Sure, the Braves have already clinched a playoff berth and are trying to top the Nationals in the NL East, but I think Jon Niese wanted to win this one more than the Braves did.
For Niese, it meant ending the season on a high note, finishing with career highs in wins and innings pitched and a career low 3.40 ERA. Niese also struck out a career high 155 batters this season. After last night’s performance, Jon Niese can feel good about the way his season has gone.
For the Mets, it means ending their season on a high note. It means giving their fans something to talk about besides the annual second half collaspe. The Mets have nothing left to play for…except for ruining Chipper’s night.
Emotions were high last night; this weekend marks the beginning of Chipper Jones’ final homestand as an Atlanta Braves player. Yesterday, the Braves had a ceremony paying tribute to Jones’ career and what better opponent than the Mets? Over the course of his career, Jones is someone the Mets and their fans have loved to hate. Why not make one last dig and become the party crashers?
Earlier this month, the Mets paid tribute to Chipper in their own way, by presenting him with a painting of Shea Stadium, a place where he performed so well that he named his son Shea. Of course, fans attending that Sunday’s game were denied one last LARRRRRRRRYYYYYYYYY chant.
This weekend’s trip to Atlanta marks the last chance for the Mets to be spoilers; our final series against the Marlins is only a factor in that it’s not a factor. If the Mets can win two out of three or even sweep Atlanta, they certainly will have ruined the Braves’ divisional chances, after their elimination number fell to two.
Finishing in first has suddenly become more important than it was in the past, and the Mets intend to teach the Braves that lesson the hard way.
In a season that has disappointed Mets fans aplenty, the last couple of weeks of the season saw some September milestones that kept fans sitting on the edge of their seats, whether they were at home or at Citi Field.
R.A. Dickey became the first pitcher in 22 years to win 20 games for the Mets. As we all know, Frank Viola was the last to accomplish the feat in 1990. Dickey joins a list that includes Viola, Dwight Gooden, David Cone, Jerry Koosman, and some guy named Tom Seaver who accomplished the feat four times (not including 1977-he won 21 games combined for the Mets & Reds).
Dickey remains on the shortlist of Cy Young Award contenders, as he now leads the NL in strikeouts and innings pitched. He is second in the wins category as Gio Gonzalez got his 21st win against the Phillies. He is also second in ERA to Clayton Kershaw by 1/100th of a point.
Dickey’s 20 wins makes him responsible for almost 28% of all the Mets victories this season. If you include no-decisions, Dickey has been the starting pitcher in nearly a third of all the Mets’ victories this season. I think it’s amazing that Dickey has been able to earn as many victories as he has on a team that remains subpar. Seeing the pitching performances from Dickey, Matt Harvey, and even Jon Niese make me optimistic that starting pitching will continue to be a strength in 2013.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the fact that David Wright got is 1,419th career hit on Wednesday night. The little infield single that could puts him past Ed “The Original Met” Kranepool as the franchise leader in the hits category.
It seems like the only record left for David Wright to break is Darryl Strawberry’s home run record. Strawberry has 252 home runs, but perhaps the closer goal for Wright is passing Mike Piazza’s 220, which could happen by the middle of next year.
Wright would have to have a monster year in 2013, where he would break the franchise record for home runs in a season (41, by Todd Hundley and Carlos Beltran) to get himself in the Strawberry Stratosphere. Or the Strawberry Fields if you’re a fan of The Beatles.
I have to give these guys credit where credit is due. After going on the slide that they went on after the All Star break, they kept us watching. As a Mets fan, I looked forward to the days where Dickey pitched and enjoyed counting down until David Wright broke the Kranepool record. Even though they weren’t playing for anything, Wright and Dickey continue to soldier forward and be leaders in the clubhouse. Let’s bring these guys back long term, pretty please?
Yeah, it’s September. The elimination number on the Mets is nine. On October 3, Mets baseball will become dormant for the winter as the Wilpon family and Sandy Alderson try to re-sign David Wright and R.A. Dickey to long-term contracts. Or at least that’s what I hope they’ll do.
No, the Mets won’t be a .500 team this year, but that plan went moot after the Mets had horrendous homestand after horrendous homestand. They believe in homefield advantage about as much as they believe in comebacks (remember that slogan?). Sandy Alderson has recently expressed confidence in Terry Collins and his coaching staff as the season winds down, but the future of the coaching staff will be discussed in the next seven to ten days.
Most Met fans I talk to on Twitter have moved on to football season, either rooting for Big Blue or Gang Green, with a few Cowboys fans thrown into the mix. While I go for Gang Green myself, I remain a baseball purist, loyal until the last out. I still listen to Howie Rose and Josh Lewin on WFAN, thanks to advances in modern technology.
People wonder why I even still bother with the Mets. They have the worst bullpen in baseball and can’t win a game at Citi Field if it was handed to them on a silver platter. As Robin Ventura once said, “Mets fans are born, not made.”
My dad, brothers and I still have conversations about the Mets. Whenever I need to complain about them possibly shutting down Matt Harvey or about how Jason Bay can’t hit his way out of a paper bag, I call one of them. We even talk about the deals the Mets are (or aren’t) making in the offseason. We see eye to eye on most things, but if you bring up trading David Wright, I will shut you down.
The Mets bring my family together. Whether we are in Florida, New York, Hawaii, or Alaska, the Mets provide a common discussion piece amongst the DeMattia’s. It’s not over until it’s over for the DeMattia family. And then we start talking about 2013.
Being a Mets fan is a birth right I am grateful that my dad passed down onto me. I can’t let September get me down; it’s just like any other September in franchise history.
September is the worst time of year for any Mets fan. With yesterday’s loss to the Nationals, the Mets were officially eliminated from the divisional race. While they may still be mathematically alive in the Wild Card race, we all know that’s a longshot…and that’s putting it nicely.
The question I find myself asking every year is what happened? The Mets went from being 3.5 games behind the Nationals to holding their breaths and waiting to see what the Marlins do. I hit rock bottom yesterday when I rooted for the Phillies to beat the Marlins.
Was it the lack of offense? Sure, David Wright is sitting with a .313 average and Ike Davis has 26 home runs but neither of them have protection in the lineup. Any pitcher with a brain is going to pitch around Wright & Davis, hope that they swing at a few bad pitches, and then face Jason Bay to end the inning. The lack of a decent bat at any outfield position also disheartened me this season. Lucas Duda has potential, but he still needs to work on his mechanics this winter.
Was it the lack of a decent bat off the bench. Scott Hairston filled that role and went from being a bench player to a sometime starter after Bay and Mike Baxter were hurt. Give Mike Nickeas the bat and the inning’s over. There’s virtually nobody on that bench that can pinch run in a tight situation unless Andres Torres and Jordany Valdespin are sitting.
It’s very easy to point fingers at the bullpen, but only because they are statistically the worst bullpen in baseball. Even the Houston Astros have a better bullpen than we do, and they have the worst team in baseball. Of course, Bobby Parnell, Jon Rauch, and Frank Francisco can’t blow every lead that they are given. In fact, the bullpen has been kind of effective as of late. Bringing up top prospects such a Jennry Mejia anf Jeurys Familia seems to have helped lighten the workload for Parnell, Rauch, etc. But nobody in the bullpen had a defined role. No one went up to Parnell and said, “You’re the setup guy.” I think that hurt the team in the long run.
The one thing that went right this season was the starting pitching and I feel the records of Jon Niese, Matt Harvey, Chris Young, Dillon Gee and even R.A. Dickey should reflect better. Even though he doesn’t think of himself as one and would probably be too humble to admit it, but Dickey has been the stopper when we need to get a win. With Zach Wheeler possibly reaching the majors in the middle of 2013, pitching is the strength of this ballclub. Bravo, Dan Warthen, you get a cookie.
Unfortunately for Terry Collins, the perfect storm that is the New York Mets decided to come at him all at once. From the club’s 4-19 record post-All Star break to a horrendous bullpen to slumping All Stars, everything that could go wrong for Terry Collins did go wrong for Terry Collins. He didn’t have one or two problems on his plate, he had 25 problems. It’s enough to make anybody say oy vey.
It’s hard to say, but I hate waiting for next year. I know we have to develop a winning team and we can’t just buy one like other New York sports clubs that will remain unnamed. But like most fans, I want next year to be now, not 2017.