Nine games are in the books in 2012, and the Mets have won six of them. Certainly a better start than most predicted. Getting off to a good start was important to this team. It gives the fans a modicum of hope, and reason to go to the ballpark, watch the games on TV and buy the products advertised (Except for that “Somebody Left the Gate Open” thing – I don’t even know what that commercial is for), and spend money for MLB.TV.
The team continued its promising start this weekend in Philadelphia, taking 2 of 3 from the Mets’ maroon menace, the Philadelphia Phillies.
So, what did we learn?
We learned David Wright wouldn’t let a thing like a broken finger get in the way of absolutely raking. Wright looks as good as he ever has at the plate – confident, selective, and quick. How’s this for a line?
AVG HR RBI OBP SLG
Meanwhile, we also learned that Ike Davis would not go 0 for the season. He went 3-12 on the series with a homer and 2 RBI. Lucas Duda also showed signs of busting out of his slump (it’s OK to say “slump” now that Willie Randolph isn’t here), going 4-11 with a homer and 2 RBI.
The lineup got to Cliff Lee early on Friday, and finished with 5 runs. They also scored 5 against Vance Worley and company on Saturday. Sunday, the were handled by Cole Hamels, who was nasty all day, striking out 10 Mets.
Which speaks to another point. We learned that Terry Collins wanted the Mets to be more aggressive at the plate – and they were, effectively jumping on first pitch fastballs from Lee and Worley. That approach fell flat against Hamels’s array of deceptive cutters and changeups. In the long run, a more patient approach at the plate is traditionally the most successful (see: Every team in the AL East). We’ll see how their aggressive approach plays out.
We learned that Mets pitching remained strong. R.A. Dickey out dueled Cliff Lee with a 7 inning, 7 K performance on Friday, Jon Niese tossed 6 2/3 scoreless innings on Saturday, and God help us, even Mike Pelfrey pitched 6 strong, if somewhat messy, innings on Sunday.
The bullpen, led by Bobby Parnell and Jon Rauch, was tremendous until the 7th inning on Sunday. Ramon Ramirez threw a wild pitch and surrendered 2 earned runs en route to coughing up the lead. Then a Ruben Tejada error led to 4 unearned runs in the 8th.
We learned that this team is still capable of playing sloppy baseball. Ramirez’s wild pitch trickled a few feet away from Mike Nickeas, allowing Philly runners to advance from first and second to second and third, wiping out the ground ball double play possibility. Not saying it’s an easy play, but a major league catcher should be able to keep a pitch like that in front of him.
Josh Thole pulled the boner of the decade on Friday. R.A. Dickey sacrificed him to second. Phils’ SS Jimmy Rollins put up his hand, presumably to tell Josh to stand up because the play was over (in other words, don’t slide). Thole thought he meant “foul ball, go back to first.” So, Thole went back to first and was promptly tagged out.
- Why do you use the opposing team’s shortstop as your third base coach?
On a positive note, this incident prompted the line of the year so far. When he returned to the dugout, Thole apologized to Collins, saying, “I’ll never do that again.” Collins replied, “Really?”
On the plus side, Kirk Nieuwenhuis made a nice running catch in center field on Saturday.
So ends the third series of the year. Things are still looking up, but in a very tenuous way.
What did you learn?