Thursday, June 12, 2014

deGrom can(not) do it all

On Memorial Day, David Bragdon, Kevin and I saw the Mets and Pirates. The star of the show was Mets rookie starter Jacob deGrom, who through three starts had an 1.83 ERA, .800 batting average and an 0-2 record. What's a guy gotta do? Offensively weak, New York scored only four runs in deGrom's three trips to the mound.

It was my second visit to Citi Field in less than a week, after not seeing the Mets once in 2013. Bragdon topped that on the following Thursday when he managed to see the Pirates three times in nine days; against the Orioles in Pittsburgh, our outing and in Los Angeles.

The Mets went ahead 2-0 in the fifth inning when deGrom and Juan Lagares scored on a Daniel Murphy line drive to right. Lagares was originally called out at the plate and we were there for manager Terry Collins' first challenge under the expanded rules. The review didn't take long and the ruling went our way, so alright!

Two innings later, the second review seemed to take forever and the call on the field was upheld. Like most of what Buddy-Boy Selig has instituted, I don't like the rule change and that was the consensus in our section.

Pinch-hitting for former Met Ike Davis, Gaby Sanchez hit a solo shot off Scott Rice, cutting the lead to one. With family and friends who are Tigers fans, I have watched Jose Valverde enough to cringe every time he takes the hill. True to fan expectations, Valverde allowed the Pirates to tie it in the eighth, then gave up three more runs in the ninth.

That performance earned him his second blown save, his first loss of the season, and his release from the team. Rarely is justice, at least as fans would see it, been so swift. The Mets are (again) near the bottom in several offensive categories—21st in OBP, 23rd in runs scored, 25th in BA and second to last in slugging—and hitting coach Dave Hudgens was also sent packing.

Since I had the car, we drove to Murray Hill—the one in Queens—for post-game supper at Han Joo Chik Naeng Myun & BBQ. We had (top to bottom) duck, pork belly and kimchi grilled on a slab of quartz with all the trimmings. Damn tasty!

Since it was Memorial Day, the Mets held their seventh annual Military Appreciation Day. Veterans Day is when (some) Americans honor military service; Memorial Day is when we remember those who died in service. Nonetheless, the team honored servicemen and women in several ways, including the obligatory camouflage uniforms.

The team papered the house with 3500 tickets for military personnel and their families and it was still small crowd. A ceremonial first pitch was made via satellite from the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush. Prior to the game, Congressman and Mets fan Steve Israel led a joint re-enlistment and enlistment ceremony for current and future members of the armed forces.

Israel is also chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC). A couple days after the game, I read an analysis of whether or not the Democrats can retake congress in this year's elections. Israel remarked,

“Most of my attitude at DCCC has been forged by being a Mets fan. I know that you can’t predict the outcome of the ninth inning in the first inning—and watching the Mets on many occasions, you can’t even predict the outcome of the ninth inning in the ninth inning!” Indeed.

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