Archive: May 18th, 2015

Mets Game 38: Win Over Brewers

Mets 5 Brewers 1

Hmm… and they said that pigs couldn’t fly.

As the Mets scored 10 runs in an inning last night, hovering out of my window was a cute little pig with the words “Mets’ Offense” written on its side. And while he struggled a little more tonight, he’s still there, spinning around his curly tail to stay airborne.

Like most Mets fans – and the stadium looked full – I watched this game to see Noah Syndergaard and to hear many references to Thor. If only his early line drive had got past Carlos Gomez (“Thor hammered that”) or his curveball had been a little sharper (“Thor dropped the hammer on him”).

The most notable incident in the Mets’ 5-1 win was Carlos Gomez getting plunked on his ear flap by a fastball from Syndergaard. It was ugly to watch. Syndergaard remained rooted to the mound. He naturally tends to stare forward, blinking only occasionally, but you could see him shaking. He’d previously made Gomez look foolish on a curve and Gomez’s helmet – in the style of Bartolo Colon – had flown off his head.

Hey, I know chinstraps might not look cool, but they’d be much safer. But Gomez thankfully seems to be ok. He’s a great player, a honed version of the rough edged and skinny kid who played for the Mets.

Syndergaard was interesting to watch. His fastball is laser straight, but he used it particularly well to get strikes in the upper-in quadrant to lefthanders. He looked decent against righthanders too, and scratched out of a jam in the sixth. He touched 99mph to Braun in that inning, and could rear back and throw 96-98mph at will. There’s no lateral movement to his fastballs but – like Robles showed in eighth – the pace of the pitches unsettles the batters. Forget the chinstrap, I’d want a suit of armor.

It was interesting to see him lined up against Wily Peralta. Peralta won 17 games last year and his fastball – again touching high 90s at times – dances around. It ducks predominantly down and away from right handed hitters. Peralta’s stuff is amazing. But he sulked around the mound as his curves weren’t called for strikes, and he became increasingly surly and wild.

I often wonder what the point is of complaining with the home plate umpire. Daniel Murphy is the poster child for pointless arguments. The umpire was equally tight with Syndergaard’s curves, and he should have struck out Scooter Gennett on a 1 and 2 pitch in the fifth. But what can you do? I refuse to think an umpire is biased, and their strike calls are constantly monitored. We also have “Mr. Boxy” on Fox TV, an annoying white box hovering over the strike zone who is intently watching them.

The Mets five runs were largely because they kept hitting Peralta’s breaking stuff. Campbell chased a double over the third base bag and Duda clonked another double to the right field wall to score the Mets’ second run. Curtis Granderson also hit a long, long home run to lead off the game.

Granderson can now seemingly only hit pitches low and inside. But the experiment with him hitting leadoff is sort of working. His OBP is .359, which is serviceable. He struggles on defense and his arm strength has declined even further… although not as much as Khris Davis’ lousy throw on Cuddyer’s two-run single.

I’ll confess here I just like Curtis Granderson. Watching baseball in the UK wasn’t easy until the mid 1990’s. I had to watch late-night highlight shows or find ways to listen to Mets’ broadcasts. In the mid-90s a new TV channel started, Channel 5, who showed live baseball two times a week.

Fast-forward to the mid-2000’s and Granderson would appear on the Channel 5 show. I can’t imagine he was paid anything (the show aired live from 1am), yet a guy who was tearing it up for the Detroit Tigers took the time to be insightful and funny to try and broaden the appeal of the sport in my scummy little country.

I have my fingers crossed each time Granderson bats and – as Joe has said – it’s not his, or Wilmer Flores‘, or Michael Cuddyer’s fault that he’s been put into a defensive situation where his skills are exposed. Eric Campbell epitomizes the Mets team: bit-part defenders thrust into full-time roles. They’re good enough to beat the poorest teams in the NL, but are they good enough against the best?

Due to that, I have a crash mat for my flying pig against the Cardinals tomorrow. But we’ll see. He’s a nice little fella to have around and he can fly as long as he wants. The Cards are struggling somewhat but they’re a tight, well organised team. If the Mets split the four game series, that will be something positive. Will it be enough to stay ahead of the fast rising Nationals? Probably not.

Ah, well…

Mr. Alderson… exhaling a deep breath sounds an awful lot like a sigh. But I’ve still got my money – literally – on the Mets being the fifth best team in the NL. And that’s something. Something.