Saturday, May 01, 2010

Seize The Moment

The following is a running post since Wednesday night.  I apologize for any repetitiveness.
Just a reminder, if I'm not posting on mlblogs, it's usually on my Blogspot first.  I work from there.
...and away we go..

Wednesday's Thoughts:
After Wednesday night's completion of the series sweep, for one game;- their next,
I want the Mets to seize the moment.
Coming off a 9-1 home stand and fresh from sweeping the Dodgers,
the Mets need to seize the moment Friday by defeating the Phillies in their park.


Thursday's Thoughts, Off Day:
After sweeping a good old fashioned double-header from
the L.A. in Citi Field Tuesday and then the series Wednesday,
On the morning of April 28, 2010 when you woke up, the Mets were in first place by a half game
over the Phillies who lost in San Francisco late Wednesday night.

Hey Met fans...Who Wudda Thunk it?! See?! Ya Gotta Believe!
Amazin' !!  That not only means me, but many fans METropolis over.
If that seems a little bi-polar to you, it's not.  Trust me, I still have my issues.
But we just can not pooh-pooh the moment, can we?

"We'll be right back with the Happy Re-cap."  ~  the Late Great Bob Murphy

In the series vs. L.A., David Wright collected his 1000th hit of his Met career and is now the clubs all-time leader in doubles passing Steady Eddie Kranepool on the list.



Friday Afternoon, April 28th:

The Mets completed a rather remarkable home stand. They recorded 9 wins versus 1 loss. They haven't had a series like this at home since 1988 and 1969 before that. Incidentally, those were two years we won 100 games in the season. Easy there everybody...easy. John Maine put forth what appears to be his best effort this season against the Dodgers. His ball danced quite a bit and he wound up striking out his season high 9 batters versus 3 walks in 6 innings.

I'm taking this home stand in stride and not getting too giddy about a turn around from a 4-8 motley crew to a 13-9 (14-9 when I finally posted this today) team. 
After a day off they'll be in South Philly for what amounts to a battle for first place.

Let's Go Mets!


Friday Night Post-Game:

Every so often in the season games present themselves as statement games.  They are singular in importance but the cumulative effect these types of games have is immeasurable; be it for better or worse.

The 'feel-good' we're all experiencing right now could have suffered devastating deflation causing Met Fan optimism to fall like the Hindenburg over the fields of New Jersey.  Nine wins versus one loss could have shrunk in our rear-view mirrors very rapidly.

But No...  Instead the Metropolitans came down the turnpike and announced their arrival in Philly with authority, but thankfully better than NUKE could.  Tonight (last night) they scored early and often against the defending N.L. Champs.  They hit the ball "very hard" and some hits were just "not playable" (reference? anyone?). 

Jon Niese, the rookie, stymied the Phillies for 7 innings, albeit without Jimmy Rollins and Victorino shortening the line-up further by batting second to compensate Jimmy's absence..  However the happy thought of the day -  We still have Pelfrey and Johan to go.

I started this post last night just as April expired and turned into May 1st, 2010.  April is officially done and the Mets finished the month in first place.  Some may call the month bizarre; some miraculous.  Me?  I call it AMAZIN' !  When you think about it, Amazin' is the best way to encapsulate the fan's angst while still keeping this hot streak in perspective.

The series can still go very wrong for this Mets team.  But that's not what tonight was all about.  Tonight was one game that stands on it's own.  Tonight the Mets needed to keep their momentum going and stake their claim.  From where this team was earlier in the month,  having salvaged April and buffing a shine out of the situation, the Mets needed to seize the moment tonight against their biggest division rival Philadelphia Phillies..., and they did!

Last night the Mets did what they've often failed at over the last few years. They seized the moment. "Seize the Moment" games come along for many different reasons. Sometimes personal reasons, sometimes team reasons are the impetus to Seize the Moment. Last night was important to me. After last night's game, a loss today I dare say will be more bearable. A loss Friday last night would have been very deflating. Somehow they managed to give April a good buffing and shines.

I couldn't be happier with Jon Niese's development.  He's one of many prospects in METropolis these days.  This coming from the same farm system we all chided the organization about and accused it of being barren.  The Mets have more first and second year players on the current roster than they've had in a considerable time.  We all agree Tony Bernazard earned his release from his duties due to his behavior and recurring controversies.  He's topical again because he just recently spoke about his Mets experience.  He believes he did nothing wrong last year and was scape-goated by the club for their '09 failures.  But Omar appointed him Tsar of Minor League Operations back in the tail end of 2004 and we are now witnessing the results of his work while he maintained his job title.  With players such as Gee, Martinez, Parnell and Thole still on the way and Davis, Mejia, Nieve, Niese and Pelfrey already here, things look better health wise for this organization moving forward.  It's some of the main-stays on this team that need addressing.  "the Kids are Alright".

Here is Jon Niese's line from last nights game vs. the Phillies:
7.0 innings pitched
4 hits
1 run, 1 earned
1 base on balls
7 strikeouts
3.10 season .era
Jon kept the 2,3 and 4 hitters, hit-less.

Saturday's April Review:

The day?  April 17th.  That's the day the Mets dueled the Cardinals for 20 innings.  That's when this clubhouse decided they were going to get behind their embattled manager.  That's when said manager, went toe to toe with LaRussa for 20 rounds and by tapping into his inner Buster Douglas, defeated the Great LaRussa.  Before that Saturday afternoon game started the Mets were 3-7.  Just before Saturday afternoon was about to change over to Sunday morning, the Mets won and up-ticked to 4-7.  They lost Sunday and sitting at 4-8 on April 18th wasn't making anyone happy.  The Mets lost their 4th series in a row to start the season.  Pitchforks and torches were in hand and the angry villagers would be descending on Citi Field Monday night April 19th.

Opening Day was such a clean, efficiently played contest with a simple formula working for the Mets;
Johan pitched, David Wright hit and K-Rod closed.  But we lost 2 out 3 to the Marlins.  Then we lost the series to the Nationals; then the Rockies.  We went limping into St. Louis and only won 1 of 3 there.
But there was that 20 inning game.

During that time of perceived futility, two things became clearly evident.  The pitchers turned out to not be our biggest problem so far.  As a matter of fact they rank among Baseball's best in early tallies.  And secondly,  the promotion of Ike Davis from AAA is paying huge dividends.  The Mets are getting production from 1st base and the middle of the line-up like they haven't got since Delgado slugged in the 4 slot.

Jose Reyes came back to ignite this team.  He and Jeff Francoeur are in my opinion most responsible for getting these players to rally around their manager.

Getting back to April 19th and the game that started their remarkable turn-around versus the Cubs, the Mets went on to win 9 games while dropping only 1 on the home stand.  They are 11-5 at home for best in the majors and find themselves in first place as May begins with a 14-9 record, not including today's game in which Mike Pelfrey is getting hammered after 5 innings to the tune of a 6-0 Philly lead.  But like I said earlier, because of last night this game is a little easier to reconcile.

What started out horribly wrong for the Mets this season has been reclaimed and restored.  Having achieved positive ground kind of wipes the slate clean for now.  They have this much to build upon.  Whether the strive forward or take steps backwards remains to be seen, today's results withstanding.

As a motif, I believe in "seizing the moment".  The Mets did that last night.  The month of April's "Happy Re-Cap" is one for the books (a la Howie Rose).  Stay tuned for the musings of May.

Mike   BTB

Follow-up post after Saturday's game:
Philly repays the favor.  They drubbed us 10-0 today.  I'm OK with that.  Just as Philly fans feel better about Friday's results now that they've evened the series. The rubber game is tomorrow.  It's not a seize the moment game.  Not this time.  It's just a rubber game against a division rival as the two teams fight for first place.  The rest of the season is taking shape.  One month is done and 5 remain.
Happy Baseball everybody!

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