Way to go Jon! In a season where very little has gone right for him, Jon Niese shut the slumping San Francisco Giants out for 8 innings and the Mets somnambulant offense suddenly woke up in the ninth inning for three runs, as the Mets topped the defending champs, 3-0 on Monday Night.
Johnny Monell broke the scoreless tie in the ninth with a two run double. The Mets added a run later that inning and Jeurys Familia handled the bottom of the ninth for his 23rd save. The Mets moved to 3-1 on what was supposed to be the road trip from hell and can return to Panic City only slightly perturbed, assured of at least a .500 West Coast swing. The Washington Nationals also lost, so the Mets now trail them by three and a half.
Niese was the big story, allowing three hits, while walking two and striking out four. Combined with his most recent previous start against Chicago, Jon has allowed one earned run in his last two starts (15 innings pitched), giving up seven hits, fanning nine. The walks (six over this span) are somewhat concerning, but overall, with the exception of his June 17 stinkbomb in Toronto, Niese has pitched consistently well since Memorial Day. You gotta figure that there is a deal out there to be made for him. Hopefully Mets GM Sandy Alderson can put the dog leash down long enough to get at least an adequate major league hitter for Niese, who is under contract for next year, with options the following two.
“Adequate” would be a vast improvement for the Mets right now. Long-time fans like me can recall the early to mid-1970s, when the Mets trotted out weak bats like Wayne Garrett, Don Hahn, Ken Boswell and (the real) Dave Schneck on a nightly basis, wasting great pitching performances from the likes of Tom Seaver, Jon Matlack and Jerry Koosman. What you need to know about that era is how it ended: the Mets made the playoffs once over a seven year span, which ended in acrimony and heartbreak, all three arms dealt away and the team falling below .500 for the next seven years.
Due to the six-man rotation, this was likely Niese’s last start until after the All Star Game. He probably gets one of the games in St. Louis, but from then on, Alderson’s number should be appearing on the caller ID screens of GMs across the nation as he tries to get a deal done.
Congrats to Jacob deGrom on his All Star selection. Here’s hoping Familia gets picked as well. Welcome back Jennry Mejia!