I think we can all agree it’s great that baseball is back. Baseball is wonderful, usually. But last night was one of those times when baseball is not wonderful. Was it really necessary for us to experience the laborious, low-scoring extra inning game that features pitchers like Josh Edgin and Rafael Montero so soon? Can’t we at least have a little bit more tolerable and fun baseball first before we get this thrown at us?
Anyway, last night’s game was tied 1-1 from the seventh inning on, and after Terry Collins had exhausted almost all of his other relief options, he turned to Rafael Montero in the 11th inning. Montero pitched a successful 11th, but he looked more like the Montero we saw last year in the 12th.
Montero got two outs in that 12th inning, but had given up a single and a walk, and issued a no-pitch intentional walk to Freddie Freeman to load the bases for Matt Kemp. Kemp turned on an inside fastball and ripped it past Jose Reyes at third for a two-RBI double to put the Braves out in front to stay.
The Mets offense mustered just five hits all night, with their lone run coming on a Jay Bruce solo homer in the fifth inning. Bruce also contributed three of the team’s five hits. In related news, Michael Conforto has retired from baseball to take up equestrianism.
The Mets only had one chance with a runner in scoring position all night, when they had two men on with only one out in the bottom of the 10th inning. But Travis d’Arnaud and Ty Kelly both struck out to end the frame. They went down without much of a whimper in both the 11th and 12th innings.
Earlier in the game, Jacob deGrom pitched a masterful six innings, allowing no runs on two hits and one walk. He struck out six. Hansel Robles pitched into trouble in the seventh and allowed a run to score, but Jerry Blevins said “hello” and came on to put out the fire, stranding the bases loaded. The Mets’ bullpen did not allow another run until that 12th inning.
Of course, last night also marked the return one of the most integral players of the Mets’ recent run of success. He was a total fan-favorite in his three years in New York. He was the source of numerous gifs and memes for almost his entire stay here. Even when he made us frustrated, he still made us smile by being one of the most all-around beautiful people in the world.
I’m talking of course of the return of Anthony Recker. His triumphant return to Flushing in this series has oddly gone without much fanfare, but there is no denying that, even though he was basically a guaranteed 0-for-4 every game, striking out has never looked so handsome.
Okay, in all seriousness, Bartolo Colon came back home last night. He’s the man who hit a home run and ascended us all into temporary heaven where all of the world’s problems were gone and all of our worries were alleviated. He’s the man who flipped the ball behind his back and reminded that the world could still be beautiful. He’s the man who slipped in a hallway and fell on his face, only to get right back up and remind us that he is truly indestructible. Probably.
And, personally, because of Colon I made this, and was quasi-baseball internet famous for a few days.
Growing an attachment to athletes we only see on our TV is objectively something none of us should do. Players are flawed humans, but we idolize them based entirely on the way they play baseball. And their name will immediately incite a certain reaction from us based entirely on how they play this dumb game, because that’s all we ever see them doing.
This should not happen, but it does. And it happens because it is embedded in human nature. We felt a connection to Colon for years because he entertained us; he made us laugh and smile even on our worst days. That’s why we grow connections to players, because they make us feel. And some days, they’re the only people who know how to make us feel good.
But last night, Colon became the enemy. They showed a video tribute for Colon and he received a standing ovation, because we all still love that guy; we still have that attatchment to him. But once the game started, we didn’t cheer for him anymore. We were forced to root against someone we all still want to see succeed and who will still undoubtedly put a smile on our faces again this year, even as we watch from a far. It was a weird feeling, for sure.
And we watched as he pitched 6 solid innings against the team whose colors he used to don. He gave up one run on two hits, striking out six and walking one. His only blemish was Bruce’s solo home run. He went 0-for-2 at the plate, inlcuding a groundout where he adorably carried his bat to first base as only he can.
Long live Bartolo.
OTHER NEWS OF THE DAY:
The Mets signed outfielder Desmond Jennings to a minor-league deal. He will be assigned to Triple-A Las Vegas and will likely serve as the center fielder there, although it’s not unlikely to see him in the big leagues at some point this season. The former top Rays prospect was worth more than 3 fWAR in both 2013 and 2014, but leg injuries have limited him to only 93 games since then, and may have taken a hit on his play as well. He was cut from the Reds roster just a few days ago. Overall, it’s a solid low-risk depth signing for the Mets that still has a small chance to reward them with a solid MLB contributor.
Juan Lagares will play in rehab games beginning Monday, according to Sandy Alderson. The Mets are looking at next week for a potential return for the defensive wizard.
From Tuesday: Seth Lugo has a slightly torn UCL, but will avoid surgery for now. He received a PRP injection and will miss at least a couple weeks, said Terry Collins. But given the nature of the injury—and the Mets’ history with these things—Lugo is very likely to miss more time than that.
The Mets look to take the rubber game of the series from the Braves, as Matt Harvey makes his season debut against fellow Thoracic Outlet Syndrome victim Jaime Garcia at 7:10 p.m. The Mets have only won one of their last four series with the Braves dating back to last year.
Photo credit: Brad Penner – USA Today Sports