The Mets broke out the long ball in bunches at Oriole Park tonight while Taijuan Walker gave up one run in seven innings as the Mets defeated the Orioles 14-1. I mean, that’s a really simple way of describing a ballgame, which is great because I don’t think the Mets have had many ballgames where you can say that things were low stress and normal. Usually, we witness walk-off hit by pitches, dopey bullpen usage, and the occasional rat vs raccoon debate. On Wednesday, however, the Mets simply won 14-1. It’s always nice when whoever is in the broadcast booth is breaking out the baseball cards when the Mets are actually ahead.
In a season where the Mets have had their pitching depth tested so much that they are resorting to signing players from the Auckland Tuatara of the Australian Baseball League, Taijuan Walker has been a godsend. When the Mets signed him, I incorrectly said that the Mets didn’t need him to be anything other than what he was, which was a career .500 pitcher. It’s incorrect because with all the injuries that have befallen the Mets in their rotation and in their lineup, the Mets needed exactly what Walker has actually brought, which is a 5-2 record, a world beating 2.07 ERA and a ton of innings eaten. It’s really been nothing short of remarkable.
And I keep going back to this, but with players like Walker, and Billy McKinney who hit two home runs tonight, and Kevin Pillar who also hit two home runs tonight, and Jonathan Villar who had two hits out of the leadoff spot, Mason Williams who had a home run tonight … would any of these players be here under the previous regime? Obviously we wouldn’t have Francisco Lindor (who I know has been slow out of the game but since May 6th he’s slashed .264/.331/.453 in 119 plate appearances). But this team has withstood the multitude of injuries that have come their way because they identifed players who could help instead of players who could help sell tickets from 20 years ago.
But it all wound up in a very not weird blowout victory in Baltimore. Instead, the weirdness came before the game when Pete Alonso was asked about Major League Baseball’s policy on doctoring baseballs:
Wait, what? Is that something players talk about?
"Oh, no, that’s a fact. Yes, guys have talked about it," Pete Alonso said, citing the 2019 pitchers (juiced ball) and this year's hitters (deadened ball). "It’s not a coincidence. It definitely is something that they did."
— Tim Healey (@timbhealey) June 9, 2021
Well now we know what Alonso does in his spare time, and it involves a cord board, some Poloroids, and red string. I don’t know if he’s right or not, but anything that gives Major League Baseball itchy crotches is okay by me. The only thing I’d tell Pete is that he had better be careful. Maybe MLB will be pissed. Maybe they’ll be happy that we’ve already moved from one controversy to another. But one thing we do know is that if it’s somebody in a Mets uniform saying this, that person has more of a chance at being punished for a trumped up charge by the Commissioner’s office than, say, Chase Utley.
Today’s Hate List
Because I haven’t mentioned Matt Harvey’s role in all of this tonight, the hate list is dedicated to the fact that even though I’m pleased at the spigots being opened enough to let the runs and the fun flow, I hate that Harvey’s season has nosedived into the core of the earth:
Matt Harvey: "It's been a couple years now of being really horseshit." Said if he knew how to fix it, he'd have done it already. #Orioles
— Jon Meoli (@JonMeoli) June 10, 2021
— Donovan Mitchell (@spidadmitchell) June 10, 2021