Mets Game 74: Win Over Athletics

Mets 3 Athletics 2

It’s games like this that make me wonder why BeelzeBud Selig found it so necessary to artificially juice up the offense to make baseball “more appealing”. Because if you weren’t at the edge of your seat in the 8th and 9th inning of this game — and through most of the extra innings, for that matter — then you’ll never, ever appreciate the game and you probably don’t enjoy watching great mystery movies, either. The masterful pitching performances by R.A. Dickey and Gio Gonzalez built up great tension — an eight-inning crescendo that came to an exalting release when Jose Reyes ripped a triple. Even though it wasn’t a score, we all knew that Jose would score — somehow, some way. And when Justin Turner drove him in it might have been considered anticlimactic.

Of course, the emotional rollercoaster took a heart-wrenching, stomach-turning dive when Francisco Rodriguez allowed the A’s to tie it up in the ninth. As a Mets fan, you weren’t happy, but as a viewer watching the plot twist, it was purely magnificent entertainment value.

In the extra innings that followed, there were about dozen moments that had us on the edge of our seats — be they strikeouts that almost weren’t, or drives off of bats that were erased by improbable dives. Just when you thought the story might end, it instead took a turn and continued to evolve.

And when the game finally ended, you were still at the edge of your seat, and as a Mets fan elated — while as a mere spectator of the storyline, you may have been mildly disappointed that the movie was over, because the story succeeded in ending at a point where you were hoping it would continue for just a few more minutes (or not end at all).

Who needs homeruns when the game can naturally tell a brilliant story like that?

Mets Game Notes

Both R.A. Dickey and Gio Gonzalez were spectacular — but Dickey was one inning better.

And in the end, Justin Turner was the hero — twice — thanks to both his ability to hit and his ability to get hit.

That RBI single by Turner that drove in Reyes with the go-ahead run was impressive, because that was a tough pitch to hit. It was 2-2 sinker that was right around the knees and may have been a few inches off the inside part of the plate — too close to take, and a pitch that usually is very tough for a righthanded batter to do anything with. The more I watch Turner, the more I enjoy and appreciate his technically sound hitting mechanics, cool composure, and intense focus. He may not be exorbitantly gifted, but he rarely makes mistakes when in the batter’s box.

This was the Mets first walk-off victory? That’s what Gary Cohen said.

And I fully believe Turner purposely allowed that pitch to hit him to win and end the game. He didn’t necessarily lean into it, but it was darn close. And it is seeing him do things like that, that make me appreciate him even more.

Did Joey Devine always throw with that low, almost submarine, arm angle? I seem to remember him being more 3/4 and overhand and throwing high-90s heat when he came up with the Braves. Or am I thinking of someone else?

Next Mets Game

The final game of the series will begin at 1:10 PM on Thursday afternoon. Chris Capuano goes to the mound against Graham Godfrey. FYI I won’t have a recap up until the evening, as I’ll be tending to activities that pay my bills (i.e., job stuff).

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. Joe June 23, 2011 at 6:33 am
    I don’t recall Matsui making that many impressive plays when he was playing across the pond. And, look, is that Hairston and Harris getting on base, one with the first run?

    I liked that 20 inning game in a way as much as the next fan, but that one was long enough, thank you. And, that pitch K-Rod threw looked pretty bad. Don’t know if it was, but it looked bad.