On Monday morning, the Mets’ off-day, it was my belief a knee-jerk reaction after Sunday’s ugly loss would not be warranted until Jon Niese and the Mets responded Tuesday night. And this was their answer.
Jon Niese pitched through the eighth inning for the first time this season. He allowed a solo home run, and two more scattered hits for a total of three. He walked two and struck out three to earn his seventh victory of the season against three loses. This was Jon Niese’s third win in a row; his longest streak this season. In his last 21.1 innings pitched, he has allowed a mere four runs. After sporting an ERA above 4.00 for most of May, since June 16th, his ERA has dropped from 3.82, to a 3.35 mark.
At the plate, the most prolific singles and doubles team this side of the continental divide roughed up Phillies’ starter Vance Worley, in addition to the three relief pitchers Charlie Manuel summoned from his bullpen. The Amazins stroked fifteen hits against Philly pitching, while only hitting one home run; David Wright’s tenth. Also worth noting, at the official midway point of the season, David Wright is still batting at a .351 clip. He and Daniel Murphy both had four RBI each. And yes, Daniel Murphy is most certainly heating up. Together with Ruben Tejada, and Josh Thole, the three combined to bat 10 for 14, with five RBI, and no strikeouts.
Washington won Tuesday, which meant the Mets needed to keep pace. And they did. Jon Niese and the New York Mets seized the day with a series opening win at home. They are holding par on the road, so it’s in Citi Field where the Mets need to make moves in order to advance themselves. Granted, their forty-fourth win came against a depleted Philadelphia team. But then again, the Mets know a thing or two about playing through injuries…, don’t they (?).
This all boils down to what I always say – Seize the Day. The Mets needed to seize the day; and did. With Washington still within their sights, a win was needed to preserve that view. And on Wednesday morning, they still have clear sight lines on first place. This is what regular seasons are all about. Worry about October in October. It’s Summer time and this was just one win. But it’s a timely win. And Jon Niese needed to stand alone and deliver. In the series opener, he did.
If you think this was a drawn out way of making an insignificant point, consider this. Tuesday night, the Mets did what they haven’t quite mastered this season, thus making life just a little harder for themselves in the process. They took Game One against the Phillies. To date, the Mets have played twenty-seven series this season. They are now 13-14 in Game Ones. But after winning the first game in each of their first four series to start the season, they only have a 9-14 record.
Happy Birthday to our Independence! Have a safe Fourth of July everyone. And Let’s Go Mets!!