The blue and gray Mets!
WHAT HAPPENED, THE NORI AOKI GAME:
Normally I lead my recaps off with pitching, but yesterday was different. It deserves a shakeup, all thanks to the one of the one they call Norichika Aoki. Leading off for the Mets on Sunday, Aoki reached base four times (two singles, a triple, and a walk). The journeyman outfielder scored once and was the only Met to record multiple hits. Aoki didn’t factor much into the score, thanks to three plate appearances where he came up with two outs, but his afternoon shouldn’t go unnoticed.
In terms of how this game was won at the plate, the Mets held on to a 2-1 lead up until the ninth inning. They had scratched a pair across off Julio Teheran in the first inning, which looked to be more than enough for Robert Gsellman. Nevertheless, a Phil Evans’ RBI double preceded an Asdrubal Cabrera pinch-hit dinger, and suddenly the Mets found themselves with a commanding 5-1 heading into the bottom half. For Cabrera, it just adds to what has already been a ridiculous September. He is now 22 for 56 this month with three homers and eight doubles. That is certifiably Very Good.
WHAT HAPPENED, GSELLMAN GETS GROUNDERS:
Robert Gsellman was the best version of Robert Gsellman on Sunday. After allowing just three hits in his first four frames, he retired eight consecutive batters. The streak ended following an Amed Rosario fielding error, which repeated itself on the very next play and stuck runners at the corners with just one away in the seventh inning. Though a groundout by Jace Peterson brought a run home, Gsellman was able to keep the lead. A Kurt Suzuki pop-out to Dom Smith just in front of the firstbase dugout would end the inning, as well as Gsellman’s afternoon.
Though he only struck out three batters, Gsellman walked none and was able to keep the ball on the ground. We know, of course, that Gsellman is a groundball pitcher. However, he really excels at this against Atlanta. Out of the 64 Braves batters Gsellman had faced coming into Sunday, 35 put the ball on the ground. Knowing that, it should be no surprise that his 13 grounders-induced on Sunday matched a season-high set against, you guessed it, the Atlanta Braves (April 26). All-in-all, maybe this shouldn’t be surprising. The Braves own one of the highest groundball rates in the National League, the philosophical hitting-antithesis of our beloved dinger-smashing Mets.
WHAT HAPPENED, YESTERDAY:
On one fine afternoon, Robert Gsellman looked great again. Had it not been for a couple of errors, he would have blanked the Atlanta Braves. It hasn’t been his best season, but hopefully he can build on starts like this during the last two weeks of a campaign he surely must be ready to put behind him.
WHAT HAPPENS, TODAY:
The Mets head to South Beach to wrap up their penultimate road trip. Matt Harvey is slated to take the mound against Dan Straily, and with two weeks left the biggest storyline might be what the Mets will do with Noah Syndergaard. In a season that has been over for months and contains nothing left to play for but some semblance of pride and a distant optimism for a healthy 2018 roster that can compete in the NL East, which is fostered by trying to help players avoid extended (and potentially lingering) trips to the disabled list with two weeks left in the season, it’s a real tough decision.
Photo credit: Dale Zanine – USA Today Sports