Image: USA Today Sports
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 entry in this series, click here.
For the previous entry in this series, click here.
June 2nd-Game 53 at Los Angeles Dodgers (35-17)
Even with the most wins in the National League, the Mets are still the Mets. No matter how good they may be, this franchise will always be a magnet for silly situations and strange injuries. We've had Matt Harvey getting a bladder infection from holding his pee, Yoenis Cespedes wrestling a wild boar, and now, Francisco Lindor slamming his finger on a sliding glass door in his LA hotel room. Nothing too worrying, just a minor fracture in his right middle finger, and while it will keep Lindor out of tonight's game, it mainly serves as the latest entry in the Mets' canon of silliness.
Based on the way that Tony Gonsolin is pitching tonight, I don't even know if Lindor's presence would have made a difference tonight. Heading into this series, I knew that the Dodgers would tighten up following getting swept by the Pirates, and every Dodgers play in this 2-0 shutout showed that. Gonsolin kept the Mets scoreless thanks mostly to his splitter. Striking out 5 over 6 innings, Gonsolin gets Alonso, Davis, and Mazeika chasing some nasty stuff just outside the zone. His curveball is superb as well, getting Guillorme with a couple of nice drops.
Heading into tonight, the Mets were second in the majors in BABIP at .315, behind only the Rockies (weird). Tonight, the Mets bat .143 on balls in play, proving that even when Gonsolin lets up, the rest of the Dodgers defense was on point. Chris Taylor gets tonight's gold star, robbing Starling Marte of a potential momentum building single in the 4th.
With the loss, the Mets are the last team in the majors to be shutout in 2022. It had to happen at some point, so I'd much rather have it be against a powerhouse like the Dodgers than those schlubs in Philly.
June 3rd-Game 54 at Los Angeles Dodgers (35-18)
One of the pitfalls of being a fan is following a narrative; your team is always the main character, the Pennant is theirs to lose, and every opponent is nothing more than an obstacle. More often than most are comfortable with, you have to set aside your main character syndrome and follow someone else's narrative. There are 30 teams in the Majors, after all. It can't all about you all of the time. Tonight, that main character was Tyler Anderson.
My baseball career ended in the 3rd grade. Pitches started coming from the other kids, and they threw WAY too hard. Because of this early departure, I would not call myself an expert on the mind games played during a plate appearance. However, watching Anderson extend his scoreless innings streak with 6 clean frames tonight, I think I learned a lot. If you ask me, the biggest thing throwing the Mets off was that little flutter he does with his right leg before each pitch. Yes, his curveball is nasty, his fastball slides nicely into the zone, but it's that right leg that's doing all the work. You can really tell by the reactions of Marte, who strikes out looking in the 1st, and Canha, who goes down swinging in the 2nd. The Canha example is abundantly clear, get that leg flutter combined with an off speed, and no one is making contact.
June 4th-Game 55 at Los Angeles Dodgers (35-19)
After Anderson finished his 6 scoreless innings on Friday night, Pete Alonso homered to center to give the Mets their only run of the night. While most would consider it a consolation homer, I considered it a warning shot. As Alonso returned to the dugout, I like to imagine he plotted his Saturday night revenge then and there.
It sure feels like it tonight as Alonso heads home in the top of the 7th, giving the Mets a 9-4 lead in a game that started off a lot closer than the final box shows. After Lindor strikes 1st with a solo homer, LA goes off in the 2nd to quickly go up 4-1. By the time he hits his RBI double in the 2nd, Mookie is 4-9 so far in this series. Nothing too special, but just enough for him to be a consistent problem for the Mets this weekend. All good for the Amazins, however, as they rattle off 4 runs of their own in the next frame.
Alonso's first homer of the game was pretty much the payoff to an already solid 3rd inning, with Starling Marte and Francisco Lindor each grabbing some RBIs of their own earlier on. With the 2 he hit tonight, the Polar Bear has now homered 7 times in 11 games played in Dodger Stadium.
Side note; how the hell did the Mets beat LA in retiring Gil Hodges 14 by almost 50 years?
June 5th-Game 56 at Los Angeles Dodgers (36-19)
Buck. You psycho. You animal. I can't believe you just pulled that off. You put Edwin Diaz on the mound in the 8th? Up 2? And it worked? What a mad lad.
Oh, what's that? You didn't keep him in for the 9th? You put Lugo in to close and he blew it? The most embarrassing thing you've ever seen? And now it's worse because I'm repeating everything you say into the microphone?
Yes, the Mets bullpen dumps the responsibility of victory on the offense once again, and luckily they're up to the task, as JD Davis(!), who hasn't really shown his clutch factor that much this season, lines one down the middle to for a go-ahead run in the top of the 10th. A nice little series split is really all a guy like me can ask for against the Dodgers, and now New York is officially the best team in the NL once again.
June 6th-Game 57 at San Diego Padres (37-19)
Ingredients for a solid Monday
-1x Eduardo Escobar Cycle
-10x Carlos Carrasco K's over
-43x Pitches from Blake Snell in the 1st inning
Mix these three ingredients together, along with the news that Megill is on his way back to the team, and Jake and Max are expected to be back by the All-Star break, and you'll be riding a nice high for a little while.
June 7th-Game 58 at San Diego Padres (38-19)
If you came down from your Monday night high in the 7th inning of Tuesday night's game, then I am truly sorry for you.
What more can be said about Yu Darvish? The man is the king of accurate pitch location. Striking out 6, he makes the Mets chase pitches to pretty much no avail, allowing just 2 hits and walking no one. On the other side, the Mets are just getting lit up. To quote my wOBA Wonderboys host John Gensler, it's hard to compete when guys like Machado simply "hit the piss out of the ball."
June 8th-Game 59 at San Diego Padres (38-20)
I feel bad for Chris Bassitt right now, and no, that is not me patronizing him. The dude is a good pitcher and he has proven that many times this season; see his starts against Atlanta, Seattle, and the Dodgers this past weekend if you don't believe me. The problem with Bassitt is not his talent, or even the fact that he doesn't feel 100% himself right now. The problem is the fact that he was brought in to alleviate pressure on the upper half of the rotation, and now it's pretty much him and Carrasco keeping said rotation alive. Combine that with Alonso/Marte's brief injuries last night, and the fact that the Padres are looking to legitimize themselves after a relatively early schedule (not that they ever needed to, but doubters still endure), and we've got a game that most of Queens would like to push out of our collective consciousness relatively soon.
June 9th-Day off
I'm watching Atlanta creep up on the Mets like the Night's Watch watched the White Walkers. The Braves have closed the gap by 3 games over the past week, and with a series against the Pirates coming up this weekend, could gain even more ground. I quickly go back to my work tab to avoid the flashbacks of last August.
June 10th-Game 60 at Los Angeles Angels (38-21)
Late Friday night, or not so late Friday night in LA, Tylor Megill takes the mound against the Angels, and a massive weight lifts off of my chest. It's funny to think that injuries were worrying me while the team is 17 games above .500, but I've seen enough in my day to keep one eye open.
For a limited pitch count return, Megill hold his own pretty well. 4 strikeouts, 1 walk, and 2 earned runs over 64 pitches is a good baseline, especially when the offense is giving you room to get loose at your own pace. Nimmo leads the way tonight behind the plate, rocking a solo homer in the 4th, and then a 2-rbi double in the 6th. Canha, who I still kinda consider a silent assassin offensively, snags 3 rbis of his own to help the Mets cruise to a 7-3 win against a rough looking Angels team.
June 11th-Game 61 at Los Angeles Angels (39-21)
If there's one thing about the Mets, it's that they're charitable. Yeah, winning games is fun, but sometimes it's about helping out the little guy. Have you lost 15 of your last 16 and feel bad about losing your manager? Here, have an 11-6 win. Is almost your entire lineup in a slump? Here, Jared Walsh, hit a cycle on us. Need to put together a highlight reel featuring your snazzy new uniforms? Hit 5 home runs, don't worry about it. Our pleasure.
The New York Mets. Creating magical moments for other franchises since 1962.
June 12th-Game 62 at Los Angeles Angels (39-22)
Just before 1st pitch, possibly the saddest news surrounding the Angels this year drops on ESPN. After the Angels losing streak extended to 12 games, Maddon thought some levity would help get this team out of a slump, and gave himself a mohawk. Unfortunately, his team would not get to see this inspiring haircut in action, as Maddon was fired the next day. As the Mets and Angels got going in Sunday Night Baseball, my heart broke at the thought of Joe Maddon, watching the game from home with his new sick do.
Speaking of keeping up appearances, the Mets clearly wanted to keep their impeccable 4-1 National TV record this season. They're as consistent as ever behind the plate, registering a total of 11 hits spread out pretty evenly across the lineup. JD Davis snags his first homer since the trip to Arizona, and Alonso drives in 2 with a double in the 7th and a homer in the 9th. On the mound, Edwin Diaz comes in for an extended save appearance with 1 out in the 8th, and gets out of a pretty sticky situation by striking out Trout and Walsh in a combined 9 pitches. He did walk Rendon in between to load the bases, but I never doubted him.
As Diaz strikes out the side in the 9th, the Mets improve to 5-1 on National TV, and become the first team in the National League to hit 40 wins.
Reviewing the Road Trip
5-5 on a West Coast visit isn't exactly what you want out of the best team in the NL, but considering the circumstances, I'll take it. We know where this team excels and where they tend to flounder, but with Scherzer and DeGrom making some serious progress in their recovery, I think the Mets could be very scary come late June.