The New York Mets swept an abbreviated two-game series from the Philadelphia Phillies this week, but I think the bigger news is that the teams were able to play two out of three after Monday’s snow out.
My friend Vinny invited me to join him for Tuesday’s game, but I have to admit I had my doubts that it would be played. It rained most of the afternoon, and a light mist continued to fall through the night.
The Mets’ group sales department invited Vinny out for a group leader event and I was his guest, so we got to briefly step out onto the warning track while a Mets’ representative took our picture on the field. Pretty cool, right?
After everyone had a chance for photos, we were escorted upstairs to one of the Porsche suites. Now I’ve seen them before (back when they were Empire suites), but that was on a ballpark tour. This was my first time watching a game there. And it was the perfect day for it – the game time temperature was just 40 degrees and the actual attendance was maybe half of the announced crowd.
Matt Harvey pitched well… it’s probably the best game I’ve seen from him in a couple of years. The problem is that Ben Lively also pitched well for the Phillies, and Gabe Kapler didn’t seem like he was in too big of a rush to start playing reliever roulette.
I was afraid it might turn into another iteration of that classic Mets game that I seem to go to often — the one where neither team wants to score a run.
In the middle of the sixth inning, I got up to go to the bathroom. Before I got back to the suite, Lively plunked Yoenis Cespedes with a pitch and Jay Bruce moved him into scoring position with a groundout. I made it just in time to watch Todd Frazier drop a double into left center to drive in the first run of the game. Travis d’Arnaud got Frazier home with an insurance run, and that’s all the Mets needed.
But there was a little more drama. We expected Kapler to unleash Unlimited Bullpen Works on us, but he actually stuck with his starter a bit too long and it cost him. Meanwhile Mickey Callaway acted like he never heard the adage, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
I can see and agree with the reasoning for lifting Harvey after five innings. There’s something to be said for getting him out on a high note and not letting him face the Phillies’ batting order a third time. It was reasonable to turn to A.J. Ramos for the sixth, and to go to Jerry Blevins to face Odubel Herrera when Ramos struggled.
Turning to Seth Lugo for the seventh inning was inspired — since he wasn’t going to start this week due to the extra unplanned off day, he might as well get some game action in relief. And Lugo was perfect in the seventh and again in the eighth.
Then Callaway fell into the trap of going to his closer just because there was a save situation, and Jeurys Familia nearly blew it. Since the Mets won, it’s just a footnote that will be forgotten by next week.
Today’s game was notable as the first MLB regular season game broadcast exclusively online. Facebook hopes that one day soon, we’ll turn to them to watch live events instead of television.
I’m not interested. Until I figured out how to turn off the viewer comments and reactions, the feed was too busy to follow. And even then, too much of my phone’s screen real estate was devoted to something other than the game picture. I ended up listening to the Mets’ radio broadcast instead.
After an hour and a half rain delay, Noah Syndergaard looked more like Zack Wheeler than the God of Thunder, but that’s ok because did anybody mention that the Phillies’ bullpen is terrible?
And it looks like weather could again be an issue for the Mets this weekend, as they go to Washington D.C. to play the Nationals. Maybe MLB and the players would like to re-think their positions on the 162-game schedule and planned doubleheaders so we don’t have to try to start the damn season in March again?