Doug’s Dugout: Comebacks, Palisades Park and a Hot Reuben Sandwich
In Doug’s Dugout today, we discuss comebacks, a Hot Reuben Sandwich, and other insipid thoughts:
I will give the Mets kudos for not folding like a child’s tent in a wind storm, after Todd Helton (another Met killer) pinch-hit a grand slam off of Tim Byrdak in yesterday’s 8th inning. Byrdak has been perfect, but never, ever, never, throw one down and in to a lefty.
Helton crushed it, and almost the Mets in the process. All in all, a nice weekend in the city with the greatest natural backdrop in the majors. Factor in the Mets taking the series, after that brutal 11-run inning on Saturday, and Terry Collins’ troops continue to play with verve and nerve (sorry Clyde!).
It doesn’t hurt the offense that every time you look up Ruben Tejada is on base. Ten hits in a series establishes a Mets watermark, and have we already forgotten (Reyes) that this kid is only 21?
He is not part of the problem, but the solution. For now. There are more ups and downs to come, for sure. Like the old wooden roller-coaster at Palisades Park (who remembers that?).
The bottom line is this team is improved from last season, according to the record. Having Johan Santana back on the beam (what a shame he didn’t record his first win since 2010) is key. The loss of Mike Pelfrey really hurts. Now Dan Warthen has to replace the innings. Maybe they can re-acquire Livan Hernandez (not!).
The offense has started to percolate with zero contributions from the number two right-handed hitter (Jason Bay, what else is new), the starting center-fielder (his replacement is much better anyhoo), and nada from Ike Davis.
Until yesterday! He had three hits, including the gamer. He is not getting Ike-type swings on the ball yet, but as he says, “at least I’m making contact.” Just goes to show you how messed up a hitter’s head gets when he’s ice cold.
Okay, Lucas Duda is coming around, Kirk Niewenhuis’ star is beginning to shine (what a grab yesterday, and 3 knocks), and even Josh Thole contributed a long ball.
The bullpen is going to be another thrill ride this season, but that is par for the course. Relief pitching is a fickle part of the Mets in recent years.
As April recedes into May (one rainout might be a record) the Mets and the flowers are starting to bloom. David Wright and Tejada have carried this club. Daniel Murphy is a .300 hitter and better defensively than Dan Uggla, and Duda has had his moments. The Mets could be the Little Blue Engine That Could, as the season progresses.
(And picking up the rear is the horse know as J-Bay. But what a nice nag he is!)
Finally, I have completed my mock draft, if anyone is interested. I have been watching baseball for over 40 years, and I experience a “first” every year. This year it was the four walks by four different Giants’ relievers. Crazy.
On to Houston where the Mets are actually favored. They could make some hay against a bad ballclub.
About the Author: Doug Branch
Doug has been sports writing since 1983. He first wrote about the Mets at spring training that year, and his first interviewee was surly catcher Ron Hodges. He currently writes for Mets Inside Pitch, among other magazines published by Scout Publishing-which is owned by Fox Sports. He began following the team during the Wes Westrum era, and redeemed many Borden milk coupons for free Saturday baseball. The night of Tom Seaver's imperfect game against the Cubs, he was in line to buy a ticket when the windows slammed shut and abject disappointment ensued.
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