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September 23, 2016

What You Need to Know

All Mets'd Up

by Nicolas Stellini

The Thursday Takeaway
For selfish reasons, I am happy that the Mets won last night. I am not a Mets fan, at least not consciously, although I do follow them somewhat closely due to having many friends in the writer community who can often be found wearing blue and orange hats.

Their win made many happy because it may have very well saved their season. The Mets had just been swept by the Braves at home, and failed to gain ground in an NL Wild Card race that seemingly nobody wants to win. New York entered this final stretch of baseball with the easiest remaining schedule in the game, and have thus far failed to pull away. The win last night was possibly the beginning of that process, a bright shining star in a pitch-black night brought on by the specter of Ender Inciarte robbing a Yoenis Cespedes home run for the final out of Wednesday’s game.

The win made me happy because it continued a tradition of the Mets being the most fascinating team in all of baseball, and the team that is most interesting to write about. The Mets routinely experience the ups and downs of a bad soap opera in a single game, and over the course of a season, live out a narrative that could only be conceived by an ancient Greek playwright. They are comically inept and stupendously heroic, titanically thrilling, and devastating in every sense of the word. The Mets won, and somehow, they shall keep marching on.

That is the face and expression of elation, of finding your bed after a long and torturous day at work. Asdrubal Cabrera ended a game that saw the Mets have more than a few heroic offensive feats, and be rebuked time and time again. Despite all their valiant efforts on offense, New York simply couldn’t stop giving away the game. Cabrera’s celebration was one of righteous relief.

The Mets do not have to play like champions to punch their ticket. They simply have to be more competent than the Giants and Cardinals. The path is set before them, littered with weak teams. They need only to capitalize as best they can with their patchwork rotation and half-baked offense.

Something tells me that however their season turns out, it will be something to behold.

Quick Hits from Thursday
The Rockies haven’t been known for their bullpen quality for something like a century, and Thursday brought us another reminder of that. Colorado can absolutely hit the ball, and on days when Jon Gray is pitching, they’re not too far off from being a good team.


Just, not so much with the whole “Boone Logan facing Yasmani Grandal with the bases loaded” thing, perhaps? That could be detrimental to winning.

***

Sometimes, the most basic things can seem like high art.

A Giants reliever entered the game on Thursday with a one-run lead in the ninth inning, and the Giants won.

The San Francisco bullpen has been as ineffective as any in the game, but the reinstallation of Sergio Romo in the closer’s role may be part of the much-sought-after answer. Until that’s proven, however, I think we can safely say we’ll still be finding the nearest television whenever the Giants have a save situation on their hands. Everyone loves to watch fireworks.

***

The Twins are going to lose 100 games, and it’s the least surprising thing ever, They can’t pitch, and they can’t hit unless Brian Dozier is at the plate. It’s hardly shocking that they haven’t won a game with Tigers at Target Field in more than a year.

Fueled by a love of beating up on Minnesota’s horrendous pitching staff, the Tigers now find themselves in possession of the second Wild Card spot after winning both ends of a double-header in Minnesota. Given the way that Justin Verlander is pitching these days, that may be just enough for Detroit to go on a run to the World Series.

Defensive Play of the Day

Chase Utley is about a hundred years old, but he can still flip it with the best of the,. How this actually worked is anyone’s guess.

What to Watch on Friday

Shelby Miller. Yovani Gallardo. Camden Yards. You like dingers? We got dingers.

If you’re more into pitching, check out Danny Duffy and Michael Fulmer locking horns in Detroit. Fulmer will need a good outing to re-cement his Rookie of the Year candidacy over Gary Sanchez, who is liable to hit his 20th home run at any given moment. Exciting times we live in.

For your midwest game, James Paxton will try to use his newfound stuff to mow down as many Twins as possible. If Brian Dozier hits a home run, the Twins will have scored at least one run. They’ll need to score 5, since a struggling Kyle Gibson is going for the Twins.

Nicolas Stellini is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Nicolas's other articles. You can contact Nicolas by clicking here

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