To say that this game was only about Zack Wheeler's brilliant six and a third innings of work on Saturday would be completely correct. But it would be like having Jell-O without the Cool Whip or Reddi-Whip. (There have been enough pancakes vs. waffles debates from the Mets lately so I don't want to start a whipped cream war ... I'll leave that to Justin Turner. They're both excellent.)
There were so many layers to Saturday's 4-1 victory that I'm not sure where to begin. So let's start with the Jell-O: Wheeler zoomed through the Diamondbacks without so much electricity, but with more of a feeling of comfort for the Mets. You never got the sense he was blowing people away, but you also never got the sense that he was in any trouble until the seventh when he was pulled (right on time, I'll give Terry Collins credit for tonight). Wheeler had only four strikeouts while he gave up six hits, but the big number: zero walks. The SNY broadcast harped a little on how Wheeler loses his velocity as the game goes into the later innings, but if Wheeler keeps those walks down as he did tonight, that isn't going to be an issue at all.
Now speaking of the SNY crew, Keith was at his most ridiculous self. We found out he was on Facebook because he told us, but my favorite moment came before that. Gary Cohen gave Keith a chance to take a guess at the trivia question: (Who were the two players to appear in three consecutive World Series with three different teams), and Keith almost mockingly told Gare that he would pass on that as if it wasn't worth his time. But not five minutes later he obsessed over figuring out that Gert Frobe co-starred in Goldfinger. And this is why we love Keith and we should not let him go anywhere.
Sticking with the ridiculous while creeping back into the sublime, Ike Davis is now batting .203 with two more hits on Saturday. His slash since the All-Star break is pretty sick (.327/.493/.538/1.031 not counting Saturday). He's not hitting home runs yet, but he's hitting the ball hard and to all fields, which is what I was looking for. Fool me twice, shame on me ... I know. But if he keeps doing this and brings the home run back to his tool box, then Wilmer Flores might have one less position that he can play next season.
Flores was sublime as well on Saturday, driving in three including two big insurance runs in the top of the eighth. (But Flores should remember that he's slow and not try to go from first to third with two outs ... ever.) The bottom of the eighth featured a ridiculous double play turned by Omar Quintanilla off of Paul Goldschmidt, and then came maybe my favorite part of the game after Carlos Torres got in trouble again despite Quintanilla's heroics: Pedro Feliciano striking out Geraldo Parra with a 74 mph slider to get out of Torres' jam. Let's face it, every time Feliciano strikes out a batter, Brian Cashman throws a carton of small animals out of an airplane. I wasn't hopeful for any sort of career renaissance out of Feliciano, but as far as I'm concerned he could retire tomorrow and his second Mets stint has been a wild success. (But please, don't retire tomorrow ... because Scott Rice is going to melt like the Wicked Witch of the West any day now.)
Then the top of the ninth came this, which needs no further explanation:
I'm surprised J.J. Putz didn't need a physical after spiking that pitch.
The Mets closed it out in the ninth as they have seemingly found their new closer, LaTroy Hawkins. (Although Feliciano deserved the save.) Now you can tell me that Hawkins doesn't like to close (which is funny because he likes pitching in the eighth for pretty much the same reasons that I like him pitching the eighth), and Terry Collins can go on and on about how this is a mix-and-match scenario (probably to make Hawkins feel better), but he can't say that he's going to use different pitchers depending on the ninth inning matchups when he inevitably uses every other viable option before the ninth inning (Torres and David Aardsma). So guess what, kids: LaTroy Hawkins is the closer whether he likes it or not. Especially as long as he's doing well and Ryan Zimmerman isn't in the building.no comments