Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Games #66 & #67: Mets 4-6, Braves 3-1

Mets fans have been waiting 23 months for this day, and its two main actors did not disappoint.

Matt Harvey took a third no-hit bid into the 7th inning and the Mets held on to give him a 4-3 win over the Braves in the first game of the doubleheader. In the second game, late offense propped up Zack Wheeler's stellar big league debut in a 6-1 Mets victory.

The Good Stuff:
  • Matt Harvey technically finished up statistically worse than his last start in which he lost his first game of the year, allowing three runs on three hits and three walks in seven-plus innings. But no one would argue that this start was an electric one: he struck out a career-high 13 batters and took his third no-hit bid of the season into the 7th inning, only to see it lost on a Jayson Heyward infield single that Lucas Duda failed to cover first base for.
    • The major difference for Harvey in this one was that he actually got run support: John Buck's solo home run in the 4th highlighted a day in which the Mets scored four runs, or double what they had put behind Harvey in his past two starts combined.
    • After LaTroy Hawkins and Scott Rice almost spoiled another decision for Harvey, Bobby Parnell came on for a clutch four-out save, his 10th of the season. The victory was Harvey's sixth and first in a month.
  • Following a stellar opening act, the baseball world watched the pilot of The Zack Wheeler Show. And call it a hunch, but I think it's gonna get picked up. Wheeler dazzled the hometown faithful (Smyrna, GA is 16 miles outside Atlanta) with six scoreless innings and seven strikeouts in his big-league debut. He was far from perfect, issuing five walks to go along with his four hits, but he showed veteran poise by getting out of jams in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 6th frames.
    • Like Mets veterans already know, Wheeler had to be as perfect as possible, as he was still locked in a scoreless tie after the 6th. But Josh Satin led off the 7th with a single, and Anthony Recker blasted a two-run homer to put some runs behind his battery mate. Brandon Lyon ran into some trouble in the bottom of the 7th but eventually got out of it with a one-run New York lead in tact.
    • With two other one-run games in the rear view mirror from the same calendar day, the midsection of the Mets order decided it was time to relieve their fans of any potential heart palpitations. Marlon Byrd started things with a two-out double and then scored on a pickoff attempt-turned-double error. Then after a walk by Satin and single by Recker, Juan Lagares laced a single to left to score one. Omar Quintanilla followed with a hard grounder into right to plate two more runs, making it a much-more comfortable 6-1 lead for Wheeler and company.
    • And just like that, with a Josh Edgin strikeout of Freddie Freeman, Queens's newest hope had his first major league W.
The Bad Stuff:
Final Analysis:
In the words of my dad, who messaged me after the final out: "We've seen the future of the New York Mets, and its names are Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler." I know it's bad luck to look so far ahead, but can you blame me? Mets fans have been wallowing through five years of mediocre baseball, and now we finally have some rays of hope for the long-term future. Should all go according to The Plan, we'll look back on this day, June 18, 2013, as the day it all started.


P.S. The Mets may finally have a leadoff man, as they have acquired outfielder Eric Young, Jr. from the Rockies in exchange for Collin McHugh. Good news all around today!


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