Perspective Through The Kaleidoscope of 2023

Nimmo Diving Catch

Sunday’s victory over the A’s was certainly the most incredible win of 2023.

Of course, small sample size will tell you that it’s the only win of 2023 that you can classify as “incredible”. Also, this incredible win probably doesn’t make the top ten of incredible from last season. But each season is an ever evolving animal that needs it’s own love and attention, from larvae to butterfly.

Jose Butto started the game, and the only issue I have with his outing is that I thought Buck should have went longer with him. Butto gave up five hits and three walks in his first five innings of work before he led off the 6th by walking Jace Peterson. His pitch count was relatively low at 83, and you saw that later in the game that Buck was trying to stay away from his high end relievers anyway. So I thought the hook was a little quick, especially considering the starters haven’t really been able to be anything more than five and fly anyway. Butto looked like he was more confident on the mound, was working quick and smooth, and I thought he could have gotten out of the 6th.

(However, and I say this without a hint of sacrasm: I’m not the manager.)

Francisco Lindor smacked a solo HR off J.P. Sears in the 6th after Sears had retired 13 straight, and I thought that was it. I thought the A’s were mentally spent at that point after two and a half games of the Mets busting their humps. But give them credit. Shea Langerliers rocked John Curtiss for a two run double in the 8th to give them a 3-2 lead. It threatened to be the final turning point. But with the heart of the order coming up for the Mets, and in particular how hot Lindor and Pete Alonso had been, and also considering that this was still the Oakland A’s, you knew the Mets had a chance.

Then came the bottom of the 9th, and Buck Showalter was still trying to get by without using any of the filet mignon cuts in the bullpen, so here came Jimmy Yacabonis (who sounds like he’s someone I would have gotten my football betting sheets from in the early 80’s) Yacabonis walked Tony Kemp and gave up a single to Brent Rooker. Then he struck out Ramon Laureano before facing Peterson.

It was the second excellent diving catch that Nimmo made in the game, with this one being of utmost importance as it brought the A’s winning odds from 100% to something less than that. For all those people who didn’t think Nimmo could be a regular center fielder (including me, I don’t really remember), that one was his f**k you to all of you. (Well, Brandon doesn’t really curse. He’d probably just sit you down and buy you ice cream before calmly explaining that he worked really hard to improve his fielding. That would be a Brandon Nimmo f-bomb.)

The series ended as it started: With Oakland walking in the ballpark. Sam Moll got two outs in the 10th before giving way to Zach Jackson, who walked three batters to bring home the go-ahead run for the Mets. Then, with nowhere else to turn, Buck Showalter appeared at the home of his friend: David Robertson. (Several years earlier, the Phillies had thrown him out, requesting that he never return.) Could Robertson get the save without putting the rest of the bullpen in jeopardy and driving Mets fans crazy?

Well, yes. but not without the part where Mets fans were driven crazy. He hit Shea Langeliers, then he fielded Ryan Noda’s bunt and got the force at third, but not without double clutching and putting visions in our heads of the ball rolling all the way through the Yellowstone sized foul territory. Then, he threw a wild pitch to put the two runners on second and third and forced the Mets to bring the infield in. But Conner Capel’s grounder went right to Alonso for the second out without the runner breaking for home, and then Esteury Ruiz grounded out to third to end the game, end the series, and say good bye to all the possum.

In a vacuum, the victory over Oakland on Sunday was thrilling and scintillating. In the moment, it absolutely was. I was screaming when Alonso’s homer sailed over the center field wall and threatened to knock down Mount Davis. When Nimmo robbed Peterson of a game winning hit, I was bouncing off the walls. And when Zach Jackson walked home the winning run in the 10th, well … I got a good laugh out of that. But then I remembered that last season taught us not to start proclaiming anything in April. The Mets swept Oakland, they’re on a four game winning streak, and they’re beating the teams they’re supposed to be beating.

But they still have some issues with lineup balance, and their starters aren’t going deep into games and the bullpen might all have their arms hanging perilously from their sockets by June. And depending on the opposite pitching staff to walk the park home isn’t going to work in Chavez Ravine. So I’m happy, but I’ll stay reserved, because this isn’t 2022 anymore, and there’s a big series coming up in Los Angeles.

But the good news is that they’ll have Brett Baty for that series, and hopefully beyond.

Today’s Hate List

Reason number 1.,738 why the ghost runner is stupid:

Sam Moll gets the first two outs in the 10th today, and in his one and 1/3 innings of work he gave up zero runs and zero hits, and got a huge double play to end the 9th. Then he gave way to Zach Jackson, who proceeded to walk three batters to force home the ghost runner. So who do you think gets the loss?

That’s right: Moll, who was perfect. Because the ghost runner is technically his.

So much for common sense.

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