Playing Nicely With Fire

MLB: New York Mets at Atlanta Braves

It’s nice when you can throw out all the mental notes that you made to go back to when you’re describing a potential Mets loss. Whether it be the Ryan Flaherty RBI “double” that Jay Bruce lost in the lights in the fourth, Wilmer Flores being thrown out at the plate by a half inch in the top of the sixth due to a great play by Kurt Suzuki while Asdrubal Cabrera missed a Yoenis Cespedes relay in the bottom of the frame which led to Nick Markakis scoring the tying run. All things to point to as being the reasons why the Mets couldn’t pull a game out in Atlanta. Fundies.

The Mets bullpen got us some rewrite. They gave up one hit the rest of the game, and that game lasted six more innings. Good thing, because the Atlanta bullpen was almost as good until the 12th inning. One slip-up by a pen that was shorthanded without Jerry Blevins and Paul Sewald would have meant that all those mistakes above would have been scrutinized to death.

Playing Nicely With Fire
Apr 20, 2018; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Braves catcher Kurt Suzuki (24) tags out New York Mets first baseman Wilmer Flores (4) at home plate during the sixth inning at SunTrust Park. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

But after Noah Syndergaard left after six innings and 103 pitches, Seth Lugo pitched two hitless innings (with a couple of walks that were erased), A.J. Ramos had a dominant ninth inning, and Robert Gsellman had three strikeouts in two innings and worked out of a two out rally in the 11th. (Jeurys Familia also pitched a hitless 12th to secure an extra inning victory.) You want to point to the singular and most obvious reason the Mets are where they are as opposed to last year? So far, the ERA of the relievers are down a run and a half from last season. (from 4.82 to 3.31 … and that 3.31 is before Friday’s game started.) Outside of Monday’s debacle against the Nationals, they have been stellar, and Mickey Callaway, Dave Eiland, and everybody in that ‘pen deserve all the credit in the world. That’s why the Mets are 14-5.

That the Mets are also 14-5 (7-1 on the road) because Yoenis Cespedes has battled through a deep slump to get big hits when they matter, Cespedes, after Gsellman’s jersey got grazed with a pitch to lead off the inning, poked a grounder through the right side to drive him in and give the Mets the lead. Give Cespedes credit for shortening his swing when the Mets need a base hit (which he’s always done).

But also consider that the Mets are 14-5 despite the fact that Cespedes is hitting .208, Michael Conforto is hitting .209, and Jay Bruce is on the interstate chasing down various baseballs that he let go under him or over him. If those three get it going while the bullpen is still in top form, it’s going to be tough to catch the Mets this summer.

Also, credit Tomas Nido for throwing out the two runners that Seth Lugo walked, which was also key. I watch the Mets so I didn’t know that was still allowed. Thought getting rid of catching runners stealing might have been a pace of play initiative or something, since I hadn’t seen it in a while. But thank you, Tomas. Maybe the Mets won’t make a <sarcasm>totally realistic trade</sarcasm> for J.T. Realmuto.

Today’s Hate List

  1. Chase Utley
  2. Cody Bellinger
  3. Trea Turner
  4. Bryce Harper
  5. Clay Bellinger
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