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The Amazins in Astoria: April 11-17

Image: AP

Welcome back to the Amazins in Astoria, a season long chronicle of my life in relation to the 2022 New York Mets.

For the first post in this series, click the link here.

For the previous post in this series, click the link here.

April 11th-Game 5 vs. Philadelphia Phillies (3-1)

I get home from work a little late, so by the time I'm back in my apartment, the Mets are up 2-0 in the top of the first with 2 outs. With a nice little Canha blooper into right field, Escobar scores from third to make it 3-0. In the bottom of the first, Walker gets through three batters quickly with two strikeouts, including finishing Bryce Harper with a beautiful splitter on the lower outside corner. After his time in Spring training this year, I was a bit worried that we'll never get First Half '21 Taijuan Walker back, but in the two innings he pitches, I like what I see. Striking out 4, Walker is replaced by David Peterson after he aggravates something in his knee, and his name is added to the ever-fluctuating Mets IL.

Peterson, as always, is a pretty solid replacement for Walker, allowing no runs, 3 hits, and striking out 3 over the next 4 innings. In the few moments where Peterson falters and gives a pretty hittable ball, he's helped by some really good infield defense, specifically from Luis Guillorme. In the bottom of the fourth, Guillorme makes a great spinning throw to finish a double play, and then makes another great throw off the bounce in the fifth. As for the Phillies, their fielding for the first half of the game is largely defined by Alec Bohm's yips. Three errors early on this one really helped the Mets get out to an early lead, and the Phillies crowd really let him have it, leading to a very unfortunate lip reading moment later that night on Twitter.

As the offense on both sides stagnates for a few innings, GKR take a few potshots at both the Apple TV broadcast, as well as Ken Rosenthal hanging out near the dugout cameras.

In the eighth, Joely Rodriguez takes the mound, and all the wheels fall off the wagon. After Bohm walks and Camargo singles, Kyle Schwarber walks up to the plate with runners on first and third and none out and grounds out into a fielders choice to send Bohm home. Realmuto hits a two run dinger to left to bring the Phillies within one, and after Rodriguez strikes out Harper, he's pulled for Seth Lugo to come in and do some damage control. The Phillies refuse to let that happen, as Hoskins ties it with an RBI double, only to immediately be sent on another double by Didi Gregorius.

In the span of just a few minutes, this game has completely flipped, and the top of the ninth feels like some sort of twisted Philly victory lap. The Mets, probably out of embarrassment, are in and out in three at bats as their drop their first game this season against their biggest rivals.

April 12th-Game 6 vs. Philadelphia Phillies (3-2)

It hits 70 degrees in Astoria later on in the afternoon, so I take a bit of extra time on my way home to stroll through the neighborhood. Feeling content, and a little sweaty, I head back to my apartment in time to tune into a scoreless game in the bottom of the second. Megill is having another solid game so far, striking out 2 in the first 2 innings. He's keeping it pretty low today, forcing a decent amount of pop outs. Megill retires nine consecutive batters from the first to the fourth, allowing just 3 hits in 5.1 innings pitched.

In the top of the fourth, Pete Alonso gets the first Mets hit of the day, while simultaneously on Twitter it's reported that Taijuan Walker will be on the 10-day IL. Dammit. It's ok though, the 2022 Mets are all about the bats, or at least when they want to be. They want to be today, as Nimmo nukes one into right field to give the Mets a 1-0 lead, and send Zack Wheeler packing after 4.2 IP. I don't know if that one homer is enough to warrant removing Wheeler, but I really can't complain.

The rest of the game is pretty stagnant, with the only other run coming from a Lindor RBI to send Marte home in the 8th. Bohm, after owning up to his comments the day before, gets a pretty big round of applause from the fans during each of his plate appearances. For me, however, the most interesting moment, maybe even saddest moment, of the game was seeing Juerys Familia try and close this one out in a Phillies uniform. I can't hate a guy for moving teams, and I can't say that the rotation is struggling without him, but it's just so tough to see him in that hideous red cap.

April 13th-Game 7 vs Philadelphia Phillies (4-2)

When looking at the history of organized professional sports, the rise of spectator events such as professional baseball can be attributed to the increased industrialization of North America and Europe. As more and more people began to work in industries that followed the new 9-5, Monday to Friday schedule, following your local baseball club became a great way to spend your free time. In his 1953 Journal Article "The Technological Revolution and the Rise of Sport, 1850-1900," John Rickards Betts writes:

"Just as the Industrial Revolution was to alter the interests, habits, and pursuits of all classes of society, it was to leave a distinct impress on the development of sport."

With further developments from the 1930's to the 1950's in stadium light technology, baseball continued to grow in accessibility for millions more people around the country, finally solidying it's place as a working class spectator sport.

With all of these advancements in technology and culture to make baseball the American working person's game, whose idea was it to have the Mets and Phillies finish their series at 1 in the afternoon, while I'm at work!? While annoyed for a bit that I can't watch the game today, my frustrations fade when I see the final 9-6 score in favor of the Amazins. At DH, Pete Alonso has been stellar so far this season, bringing in 5 total runs against the Phillies, including two off of a 2-run homer in the sixth. Scherzer once again has himself a day, striking out 7 in 5 IP. While the middle part of the bullpen worries me a bit, and while I wish the Mets were able to get the sweep, I end my hump day pretty happy with the state of this team.

April 14th-No Game

I spend most of my free time today staring at the NL East standings, burning the image of the Mets in first place into my mind forever. They're showing no signs of slowing down right now, but I just want to take some time to appreciate the Mets in that spot just in case.

Looking over my notes, one thing that I jotted down on Monday, and again on Tuesday, is how much I love the way that Buck takes advantage of the new National League DH. I spent the better part of last year saying that the NL shouldn't adopt it to keep the leagues a bit different, but the way that it helps keep strong offensive position players healthy could be huge for a team like this in the long run.

April 15th-Game 8 vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (5-2)

Another day, another game in the afternoon. SInce it's the home opener, I spend a decent amount of time looking at both the pregame and ingame highlights later that night. I'm very jealous of everyone that got to be present for the unveiling of the Tom Seaver statue, and can't wait to see it in person once I make the trek to Flushing some time next week.

As for the game itself, I think it's probably as good of a home opener as you can get, as the Mets take down Arizona 10-3. Bassitt strikes out 6, New York hits 4 HR, and the biggest burough in the city is absolutely BUZZIN. What more can I say? This team just has that dog in 'em.

April 16th-Game 9 vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (6-2)

It's the day before Easter, and the beginning of my day is defined by my journey back out to the East End of Long Island. My roommate wakes me up at around 7:30 to get an 8:30 train out of Woodside, but considering the fact that I went to bed at 3, I hastily make a bus reservation for 11, and go back to sleep. Once I wake up, it's about 10:30, and I scramble to pack my bag and get from Queens to 59th and Lex before I end up having to take a train anyway. Luckily, I make my bus on time and get on my way home to the North Fork.

About an hour into the ride, it's time for game two of the Mets series, as well as the latest continuation of the Carlos Carrasco redemption tour. Over the first three innings, Cookie is keeping his pitches low, forcing guys to try and golf their swinges and resulting in either a strikeout or a chopped grounder that's easily snagged by the infield. That's not me trying to downplay the role of the infield today, either. From both teams, defense defined a good majority of this game. With only the vocal reactions of Howie and Wayne to go off of, before I confirm with the highlights later that night, Alonso and McNeil both make some crucial plays to keep this one scoreless in the first 7 innings.

The bus passes the Lavender sign again, and this time, they've fixed that middle N. Good job!

Once my bus arrives, and I finally get back to my house, I flip on SNY in the top of the 7th. After a pretty solid inning from Joely Rodriguez, Lugo comes in to make sure this one stays scoreless. With one on, Lugo strikes out Carson Kelly, but then Alcantara rips a homer into right center to break the stalemate and give the D-Backs a 2-0 lead. Giving up a walk and an RBI double to Daulton Varsho and Ketel Marte stretches the lead to 3, and the Mets are in a sizable hole with not a lot of game left. In the bottom of the 7th, the D-Backs show off their own defensive prowess as David Peralta makes an excellent sliding catch at the warning track to rob Pete Alonso of what surely would have been an extra base hit in the 7th.

In the eighth, Starling Marte golfs a 2-run blast into left center to make it a 1 run ballgame, but I don't feel as confident as I want to that the Mets will complete the comeback. After Marte, the next two batters in today's lineup are Lindor and Alonso. Obviously, these guys have been on fire this year, but at this point in the game, they need to make a big play now. They don't, as Lindor walks, and Alonso grounds into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning, and pretty much the game.

April 17th-Game 10 vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (6-3)

On Easter Sunday, I make sure to use the time my family is spending eating lunch to take control of the TV by 1 o'clock. My mom and sister are not amused, and my Dad would prefer to watch the second day of NBA Playoffs, but most of the protests cease once the game gets going.

Maybe it's genetic, but my parents are also impressed by Travis Jankowski once the game gets going. In the first, Jankowski makes a great snag to end the frame on a Christian Walker fly ball, and follows it up again in the fourth on another popup from Walker. In the infield, Luis Guillorme makes a great scoop play in the top of the sixth to prevent the Diamondbacks from scoring first. Is he making a gold glove bid this year? My inherent bias is telling me yes, but my journalism education is telling me to chill the hell out. In terms of pitching, this was probably the most consistent outing we've seen from the bullpen so far. Trevor Williams was great, and Chasen Shreve pitched two of the quickest innings I've seen so far this season.

Offensively, not only did we get the good Alonso and Lindor today, but we got some stolen bases. Buck took the team on a run! McNeil and JD's stolen bases really encapsulate the hungry Mets team that I saw today, but baserunning was pretty aggressive all around as guys looked to pull some extra distance off of every ball put in play. My favorite play of the day happens as a result of not fast baserunning, but instead some serious knwoledge of baseball's frustratingly strange rules. In the bottom of the seventh, Dom Smith runs home from third on a sacrifice fly, scoring on an incredibly close tag. The D-Backs think he ran a little too early, and pitcher Oliver Perez steps off the mound to potentially make an appeal, but before anything can be decided, JD Davis takes off for second, distracting Perez and effectively making any Arizona appeal attempt void. Is it a bit cheap? Sure, but who doesn't love a sneaky use of the rules?

Sealing a 5-0 victory, the Mets are now 7-3, first in the East, and have yet to lose a series so far this year. On my bus ride home, I see on Twitter that A-Rod claims the Mets will win two World Series over the next ten years. Before I have time to think about it, someone's cat two rows ahead of me relieves itself in it's carrier, stinking up the the bus for the remainder of the 2 hour ride.


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