At the beginning of the Mets’ current home stand, I wrote to lefty specialist relief pitcher Scott Rice to see if he would sign a signature card for my Mets autograph collection. I got it back yesterday, leaving with six players from the current team that I’m missing.
Last week was one that I’m sure most of the Mets would like to forget. They were snowed out twice in Colorado, and lost all three games they did play. The bullpen mostly lived down to its worst-in-the-majors stats. Greg Burke and Aaron Laffey didn’t make it through the week on the major league roster, and it would be hard to find anyone who wasn’t related to them that’s unhappy about that.
Sure, Matt Harvey‘s better, but he can’t pitch every day. Through their first 16 games, the Mets were 7-1 when he or Jonathon Niese started and 1-7 when anyone else did.
But maybe things are starting to turn around. On Sunday, Dillon Gee earned his first win of the season and pitched into the sixth. He turned in a strong five innings, allowing just three hits while striking out six and walking none. (He seemed to tire in the sixth when he walked three, but Terry Collins had a quick enough hook that it didn’t prove disastrous.)
The bullpen caused people to reach for their antacid of choice – particularly lefty specialist Scott Rice who walked lefty batter Denard Span after allowing a leadoff single – but thanks to Jayson Werth‘s over-eagerness at the plate, the Mets prevailed.
Maybe today is the start of something big. More likely, it was just a nice win for us to enjoy before heading back to the grind of another work week.
The Mets continue their homestand against the Los Angeles Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies; neither team is playing particularly well. Let’s hope the Mets can take advantage.
Baseball is back, and the Mets got things off to a fun start with an 11-2 victory on Opening Day and an 8-4 win on Wednesday night. Unfortunately, they couldn’t complete the sweep on Thursday afternoon, but I’ll take a 2-1 start.
Sure, the San Diego Padres aren’t very good – they finished 10 games under .500 last year and are making do without their best player, Chase Headley, who’s on the DL with a fractured finger.
But why let that spoil the fun of watching the Mets play well? Jonathon Niese turned in an ace-like performance on Opening Day and managed two hits to help his cause.
Collin Cowgill earned fans with his Opening Day grand slam and his hustle – he was already closing in on third before the umpires had signaled it was a home run.
Scott Rice finally arrived in the major leagues after 14 years in the minor leagues and stints in independent league baseball with the Long Island Ducks, Newark Bears and York Revolution.
John Buck already has a pair of home runs and is earning praise from Mets pitchers. It’s certainly making it easier to accept Travis d’Arnaud starting the year in the minor leagues, and who knows? Maybe Buck will continue playing well enough to become a legitimate trade chip in July. (And in case you haven’t seen it yet, he’s got a really sweet catcher’s mask.)
Matt Harveydrew admiration from Tampa Bay Rays ace David Price for his performance Wednesday night – seven innings, one hit and 10 strikeouts. How can you ask for much more?
Even Dillon Gee was a hard-luck loser on Thursday – he held the Padres to just one run and pitched into the seventh inning.
This weekend’s games against the Miani Marlins may tells us a little bit more about the 2013 New York Mets. While the quality of competition isn’t going to improve much, the Mets will have to rely on the back half of the starting rotation. Jeremy Hefner and Aaron Laffey aren’t exactly Tom Seaver and Jerry Koosman (or even Harvey and Niese), but we might as well embrace them.
Sure, I’d be more excited about Zack Wheeler getting the ball on Sunday than watching Laffey, but let’s root for him instead of getting frustrated. Hopefully the Mets offense will look more like it did on Monday and Wednesday than it did Thursday afternoon.