I am just sitting here trying to wrap my head around how unfriendly this road trip was. Things were supposed to be different for our Metsies away from Citi Field. They were last year anyway. As we all know they just wrapped up a three-city 9-game road trip on Wednesday against the Miami Marlins, finishing a disappointing 2-6 (one rainout). The hardest part was trying to figure out which was more difficult to deal with. Getting kicked around pretty good in Colorado, or the nail-biting affairs in Miami. Nonetheless here are the 3 Up and 3 Down stemming from being swept against the Marlins.
Marlins Couldn’t Touch Niese: Trying to keep going what Dillon Gee started in the finale against Colorado, Jon Niese was given the chance and delivered in the series opener against the Marlins. Niese went seven masterful innings giving up just five hits walking one and striking out six. It was his fourth start in a row where he went at least six innings allowing no more than one run. 108 pitches would force the hand of Terry Collins who had no choice but to go to the bullpen in hopes preserving the 3-0 lead. By now you know that that didn’t happen and all Niese could do was watch his body of work disintegrate in front of his very eyes. These kinds of starts can’t always be expected, but he is certainly providing us something to look forward to every fifth day.
A Zack Attack: Zack Wheeler faced the Marlins 12 days ago and was spectacular. The start after that is one we would all like to forget against the Colorado Rockies. Wednesday’s start however, in the series finale against the Marlins was a dandy. See a trend? Other than his five walks, Wheeler was fantastic, going toe-to-toe with Miami’s Tom Koehler in an old-fashioned pitcher’s duel. Wheeler allowed just two hits and had 7 K’s en route to the no-decision. The Mets offense was nowhere to be found suffering their second consecutive shutout. Wheeler just seems to be just a pinch of consistency with a little splash of offense away from being what we all hoped he would be. We will scratch Colorado from our memory (except Dillon Gee’s performance) and move on as if it never happened and look forward to his next outing which could possibly be Tuesday against the New York Yankees.
Oh Danny Boy: It really isn’t easy to extract positives out of a three-game series sweep. As one of the few Mets hitters with an average over .300, Daniel Murphy is someone worth mentioning. Murph inserted a ball into the upper deck on Monday that got things started for the Mets. Unfortunately it didn’t hold up but It was a pleasant site coming off his bat. He ended the series with three hits.
Dice-K: I have learned in my short time of doing this that coming up with interesting/funny/not corny “headlines” is pretty tough. Being handed the ball as a relief pitcher with your team up 3-0 has to be a good feeling. Handing the ball back over without recording an out with the game tied must be a lousy feeling. Dice-K’s job on Monday was to bridge the gap between starter and closer. The hope was to hand the ball over to Kyle Farnsworth in the ninth inning with the 3-0 lead, if not more, in tact. As we all know things didn’t go according to plan.
Shortstop Debacle: There was so much talk surrounding this position during the offseason and management believed that they were set with what they had. That plan hasn’t really worked out and something needs to be done. The talks of signing a free agent to take that spot over or a possible trade really had me thinking. The Ruben Tejada/Omar Quintanilla experiment needs to be over. Ruben’s defense has been good i’ll give you that one. His bat on the other hand has not. Tejada is now hitting .183 after going 0-for-4 in the series. Quintanilla chimed in with an 0-for-3 of his own and had a very costly error to boot. There has been a decent sample size of games played so a move has to be made if this team has any chance of climbing back into it.
If you get them on, you gotta get them home: It isn’t news that the Mets offense wasn’t good this series I have written that enough. One statistic that has just been staring me in the face is runners in scoring position. If you are lucky enough to get them there, you need to get them home. 1-for-10 isn’t going to get it done so there is work to do.
Nothing I can write here can’t be figured out just by looking at the results. When there is offense there is no pitching. When there is pitching there is no offense. Seems to be the way things have gone for a while and it is bound to change. Plenty of games to go.