Sunday, May 25, 2014
Six things we learned from Sunday's games
By Kieran Darcy
NEW YORK -- The New York Mets and Arizona Diamondbacks played six hours and 21 minutes of baseball on Sunday at Citi Field, and it ended in a draw.
The Diamondbacks won the first game 2-1. The Mets won the second game 4-2. Both teams remain in last place in their respective divisions.
Still, we learned a few things about the Mets on this long day in Queens. Here are six items, after six hours and change of action on the field:
Montero belongs here: Rafael Montero is still looking for his first major league win, but he deserves the opportunity to keep trying after striking out 10 in Game 1.
He became just the fourth pitcher in franchise history to strike out 10 or more in one of his first three starts -- Matt Harvey was the last to do so, and we all know how good Harvey turned out to be.
"This was my best, and there is better to come," Montero said.
When Dillon Gee returns from the disabled list (and he may be out longer than expected now), the Mets will have to make a decision. Neither Montero (0-2, 4.96 ERA) nor Jacob deGrom (0-2, 2.77) have gotten a win yet, but the team's anemic offense has a lot to do with that. Why not keep 'em both in the rotation, and send Bartolo Colon (3-5, 5.34) to the bullpen? He's not a part of the long-term future, anyway. Just a thought.
Dice-K can still start: The Mets have converted Daisuke Matsuzaka into a reliever this season but turned to him in desperation on Sunday, and he delivered.
Needing a spot starter because of the doubleheader, the Mets gave the ball to Matsuzaka in Game 2 and he gave them six innings, allowing just two runs on three hits -- striking out six, walking just one, and throwing 98 pitches despite not being stretched out in preparation.
"It tells you the kind of heart he’s got," manager Terry Collins said. "He knows we needed help, he knows our bullpen’s a little thin after what we’ve gone through this week, and he gave us a tremendous outing."
The 33-year-old Matsuzaka has now done it all for the Mets this season -- started, set up and closed. And it's not even June.
Collins shot down the notion of Matsuzaka being added to the rotation after the game, but he's been effective out of the bullpen as well -- now 2-0 with a 2.33 ERA on the season. Matsuzaka estimated he needs three days of rest before he'll be able to pitch again.
"I wanted to go and pitch as deep into the game as I could," he said. "That was the least I could have done, and I’m glad I was able to help out the team."
Mejia can pitch twice in one day: The Mets used Jenrry Mejia for an inning in each game of the doubleheader. He took the loss in the first game, but the winning run was unearned, scoring on an error by Daniel Murphy. And Mejia bounced back to record his third save of the season in the nightcap.
Pitching coach Dan Warthen called down to the bullpen early in the second game, and Mejia said he felt up to pitching again.
"I think it says a lot -- that he's healthier, he's starting to realize that he can bounce back, that he can do more than he first thought," Collins said.
Collins sounded hesitant about using Mejia in Monday's day game against the Pirates, but Mejia said he thinks he will be up for it, and seems to be embracing the closer role.
"Right now I feel pretty good," Mejia said. "Let's see how I feel tomorrow. That's my first time, pitching twice. It's unbelievable."
Wright's really on: The Mets are one of the poorest offensive teams in baseball, but it's certainly not David Wright's fault.
Wright went 2-for-3 and reached base four times in the first game of the doubleheader, and went 1-for-4 in the finale, extending his hitting streak to nine games.
He is batting .444 (16-for-36) during the streak, and has 36 hits in May, second-most in the National League.
Wright also made an outstanding play in the field in the second game. With the Mets leading 3-2 in the top of the seventh, the Diamondbacks had the tying run on second base with one out. Ender Inciarte hit a low foul pop to the left of the third-base line, and Wright made a beautiful sliding grab near the Diamondbacks' dugout. Well done.
Duda, Young really aren't: The Mets are going nowhere if they keep getting this kind of production from the middle of their lineup.
A day after going 0-for-4 and stranding seven runners on base, Lucas Duda went 0-for-5 and stranded eight more Sunday -- starting Game 1, and pinch-hitting in Game 2 -- and is now batting .228 on the season.
Chris Young went 0-for-3 and stranded six runners in Game 1, did not play in Game 2, and is now batting .204 on the season.
"I think mechanically I'm right where I want to be," Duda said. "But I think pitch selection obviously -- chasing balls out of the zone, taking balls that are strikes, that's kind of vice versa of what you hope to do as a baseball player at the plate. That's how it goes -- you hit rough patches, and it is what it is, and I'll come out tomorrow and hopefully knock in a few runs."
Collins said Duda will start Monday but wouldn't commit to Young yet, mentioning the possibility of giving Bobby Abreu another chance. Abreu went 2-for-3 in Game 2 on Sunday, and also drew a walk as a pinch-hitter in Game 1.
The bases loaded is a bad thing: It is for the Mets, anyway. They are now 6-for-44 (.136) with the bases loaded this season, after going 0-for-2 on Sunday.
The Mets are hitless, with zero RBIs, in their last nine at-bats with the bases juiced.
You can't make this stuff up, folks. But tomorrow's a new day.