Mets 6 Marlins 1
It was a shining afternoon both for the fans due to the sun, and for the Mets front office due to the fact that Mets farmhands led the way toward victory.
Homegrown Jon Niese pitched 7 innings for the win, fellow farmhand Jennry Mejia threw a perfect 8th, #1 draft pick Ike Davis went 4-for-4, supplemental first-round pick David Wright blasted his 10th homer of the year, and international free agent signee Ruben Tejada had an RBI double. Heck, you could even throw in Angel Pagan’s fine day — he did, after all, spend his entire minor league career in the Mets’ system.
Jon Niese shut out the Marlins through six, before finally allowing a run in the 7th. In all, he spun 7 stellar innings, allowing 6 hits, 1 walk, and striking out 6.
As good as Niese was, at least part of his success was due to the over-aggressiveness of the Marlins hitters, who expanded the strike zone both horizontally and vertically. Niese was wild high all afternoon, but the Fish kept swinging through the high pitches, so it worked out great. Additionally, Niese had a good, tight, 11-5 curve working well most of the day, which kept the Marlins from sitting on the fastball. Still, though, his arm action, angle, and release point change when he throws the deuce, so you have to wonder if other teams will pick up on that. Additionally, I don’t like the way Niese tends to drop his arm angle and release with the fingers to the side — instead of on top of — the ball. I’ve mentioned this before but it bears repeating: when the fingers slide to the side, or under, the ball at release, fastballs tend to flatten and stay high, and it’s difficult if not impossible to get downward sink on pitches (it also puts considerable strain on the elbow). In this game, against the Marlins hitters, it worked to his advantage — and it will likely work against many other teams. However I’d prefer to see him stay more over the top to get more downward movement and protect that elbow, which already gets strained when throwing the curve.
Fernando Nieve pitched a perfect ninth, but to me he didn’t look good at all. You’re probably thinking, “gee, Joe, why so negative? The Mets won after all!”. But the process is as important as the result, and what I saw from Nieve was slightly concerning. First, he threw almost all curveballs — and we know he is essentially a fastball pitcher. Maybe he was working on the curve in the hopes of showing he has enough of an arsenal to be a starter, since he’s made it clear he doesn’t enjoy relief. But he was also opening up his front side very early and short-arming his pitches — I’m not sure if it’s something he has to do in order to get good spin on the curve or if his shoulder is bothering him. The third “yellow” flag for me was his body language, particularly after the last out was recorded. You never would’ve guessed the Mets just won the game — he looked indifferent, bordering on miserable. Was it because of pain? Was he unhappy to be coming out of the ‘pen? Something else?
Ike Davis’ perfect day included two doubles, three runs scored, and an RBI. It’s safe to say he has become a fan favorite in Flushing.
David Wright’s 10th homer was a monster shot off the restaurant glass high in left field. He also had a single and a walk and drove in three, scored twice. He’s now hitting .270 and based on his approach and huge swings, am going to go on a limb and say that he has turned himself into a “go for the downs” slugger in the style of Mark Reynolds. Which is too bad, because although he may help him hit 30 HRs instead of 20-25, he may no longer be a .300 hitter and therefore not a 100-run guy. We’ll see, though, I could be wrong.
Jeff Francoeur had two more hits — though one was a cheap swinging bunt that Jorge Cantu hoped would go foul — and an RBI. When Francoeur is hot, he’s red hot. His hot streak has been a boon to my fantasy team as well.
Next Mets Game
The third and final game of this weekend series takes place at 1:10 PM. Hisanori Takahashi takes the hill against Ricky Nolasco.