A close, tight game, the type which good teams win more often than not. Miguel Batista was very good for seven innings, striking out five, walking one, and allowing four hits and no runs. For the contingent of whining fans who claim that the Mets are “conceding” games by starting Batista, we can be thankful that this nonsense has been silenced—again.
The Mets’ first run scored in the first, as after Kirk walked and stole second, Murph smacked a single in the shift-vacated shortstop position, plating Kirk for a 1-0 lead. The Brewers’ one mini-threat (before the ninth that is) came in the second, when 1B Taylor Green lined a shot which Duda made a valiant try for, but could not get to; it bounced under his glove and a play which almost always is scored a triple was called as a single and a two-base error. The Brewers made a weak attempt at a squeeze play, and shortstop Cesar Izturis’ bunt was a soft and weak one, allowing Nickeas to field the ball and make the play.
Both starters pitched well through the next several innings, until Murphy led off the sixth with a nice double to left center, and then took third on Ike’s flyout to center. The Mets then showed the Brewers how a squeeze is executed, with Ronny Cedeno bunting perfectly to score Murphy.
Byrdak and Parnell pitched a 1-2-3 eighth, and the Mets tacked on another run in the bottom of the inning. Wright smacked a double off of KRod, and then scored on Lucas Duda’s grounder. Wright was in a rundown, but Aramis Ramirez dropped the ball when trying to take it out of his glove to throw it, and Mr. Clutch scored.
Frankie Firestorm came in to get right back on that slippery bicycle for the ninth. Braun singled, stole second, and after Ramirez grounded out, Hart blasted a single to left to make it 3-1. Rauch was quickly getting ready as the fans vocally became restless, and Taylor Green worked out a walk to put the tying run at first with one out. Frankie then caught 2B Brooks Conrad looking for the second out. Lefty-hitting futility player George Kottaris then came in as the go-ahead run with two outs in the ninth, and flew out to Duda in right to end this fine win for the Mets.
Play of the Game:
Not many contenders tonight, but Ronny Cedeno’s picture perfect suicide squeeze in the bottom of the sixth has to be the choice. With Murph on third after a double to left center, Cedeno backed off a pitch and then laid down an ideal bunt to the right side which easily scored Murph for the second run. Collins once again must be applauded for gutsy managing.
Players of the Game:
Miguel Batista and Daniel Murphy. Batista performed like the clichéd “cagey veteran” and really gave the Mets a wonderful and truly quality start. Murphy keeps on hitting, and put himself in position to score the team’s second run—after driving in the first—with a bold baserunning move by taking third on Ike Davis’ flyout to center in the sixth before scoring on Cedeno’s squeeze bunt.
What’s to Like:
Batista giving us an excellent start as the team continues to wait for Chris Young to hopefully make his triumphant return…Wright’s amazing fielding—while it is not quite one fourth of a season, his fielding has been as good or better than we have ever seen it…And Wright’s offense—a double and a walk and he keeps chugging along…Collins calling for a squeeze play and continuing to manage this group of players in a nothing less than magnificent fashion…The team’s hustle, smarts, and karma—in the bottom of the eighth, Wright doubled and took third on Duda’s groundout, and then when Murph hit a sharp grounder to second, Wright was caught in a rundown, and stayed alive long enough for Aramis Ramirez to drop the ball when trying to take it out of his glove to throw it, and the run made it 3-0 and had to tremendously help the team’s—and Frankie Firestorm’s—confidence.
What’s Not to Like:
Ike’s continuing lack of offense–the team continues to win, which helps mask it, but the feeling here is that if when Bay returns Ike is still looking overmatched constantly, the time might arrive for Ike to spend some time in Buffalo while Duda or Murph play first for a while…other than that, not much to dislike in tonight’s game, especially as it followed the heartbreaking loss yesterday…but Frankie Firestorm’s continuing lack of closer-type presence continues to be a major concern for this team.
What’s the Definition of Overmanaging:
Brewers manager Ron Roenicke really outsmarted himself in the first two innings. In the bottom of the first he had his shortstop playing very close to second base with Murph up and Kirk on second. Murph, as fans could easily visualize–Murph does hit to all fields, no?–smacked a single right in the vacant shortstop position to score Kirk with the game’s first run. Roenicke then called a very early squeeze play in the bottom of the second, and Cesar Izturis’ weak bunt left Taylor Green easily out at home.
What’s Trivial But Interesting:
The Mets are now 4-1 on Monday nights when Kingman 26 does the postgame. And 0-2 on the ONE night this writer did not, losing the doubleheader to the Giants. Yes, we will try to keep on point every Monday.
Where We’ve Been:
Tonight’s win puts the Mets at 7-2 in their last nine, making them one of the game’s hotter teams. The 4-2 trip was somewhat disappointing due to the horrific losses on Friday and Sunday, but all things considered, a 4-2 trip to PHIL and MIA has to be viewed by the reasonable fan as a good to very good trip. Tonight, the team once again showed its resilient self by seeming to totally forget Frankie Firestorm’s Sunday meltdown, by playing another solid game, and by getting right back into the win column.
Where We’re Going:
The homestand has three more games; one with MIL and two with the Reds. After that it is three in TOR, and then a ten-game stretch with PIT, SD, and PHIL before the schedule becomes significantly tougher on June 1. The Mets really have a chance to show the world that they are for real over the next two weeks.
What’s On Tap:
Tomorrow at 7:05 PM the Mets conclude this mini-series with the Brewers, with Dillon Gee facing Zack Greinke. Gee has been decent this year, but the anemic Brewers might be the perfect opponent for Gee to throw a gem against. At 20-15 the Mets continue to wage their shock and awe campaign, and winning two of the next three would set another high watermark for this team, which does nothing but continue to surprise and continue to bounce back from even the toughest losses.
The fun hopefully continues tomorrow, and when one considers that this team is two heartbreaking bullpen losses away from being 22-13, the sane and reasonable fan must be nothing less than thrilled with the 2012 Mets after 35 games.