What a difference a day makes.
After what was easily they’re worst performance of the young season Sunday night, the Mets came storming back Monday and promptly…slept walked their way almost out of the game.
With Dillon Gee and Jarred Cosart locked in a speedwalking contest masked as a pitcher’s duel, both the Mets and Marlins had nearly nothing show for the first 90 minutes and eight innings.
Cosart allowed only two hits in eight scoreless innings and Gee was almost as good, matching zeroes through 7.2 innings before the Marlins were able to scratch across a single run in the eighth.
Steve Cishek replaced Cosart in the 9th and promptly gave up a lead off double to Juan Lagares. Cishek followed by walking Lucas Duda and you just knew the Mets were going to be able to get at least a run here. Cishek pretty much sucks. He was an All-Star one year, but that’s because every team needs to have one representative in the game.
Michael Cuddyer came up with two on and nobody out and popped out setting the stage for the Mets’ own defALLt-Star, Daniel Murphy who crushed a meatball into the right-centerfield seats for a three-run dinger.
Jeurys Familia finished off the Marlins in the ninth and the Mets had a tidy, comeback victory to open the series in Miami.
First things first: they won. That’s obviously good. Especially getting out to the fast start, every win pushes that start one day deeper into the calendar. That’s when it stops becoming a good start and starts becoming a good season. Yes, it’s still April for a few more days, but 10 games over .500 at the end of April is a helluva lot better 10 games under and is way better than the plain .500 that most of us probably would have signed up for in March.
Secondly, everybody mentioned just how tired they were after playing the late ESPN game Sunday night and not even getting to the hotel in Miami until 4:30 AM Monday morning. They certainly looked it, but they found a way to get a win in a game we probably would have excused them for had they lost. That shows a lot of character.
Time of the game was 1 hour, 52 minutes and it was awesome. Both starters just pumping in strikes like the machines at the batting cages, mixing locations and changing speeds. It was seriously fun to watch. For the importance on taking pitches and walks (and it is important, I’m not saying it’s not) we want to see hitters swing. Last night, both teams had no choice not to swing as Cosart and Gee were consistently in the zone.
We were all getting ready to crucify Murphy and give Dilson Herrera the keys to the 2B job. So, of course, he gets the big knock. I’m not a Murphy fan. I find him very one-dimensional and even that dimension is susceptible to long, horrible slumps like the one he’s been in coming out of the gate. But after two doubles Sunday and now the bomb last night, maybe he’s coming around. If they’re going to commit to him in the five-spot in the order, he’s got to be able to drive the ball. Guys at the top have been getting on base. For Murphy to have any value for this team, he has to become a solid run-producer.
While he’s historically been a decent two-hole hitter, returning him there makes him virtually worthless. The only plus tool Daniel Murphy has is his ability to handle the bat. By moving him down and allowing a guy like Lagares or d’Arnaud to see better pitches in front of what has become a major threat in Lucas Duda, you lengthen your lineup and theoretically create more RBI chances for the guys who should be able to get them in.
Murphy’s approach really doesn’t change depending on his spot in the lineup, but he does alter it according to situation. Last week, I talked about him being able to pull ground balls to the right side in multiple games to advance runners from second to third. He can take the ball the other way and has proven to be a 40 doubles guy. His ability to go gap to gap or read the situation to pull a grounder or just hit a fly ball when needed may not look overly impressive on the back of a baseball card next season, but it can be incredibly effective toward winning ball games.
With Craig Kimbrel being traded to the Padres, Jeurys Familia may be the best closer in the NL East. Think about it.
If I told you in March that through 20 games, the Phillies would have a better record than the Nationals, you’d have thought I was a meth addict and would have been certain I had that yuck mouth. But I’m not and I don’t and, surprising as it is, that’s exactly where we stand right now.
I legitimately let out a huge cheer (at work) when Murph went deep last night and I couldn’t wait for the next game. And that’s my favorite thing about baseball: that we get to do it all over again tonight. Rafael Montero is getting called up for a spot start and he’ll go against David Phelps for the Fish.
A good showing from Montero could make for some very interesting story lines going forward over the next week, month, offseason and obviously, another win would be good too. So with that said, #LGM!