On Monday I saw a true double-header between the Marlins and the Mets, both playing for the first time in three days because of the storm. I went with T-Bone and her former boss, Kevin. (No; Melvin and I do not promise to go see a game with everyone who becomes a follower of the blog, but sign up and we can talk about it.) Kevin and Tiffany and friends have had a 15-game package for all three of the seasons at CitiField and the phrase "long-suffering" comes to mind.
Both teams are well out of the play-off hunt, which is one reason why the games were so sparsely attended. At the start of Game 1, the crowd numbered in the hundreds, and at peak attendance the stadium was about half full. (The parking lot was full, but many of those people were across the street at the U.S. Open.) Too bad, because the weather was perfect, as it often is the day after a hurricane, and both games were pretty exciting.
Most reports on Game 1 focused on R.A. Dickey, who got his first win since July 25 (three loses, one no-decision) and had his longest scoreless outing in a year. He did give up eight hits and third baseman David Wright caught three line-drives. The Mets won this game, 2-1, on defense as much as anything.
Jason Isringhausen struck out the side in the eighth, slowly and deliberately. Bobby Parnell got his second consecutive save but not before Gaby Sanchez hit a bomb to the deepest part of the park.
|Florida Marlins, Game 1 — August 29, 2011|
Lucas Duda and Nick Evans, two of the young guys filing in for players on the disabled list, went a combined five-for-eight and scored the two runs. Duda is hitting almost .300 with some pop and can field his position. Evans is not that far behind. They and Ruben Tejada look like they belong in the majors, although they have yet to convince me they can lead a team to a division championship.
|New York Mets, Game 1 — August 29, 2011|
Dillon Gee, this year's R.A. Dickey, pitched six solid innings in the second game. He allowed six hits, including Greg Dobb's solo shot into the bullpen, the Marlins only run. Gee won his 12th game, becoming the first Met rookie to do so since Ron Darling in 1984. A portent of things to come, or just the honeymoon period before the hitters figure Gee out?
|Florida Marlins, Game 2 — August 29, 2011|
In the first five innings, Ricky Nolasco got the Mets to fly out, although Tejada tripled and scored in the fourth. Over the next inning and two-thirds, however, the fly balls dropped in and the grounders found holes. The six hits plated three and Nolasco was gone.
|New York Mets, Game 2 — August 29, 2011|
Evans doubled and came around in the eighth to make it 5-1. In a non-save situation, Parnell pitched a scoreless ninth inning and it was time for high fives.
Monday was such a nice day at the ballpark that the Mets-fan in me can't help getting a little excited about Duda and Evans and Tejada and Gee. It'll seem strange to most people, given my enthusiasm for seeing baseball, but I haven't been following the game in the media. Will these guys be in the starting line-up next year, or are they just here until the injured players are healed and management does what it does in the off-season?