With the third-lowest scoring offense in the majors, the Mets’ five-run performance on Thursday night in Milwaukee seemed much more explosive than its 1.29 runs above their season average would suggest. Coupled with an outing by Bartolo Colon that can be best described as Bartolian in both stat line and surprisingly agile playmaking, the team appears to be firing on at least more cylinders than the past four games, with slump-busting narratives abound.
The game began with a bang when Curtis Granderson hit his fifth leadoff homer of the season off Brewers pitcher Jimmy Nelson, tying Jose Reyes with 16 career leadoff homers for the most in franchise history. When you’re trotting out your number one starter who’s armed with a 4.71 DRA, opposing bats should look to capitalize.
And capitalize they did – during the game, one positive streak was extended while three negative ones hopefully came to a close. For the positive, Wilmer Flores kept up his hot road streak, notching three hits to have reached base safely 13 times on 24 plate appearances during the Mets’ current road trip. Granderson added a double to his home run to shake off a 3-for-25 stretch, while Yoenis Cespedes twice beat the shift for singles to right field to combat a 6-for-40 mark entering the game, and Asdrubal Cabrera had a single and a double with a walk to shed a 4-for-32 streak. The shift was ineffective against the Mets tonight as they racked up 13 hits over the course of the game. Despite only converting them to five runs, the game never felt out of Mets control.
Much of this comes courtesy of a standard Colon line of seven innings, eight hits, one earned run, two strikeouts and no walks. Insanely enough, Colon was in position to have more walks himself than he allowed, as he worked a full count after earlier in the game having not bothered to swing at any pitches in a four-pitch strikeout. The Brewers had 10 hits yet only scored twice thanks to stellar defense by the Mets field. Colon himself twisted in the air to start two 1-6-3 double-plays while James Loney had a nice jumping catch in the bottom of the second. Milwaukee’s Scooter Gennett was their offense’s brightest spot, notching four hits, but ultimately cost the team a chance to extend the third inning when Colon picked him off at first.
One play in the eighth inning shone the Mets offense in the brightest and dimmest lights of the night. For the former, three consecutive Mets got on base to load them for Kevin Plawecki, who hit a two-run single to the left of second base. For the latter, as Loney and Cabrera were scoring, Flores assumed that the throw home would miss the obvious cutoff man and he ran towards third, getting TOOTBLANed in the process. When the Brewers responded with an RBI double by Gennett in the bottom of the eighth, Plawecki’s runs proved vital while Flores’ baserunning error could’ve been seen entirely differently had the Mets relievers not kept the lead.
Speaking of Mets relievers, Jeurys Familia had a fantastic outing for his 20th save of the season. He threw 11 pitches, nine of them for strikes, and struck out the first two batters before inducing a weak grounder by Kirk Nieuwenhuis to end the game with a whimper.
His strikezone plot is a thing of beauty.
Today, the Mets once again take on the Brewers at 8:10, and they look to continue the positive offensive signs shown today while keeping their pitching as one of the league’s elite.
Photo credit: Charles LeClaire – USA Today Sports