Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Shaking Off the Coma

Games 15 through 21 - Mets

Marlins 9, Mets 2
Mets 10, Marlins 1
Mets 3, Nationals 1
Mets 10, Nationals 5
Nationals 11, Mets 4
Mets 5, Braves 4
Braves 4, Mets 3
Record: 11-10

Whew. My apologies to the MLC faithful for my prolonged absence, but today is the first day of feeling even halfway human after a bodily devastating bout with New Orleans nightlife. When simply continuing to breathe takes all of my concentration (not to mention praying for death), blogging gets back-burnered. Fear not, folks, for I'll not darken the doorstep of Igor's or the like for at least another year.

Adding insult to injury is that fact that I have to little comment upon for the stretch of games I missed. The Crescent City might as well be on the moon, and save for catching sight of a few Mets scores along the way, my insight into the highs and lows of the five games from Wednesday through Sunday is as shallow as the Canal Street mud puddle I used for a pillow. They might as well have been played on some college kid's Strat-o-matic board 'twixt pizza deliveries. Thankfully, I can direct you to the rest of the Mets blogosphere for those recaps and remarks.

I did catch the past two games against the Braves, and by and large I liked what I saw. There were things to dread along the way, of course, like brief lapses in David Wright's defense, Braden Looper looking even less dominant -- after Roberto Hernandez looked vaguely reminiscent of Armando Benitez, the Mets being baffled by John Smoltz again, and Jose Reyes -- I could swear -- swinging at a ball over his head. Still, there were more things to applaud, like Aaron Heilman's bookend of a bad outing with another gem, that same bullpen bending but not breaking, Mike Piazza's bat taking to the smelling salts, and the continuing ability to rally under fierce two-out pressure.

There was also a handful of purely entertaining sights, including some skillful/gutsy/okay, pretty damn lucky plays in the field. First, a crazy play happened when a ball caromed off Heilman, was scooped by Wright and fired to first for one out, then gunned back toward third by Chris Woodward where Jose Reyes snagged the heave while diving and tagging Brian Jordan, who'd tried to advance on the throw. Well, he almost tagged him, but the ump saw fit to reward the remarkable play. Innings later, a grounder at Wright shot off his shoulder for a sure error, but ricochet rabbit Jose Reyes scooped it up and fired to first to save the play. The young third baseman's glovework eroded further as the night wore on, but the Mets did just enough to stave off a bad loss.

Last night's game did end in a losing efort, but "effort" is the key word there. The ninth-inning rally was as exciting a turnaround for the Mets' dormant bats as possible without notching a win. Things to take away from this loss included another two-out surge to match Monday's barrage, another wretched appearance for the Braves current and nearly former closer Danny Kolb (he's allowed 8 ER in 9 IP), and 12 more hits from a rapidly improving offense. Look, there are things to lament, but like I said, I'm feeling better today than I have in what seems like an eternity (but is several days), and that's spreading to my take on the Mets.

So, what do we know about the Mets that we didn't a week ago when I left off? Over the last seven games, the team was just slightly above .500, Pedro impressed, the bullpen didn't, the exciting defense was liable to make great plays and costly blunders, and it generally seemed like everyone on the team played a fair bit better than I'd have figured them capable of or a fair bit worse -- never exactly at their preconceived levels of talent. Seems like a microcosm of the 2005 Mets thus far. This team still hasn't quite figured itself out, but I'll give the Mets this -- they've shown an abundance of spirit and energy when it has mattered, which is more than Rob can say for his club across the aisle.

No comments: