there's no excuse for such sloppy baseball. If he doesn't get back on track soon, he may lose his starting job at shortstop. I'm sure Omar Quintanilla would be more than eager to fill in.

Final thoughts of the night go to this tweet from @_mistermet. We'll start fresh in the morning. Sleep well, everybody. As well as possible once the frostbite sets in.


Saturday, April 13, 2013

Game #11: Mets 4, Twins 2

When Justin Morneau's high fly ball in the 7th clanked off the right field foul pole, it knocked the wind out of New Yorkers watching for a slice of history. For the man on the mound, however, it wasn't more than a kink in his latest pitching masterpiece.

Matt Harvey flirted with a no-hitter for almost seven innings and the Mets' big bang in the 5th gave him his third win of the season, 4-2 over the Twins.

The Good Stuff:
  • The future continues to be now for Matt Harvey, who for 6.2 innings was literally unhittable. A solo home run by the aforementioned Morneau ended his bid for history, but Harvey fought on through eight outstanding innings, allowing just one more hit, walking two and striking out six on 107 pitches.
    • Harvey's effort was also a first for Mets fans: while the breakup of the no-hitter may have been disappointing, it was the first time we were not obligated to turn grudgingly and say, "Not today, boss." It's a good feeling. Thanks, Johan Santana.
  • Still scoreless after four frames, Marlon Byrd broke the ice with a solo bomb off Scott Diamond to the second deck in left field to lead off the 5th. That blast opened the floodgates for a single, single, and double by Ike Davis (thrown out trying to stretch it into a dobule), Justin Turner, and Ruben Tejada. Collin Cowgill, Daniel Murphy, and David Wright followed with run-scoring singles each, and all of a sudden the visitors were up 4-0.
  • It was all the offense they needed. Bobby Parnell gave up a run on a couple doubles but ultimately locked down Minnesota in the bottom of the 9th for his first save of the season.
The Bad Stuff:
  • John Buck went hitless for the first time in recent memory, going 0-4.
Final Analysis:
Long story short: this Harvey guy's pretty good. We've got a lot to look forward to.


Game #10: Mets 16, Twins 5

Not even the blinding snow of Minneapolis could cool off John Buck, whose heat spread like wildfire to his teammates on Friday night.

Buck's record-setting grand slam in the 2nd inning put the Mets into double digits, as they cruised to a series-opening 16-5 win over the Twins.

The Good Stuff:
  • With flurries fluttering all around, the runs came in as such when Jordany Valdespin led off the game with a bloop single to left. Daniel Murphy doubled to put them both in scoring position and David Wright's double made it 2-0 quickly off Minnesota starter Vance Worley. After Ike Davis walked, John Buck converted his blazing hot start into a bit of luck as a hard groundball to third went through the wickets of Trevor Plouffe. After a Marlon Byrd two-run single two batters later, the visitors had a commanding 5-0 lead.
  • After the Twins responded with a couple runs in the bottom of the 1st, the Mets kept the train a-rollin' in the 2nd, when Valdespin, Murphy, and Wright produced deja-vu singles to make it 6-2. Davis drew another walk, this one of the 10-pitch variety, to bring up Buck, who left no doubts on who the hottest baseball player on the planet is with a second-deck grand slam to left. After adjusting his beard on the steps, Buck descended into the dugout with the following marks:

    • Buck's six home runs on the season have now surpassed the home run totals of all Mets catchers during the entire 2012 season.
    • He has hit home runs in four consecutive games, one shy of Richard Hidalgo's franchise record, making him the first Met to accomplish the foursome since David Wright in June 2007.
    • Buck's 19 RBIs are the most any player has ever driven in during his first 10 games with a new team. The mark is also the second most in Amazin' history, five shy of Jeff Kent's April 1994 record of 24 ribbies. And we're still closer to April Fool's Day than May Day.
  • Buck's heroics relegated these outstanding offensive lines to page two:
    • Jordany Valdespin - 2-5, 3 R, 1 RBI
    • Daniel Murphy - 4-5, 2 2B, 3 R, 4 RBI (mostly courtesy of a bases-clearing two-bagger in the top of the 7th)
    • David Wright - just a HR shy of the cycle, Captain America's line read 3-5, 2B, 3B, 2 R, 4 RBI (doubling his total for the season)
  • Even New York's 7-8-9 tandem of Marlon Byrd, Mike Baxter, and Ruben Tejada combined to do great things, collectively going 5-15 with three runs.
  • Scott Atchison, Greg Burke, and Aaron Laffey combined for four innings of scoreless, one-hit relief pitching.
The Bad Stuff:
  • Jonathon Niese's 22-game streak of six or more innings ended as he only lasted five frames, giving up five runs (four earned) on five hits, four walks, and a strikeout on 101 pitches. This can be excused for two reasons: first, the snowy weather was playing tricks on both starters; second, scoreboard. The result: W #2 of the season for Niese.
  • Ruben Tejada's defensive woes continued as a throwing error in the 5th clocked him up to five E6s on the young season. It took him until July 23 to get to that many last year.
Final Analysis:
Said Keith Hernandez on tonight's SNY telecast about John Buck, "I don't think I've seen anyone hotter out of the shoot." Amen, brother. So I'll talk about the rest. Sure, the Minnesota Twins may have some of the worst pitching in baseball (Philadelphia outcast Vance Worley was their Opening Day starter), but they've still managed to win four games so far, so our boys must have been doing something right. In any other situation we'd be singing the praises of a red-hot Daniel Murphy, but instead he takes a backseat to the white-hot Buck. When either of them cool off is yet to be seen, but if they both keep it up for another week or so, they may be battling each other for NL Player of the Month for April. Because just imagine how good they'll be when they don't have to play in (mini) blizzard-like conditions. Whoa baby.