Updated: May 20
Welcome back to the Amazins in Astoria, a season long diary where I chronicle my life in relation to the 2022 New York Mets.
For the first entry in this series, click here.
For the previous entry in this series, click here.
April 25th-Game 18 at St. Louis Cardinals (12-5)
Six innings into Game 1 against the Cards, and the fans at Busch Stadium are doing the wave. The clearest indicator of crowd boredom as neither team has yet to reach third base, let alone score a run. In terms of pitching, Max Scherzer and Miles Mikolas are putting on a show, with both retiring batter after batter with their own signature weapons.
Scherzer has the Cards chasing pitches all night. For the second start in a row, Scherzer strikes out 10, and pretty much all of them are beautiful. His slider is his fiercest weapon today, and he's been able to get guys all over the zone. On the inside, he takes down Dickerson in the second with a low cutter, and Edman in the sixth with a high foul tip cutter. Outside, Sosa's left arm extends pretty much straight out as he tries to connect on a slider wayyy off the plate. When Scherzer leaves the game after 7 scoreless innings, he's racked up another 10 strikeouts on the season.
Miles Mikolas, his counterpart on the Cards, is having quite a night as well. Honestly, I'm not sure what's tougher about Mikolas, his stache, or his slider. Mikolas strike out 5 over 7 innings pitched, and even when the Mets make contact on what he's throwing, it's not going anywhere they want it to.
After 7 scoreless inning, it's clear that both teams are tired of the pitching clinic they involuntary participated in, and actually start to put the ball in play. The Cards end the scoreless streatch in the bottom of the 8th, as Tyler O'Neill hits a line drive to left to get two guys home. I bury my head in my hands, frustrated that the Mets will now have just one frame to keep themselves alive tonight. I turn to my roommate and elaborate on my frustration, explaining that when your team is away and gives up a lead like that in the bottom of the 8th, the top of the ninth usually feels like some sort of sick victory lap for the enemy.
As the top of the 9th opens, Busch Stadium is on their feet for that exact reason. Alonso pops out, Escobar singles, and Cano pops out. The Mets are on their last breath, and the St. Louis crowd looms like a shark who has just smelled blood. Then, with the last part of the lineup that I would expect to mount a comeback, something clicks. Canha hits a routine grounder to Arenado, but his throw is too high, allowing Escobar to score. Two at bats later, Dom Smith hits a missile that gets Goldscmidt tumbling to make the grab. Smith beats out the tag, and two more runners score to flip this game 3-2 in favor of the Amazins. Brandon Nimmo hits a two run blast to make it 5-2, and all of a sudden, the lower bowl is now a cacophony of"LGM."
Just as the Cards were ready to cross the finish line, the Mets sent them hurtling into the wall. Carlson pops out, and Diaz fans 2 to finalize this comeback win. Naturally, I'm ecstatic. Several times this season, the Mets have shown glimpses of greatness. Great teams know how to get themselves out of a hole, and they proved that tonight. Of course, they've still got another 144 to play, but for now, I can rest easy.
April 26th-Game 19 at St. Louis Cardinals (13-5)
Early Tuesday morning, I'm flipping through several stories regarding DeGrom. After an MRI on Monday, DeGrom's shoulder has made some significant progress in healing, and it's likely that he'll be able to start working it out sooner rather than later. While they don't give a timetable on a potential return, I'm just hopeful that he'll be available by the fall.
As the game gets going later that night, it's clear that we're in for another defensive clinic. In the top of the first, Paul DeJong makes a great scoop and throw to get Marte out at first. Francisco Lindor laughs as he goes down swinging, and I can't blame him. With the stuff that Jordan Hicks is slinging tonight, sometimes it's just better to laugh it off. Even as he sends several Mets packing, I'm sad to see him leave in the 2nd after taking a comebacker from Dom Smith to the hand.
As Hicks leaves the game, I feel myself nodding off, not realizing how tired I am after work. Probably because I'm crazy, but more so because I need my Mets fix, I attempt to push through for the rest of the game.
In the 3rd inning, I notice that the fans sitting behind homeplate are being treated to waiter service. i understand why that exists for courtside seats at basketball games, as it prevents too many people from walking around during play, but in baseball? Really? Before I can think about it for much longer, Jeff McNeil sends one into right for a sliding double. On the next at bat, McCann rockets one to center for a stand up double of his own, sending McNeil home for the first run of the game. After Nimmo walks, Marte singles to send McCann home, and the Mets are up 2-0 just like that.
The bats cool down for New York over the next few innings, but Chris Bassitt is doing a solid job at keeping the Cardinals from responding. He strikes out 6 over 6 innings, with his breaking balls doing most of the work. His sinker to Andrew Knizner may be one of the best pitches I've seen all season, but it's DeJong who really gets the worst of it. In four at bats on Tuesday night, DeJong goes down on strikes twice against Bassitt.
By the 6th inning, I think I've seen a car insurance commercial featuring Ice T about 100 times. I have to give him credit, though, it's been a slightly different commercial each time.
In the 8th, Pete Alonso takes a high fastball right in the helmet. He drops down quickly, gets back up, and takes his base. The entire way there, he's shooting daggers from his eyes to Kodi Whitley. Again, looking at the replay, there was nothing intentional behind Whitley's pitch. There hasn't been anything intentional behind any of the pitches that have hit the Mets this season, but as Alonso takes his base, it's clear that the frustration in the Mets dugout has reached a boiling point.
In the top of the 9th, Marte is hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to give the Mets their 3rd run of the night. If they weren't up 3-0, I really think the benches would have been cleared. Regardless, the Mets win again, and clinch a series win for the 6th time in a row.
April 27th-Game 20 at St. Louis Cardinals (14-5)
During a late afternoon lull, I take a second to flip on the radio broadcast in the bottom of the 4th. It's a bad idea, as I listen to a 4-3 Mets lead get completely obliterated by a 5-run Cards rally. After a Dylan Carlson triple makes it 8-4, I rip my airpods out of my ear and go continue to sort my emails in silence.
Later on, I see a replay of the benches clearing pitch that Yoan Lopez whiffs past Nolan Arenado's face. Did Arenado deserve that? Probably not. Was an opposing player bound to get buzzed at this point? Probably. The Mets lose 10-5, but with a 14-6 record, they finish Wednesday night with the best record in baseball.
April 28th-Off Day
During lunch, I debate with some friends over which game we should go to for the Phillies series this weekend. Ultimately, we decide on Saturday so we can snag that Francisco Lindor bobblehead. Surely, I will not regret this decision.
April 29th-Game 21 vs. Philadelphia Phillies (14-6)
I'm in the East Village when I get the notification. Through 8 innings, four Mets pitchers have held the Phillies hitless. Jeff McNeil has 2 RBI's, and Alonso has broken hit homer drought, but those plays are merely compliments to the performance that New York's rotation has put on tonight.
As Diaz trots out to the mound to warmup for the final inning, I'm scrambling to find some way to follow this game. There are no tvs in this bar and I have no signal, so I resort to watching the mlb.com gameday cast on my friend's phone. As I watch the little pitch graphics whizz past the static player models, I can't explain to my non-baseball watching friends why I'm acting so erratic all of a sudden. Don't ask me why, but over the past few years, I've really bought into the superstition of not talking about a no hitter in progress. Once I see that final red streak go across my screen, I let loose a quick "Let's go!" before finally explaining what was going on to some bar patrons that shot me a weird look. They were uninterested.
While I'm a little disappointed I didn't buy tickets to the game, I'm not too upset. I watched all of Johan Santana's no-hitter from my couch back in the Summer of 2012, so it's not like I've never seen one before. I'll just have to make sure I'm watching every game in 2032.
April 30th-Game 22 vs. Philadelphia Phillies (15-6)
My firends and I arrive at Citi Field on Saturday nearly an hour early. It's Lindor bobble head night, and we're determined to each get one. Not only does this bobblehead depict Francisco Lindor, but Francisco Lindor as a garden gnome. My desk at work is embarrassingly bare, and this limited edition Mets tchotchke will be the pièce de résistance of the entire row of cubicles should I get it. Luckily, by the time my friends and I get to the gate, there's still thousands of bobbleheads left to give out.
After we get to our seats, and immediately sign up for the Zipchair seat upgrade, we're treated to a show from a local Taekwando dojo, featuring about a hundred kids swinging around nunchuks and bo staffs in the oufield. In all honesty, those kids probably could have overtaken the field and established their own martial law over the arena, but they just end up doing some flips and leave the field promptly in time for first pitch.
Taijuan Walker is on the mound for the first time since going on the IL, and while I'm nervous at first, his performance over 5 innings pitched is decent. The Phillies are getting on base, but the defense has made some really good moves to make sure that they're not getting home. In the 2nd, Walker makes an excellent pickoff move to get Nick Castellanos out at first. In the 4th, Brandon Nimmo tracks a potential Bryce Harper triple all to way back to make a stunning leaping grab.
Harper is really having a tough time in the beginning of this one. Aside from being robbed of extra bases, Harper goes down swinging in the first. For every Harper at-bat that ends in an out, the crowd really lets him hear it. For the Phillies, Kyle Gibson is doing a decent job at keeping the Mets at bay. The only run the Mets score with Gibson on the mound is on an unsuccessful fielder's choice play in the 5th. Francisco Lindor knocks an easy grounder to first, but Hoskins tries to make a throw home to prevent Brandon Nimmo from scoring. Nimmo beats the tag on a crazy close play, and the Mets are up 1-0.
Around the 4th inning, the winners of the Zipchair upgrade are announced, and my friends and I are left in the dust. They finish the segment with an ad for some Mets themed furniture, but my roommate who is with me tells me to not even think about it.
After 5 solid innings, Walker is done for the day, and it's up to the bullpen to get us through to victory. May gets through the 6th unharmed, and in the 7th, I expected Ottovino to move just as quick. However, on a low fastball, Kyle Schwarber rockets one past the fence in dead center, sending JT Realmuto home ahead of him to take a 2-1 lead. Bohm is walked, steals second, and then advances to third after McCann botches the putout throw. This allows him to get in easily from third on an Odubel Herrera Double, and the Phillies have swung this game to 3-1 in their favor in the span of one frame. Reid-Foley finishes the inning, and after a bottom frame that sees Marte fly out and Alonso pop out, my friends convince me to dip.
The Mets do load the bases in the 8th, but it's all for naught. The Phillies close it out 4-1, and the only thing I can hope for is that the series win streak won't be beat tomorrow, and that this bobblehead will make my desk look good.
May 1st-Game 23 vs. Philadelphia Phillies (15-7)
I'm at a film shoot in Brooklyn for most of the day, so by the time I'm back in queens, the Mets are up 6-4 in the bottom of the 7th. During the car ride home, I'm watching a few highlights from the early innings. Scherzer lets up 3 homers, including 2 more from Schwarber, giving him 3 total on the Weekend. Could he be the biggest villain for the Mets this year? At this point, I doubt it given the Phillies record, but you'll have to ask me again in July. Even with those runs on the board, Scherzer still finds a way to strike out 9 over 6 innings.
Before I head back to my apartment, I stop at the bodega on Steinway to grab some dinner. As I walk home, I stop in front of the pub that's playing ESPN for their outdoor tables. In between pitches, the broadcast replays an amazing diving catch from Marte to prevent what surely would have been an extra base hit from Bohm. By the the time I'm home, the Mets have piled it on in the 7th to go up 9-4.
In the bottom of the 8th, Francisco Lindor is hit once again, this time in the leg on a wild sinker from Christopher Sanchez. The lower bowl of Citi Field bares their teeth, but all Buck can do is shake his head in the top of the dugout. Of course, in response, Buck lets Yoan Lopez loose in the top of the 9th. A surprise to no one, he's keeping it too high and too tight for comfort. He buzzes Schwarber twice before forcing a groundout, and hits Bohm to put a runner on 1st. Camargo homers to make it 10-6, but an Odubel Herrera swinging K puts this one to bed.
As the Mets close out another series win, they clinch the best record in the National League for the time being. While April has not been the prettiest for this team, I can't help but think about where they'll be if this style of plays stays consistent throughout the rest of the season.