Tuesday, September 22, 2015

N.Y. Mets: Jon Niese Helps Amazins Roll a Lucky Seven

From the desk of:  HEAD-BUTTING MR. MET

NYM  85-65   --
WAS  78-71 6.5

NEW YORK METS: Amazins reduce Magic Number to 7 with 4-0 whitewash over Atlanta Braves.

The Mets entered Monday's series opener against the Atlanta Braves with a six game lead over the Nationals, and a Magic Number of 8 with 13 games left to play.

Mother Nature helped to somewhat slow the Nats' momentum.  Winners of three in a row, the D.C. Nine were rained out in Baltimore.  Meanwhile, the Amazins 4-0 whitewashing of the Braves helped snap a 2-game skid and improved their September record to 12-7; same as the Nationals.

The Mets now own a 6.5 game lead over Washington with a dozen left to play, while their magic number has been reduced to Lucky #7.

Monday's defeat makes the Atlanta Braves 60-91 for the season, which is a numerical way of saying they're really, really bad. Despite employing sluggers such as Freddie Freeman still capable of ruining any pitcher's day, collectively, the Braves stink.

Hey, that's what their record says, not me.

Eight Years Later, Jon Niese Earns His Stripes:

Rookies in 2008, Jon Niese and Daniel Murphy are the Mets longest tenured players after David Wright.  On Monday, Jon turned in perhaps his finest performance as a Met.  I'm sure Niese enjoyed better days at some point during his 8-year career with the Mets, but I dare say never one in this big a moment.

Despite a wildly inconsistent season, Jon Niese took the mound at Citi Field during a late September pennant race and effectively seized the day with 6 scoreless innings.  He threw 88 pitches with 59 (64%) going for strikes, allowed just 3 hits, walked 2, and fanned 2 batters.  Jon improved his season record to 9-10, and lowered his ERA from 4.31 to a 4.16 mark.

His wasn't an overly dominant performance by any stretch, but it was Jon Niese's first victory in a month, and couldn't have come at a more perfect time for him and the team.

For Jon personally, the 8-year veteran and season long beleaguered southpaw delivered a quality start Monday night worthy of appreciation and cheer, particularly after the team's lost weekend against the Bronx Bombers.  And in doing so, he also gave the Mets pitching a much needed shot in the arm, as the team ERA was ranking 9th in the N.L. during September.

His was indeed an optimal way of addressing a downward trend.

My related piece written for Rising Apple: Mets: The Final Push.

La Potencia ha regresado:

Yoenis Cespedes looks to be heating up again.

On Sept. 13 he began a stretch which yielded a mere 2 for his next 25, exacerbated by an 0 for 16 slump lasting through Game Two against the Yankees.

He was 1 for 3 with a double in the Subway Series finale, and went a robust 3 for 4 with another pair of doubles against the Braves Monday.

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