Rockies 4 0Mets 2
You can’t win ’em all.
Poised for a sweep, instead the Mets finally fell to the Rockies, fulfilling their manager’s prophecy that there is no such thing as momentum in baseball.
Although he allowed 4 runs on 8 hits and 4 walks in 6 1/3 innings, Jonathan Niese had nothing to be ashamed about. He battled all night and came up with big pitches in tight situations, before running out of gas and giving up a two-run homer to Clint Barmes.
Rockies starter Jorge De La Rosa limited the Mets to two runs on three hits and three walks through 6 1/3 to claim his ninth victory.
Though he was laboring all evening — and on an oppressively hot and humid evening at that — I can sort of understand why Jerry Manuel pushed Niese out there for the seventh. With the score tied, Niese was looking at a no-decision had he left the game, and the opposing pitcher was leading off the inning. Manuel was likely hoping Niese could gut his way through three more outs and give the offense another chance to give him a shot at a win. But once De La Rosa led off with a double (even if it was misjudged by Angel Pagan), all bets were off, and Niese should have been removed on the spot — regardless of his pitch count (he was a still below 100 at that point).
In the postgame, Bob Ojeda kept harping on the fact that Niese was “pitching without his best stuff”. I’m not sure I agree, mainly because I don’t know what Niese’s “best stuff” looks like just yet. Obviously it wasn’t his “best stuff” as in “the best he’s ever pitched in his life”, but he did have a nasty, sharp-breaking 12-6 curve, and that’s his calling card. Niese struggled with the command of his fastball, and for all we know this issue might be par for the course at this point in his young MLB career. In other words, let’s see this kid pitch at this level for 15-20 games before we form expectations and decide what his “best” is. Otherwise, we may talk ourselves into thinking he’s better than he is, and measure him against unrealistic expectations — similar to what many did when Dan Murphy’s promotion coincided with a once-in-a-lifetime hot streak.
The Mets literally stole the first run of the game. David Wright attempted to steal third and was thrown out by a good five feet — but the umpire inexplicably called him safe. Moments later Jeff Francoeur lifted a long fly ball to the right field wall to score him easily. I think everyone will agree that the breaks have been going the Mets way recently — and it’s a long time coming.
Angel Pagan was caught trying to steal home in the first inning, on the front end of a first-and-third double steal. Very questionable move, but I think the Mets need to continue being aggressive — both to score runs and to keep the games interesting for us fans.
David Wright was 7-for-13 in the series. In contrast, Clint Barmes had only two hits — but both were dingers.
Next Mets Game
The Mets begin another four-game series against an NL West club when the Arizona Diamondbacks come to Flushing on Friday night. First game begins at 7:10 PM, with Livan Hernandez facing Doug Davis.