I was at the game Thursday night and watched Jake trying to grind through 5 innings with a subpar fastball, a lack of seeming energy, and bad luck in the field, only to find out he was being shut down for a while with forearm soreness.
Then against the always tough Nats, Thor pitched well, but failed to hold runners, and the Mets failed to score enough, and 2 straight losses, and two unheralded rookies to head to the mound on Saturday and Sunday. Tough order to fill for Rob Gsellman and Seth Lugo. Fail and the playoff picture could turn bleak.
But both excelled, and it sure seems both are capable starters, each- gleeful to be over Acute Vegasosis, a malady that gives pitchers the runs.
Then Cool Hand Bart strolled to the mound on Monday. As with any 43 year old age, you knew you could relax with the cool and casual surgeon-warrior on the mound. Three straight wins, a lot of losses by Wild Card wannabe opponents, and the Mets are sitting pretty with another heralded pitcher, Rafael Montero, climbing the hill tonight.
And Matt Reynolds, one of the lesser-performing Vegas bats in 2016 but hot of late, has a 3 hit day, including another opposite field homer for a supposedly low power fella. And Wilmer Flores raps out 3 hits, raising him to .295 with 14 HR and 45 RBI in 227 at bats since the start of June. OK, he displayed the speed of the likes of Eddie Kranepool and Rusty Stain on the basepaths, but they won and he learned, all right?
Tug McGraw visited the clubhouse after the game, some swore, and patted everyone on the back and told them Ya Gotta Believe. I think I do now.
Meanwhile, in the minors, we got ourselves some batting titles.
In AAA, TJ Rivera surged over the weekend (9 for 16 the last 3 games) to edge Brandon Nimmo out by a point, with both hitting over .350. Congrats to both. Gavin Cecchini (.325) finished a strong 3rd.
In AA, Phil Evans went 4 for 6 in Binghamton's finale to win the Eastern League title with a .335 average, just miniscule fractions of a point ahead of the second place finisher. I will bet you could have gotten huge odds betting on Phil snatching the AA title pre-season, since he wasn't even on the team at the start of the season. Two other .300 hitters in Amed Rosario (.341 in 214 at bats after his promo to AA, .324 overall) and Dom Smith (.302, 14, 91).
In the Florida State League, a 4 hit finale surged Tomas Nido to .320 and a far more comfortable margin for his batting title....and he can really throw out base stealers too.
No more Mets minors titles, folks - but:
Pat Mazelka surged to hit .350 over his last 100 at bats and finished at .305, and if not for two extended injuries, I'd have not been surprised to see the .329 career hitter win the So. Atlantic title.
Pete Alonso missed the last month with a broken finger, but was hitting .321, just 11 points less than the title winner in the NY Penn league, so who knows if he had stayed healthy. Also over .300 was Desmond Lindsay (.303/.433/.451 in 37 games in an injury- shortened season).
And Ricardo Cespedes surged late to finish 5th for Kingsport in the Appalachian League at .322.
Mets Magic, batting titles, and .300 hitters, a good way to start a short work week.