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Matz Squeezed, Mets Winning Streak Bursts

In my life, there are two offbeat holiday traditions I look forward to each and every year if the calendar permits.

The first is St. Paddy’s Day. To me, there is nothing better than the NCAA Tournament starting on a Thursday St. Paddy’s Day.

That morning begins with me making a soda bread, and if all goes according to plan, and by now it does, I’m in front of the TV as the first tip-off begins with a slice of soda bread fresh from the oven. I then wash that down with a beautiful Guiness.

The other tradition is Easter Sunday baseball.

Find the Easter baskets. Go to mass. Enjoy a lovely brunch. Turn on the Mets game.

My first memory doing this was 1987. I knew it was that year because the Easter Bunny stuffed my Easter basket with those beautiful wood bordered Topps cards.

I remember my uncles gathering around the TV to watch the Mets face off against the Cardinals. I still remember my Nana’s consternation over it. That consternation would ensue for decades.

Thirty-one years later, my ritual was renewed with the Mets again losing to the Cardinals.

Really, the Mets lost because Steven Matz wasn’t sharp, and Luke Weaver was.

Matz left the ball up, and that led to Paul DeJong and Yadier Molina capitalizing by each hitting solo homers off Matz.

Those homers accounted for two of the three Cardinals homers of the day and for two of the three runs Matz allowed in his four innings pitched. Being optimistic, this was a stepping stone for Matz.

Sure, you could point to how he needed 89 pitches to get through four. He walked three and struck out just four. The Cardinals scores in three straight innings off of him. However, lost in that was just how bad CB Bucknor was behind the plate, and how much he squeezed Matz.

The converse was Weaver had the same strike zone, but he didn’t struggle the same way. To be fair, he dealt with a more platoon friendly lineup.

Brandon Nimmo was sick leading to Juan Lagares getting the start. Surprisingly, Lagares had a great day at the plate going 3-4.

With everyone sputtering around him, there’s no surprise he was left stranded all three times.

One of the bigger offenders was Wilmer Flores. Even with the right-handed starter, Flores got the start over Adrian Gonzalez.

Flores would go 0-4 with two strikeouts. He also failed to cash in in a key opportunity. In the first, the Mets didn’t get the early led with Flores striking out with runners on first and second with two out.

After that, DeJong hit a solo shot in the top of the second, and the Cardinals never looked back in their 5-1 win.

Big picture, the Mets have nothing to worry about here. It was just one loss in a series they not only played well, but they took two of three. If the Mets play this way, and they’re doing places this year.

And as an aside, it was fun to share one of my favorite traditions with my two boys.

Game Notes: Both Paul Sewald and Jacob Rhame made their 2018 debuts, and they both surrendered a run.

2 thoughts on “Matz Squeezed, Mets Winning Streak Bursts”

  1. Callaway’s Commanders says:

    Are Callaway and Eiland pitching relievers for multiple innings with a specific purpose?

    Terry Collins occasionally pushed at times for smaller ball, situational hitting.
    Do the Met hitters play more like individuals on Sundays?

    Usually Terry let the Vets do their thing and Terry would build up fustratuin at times and read the riots act, like summer of 2016.

    This June Sunday by accident?

    https://www.amazinavenue.com/2017/6/18/15827076/mets-nationals-degrom-new-york-washington

    How important is hitting with a team approach and does that mean small ball?
    Or is it always a team approach that sometimes looks like individuals?

    How was Thurs, Sat and Sunday different?
    Was it 3-2 just Sunday count balls that were called strikes?

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Unless I’m recalling incorrectly, I believe managers typically push their relievers multiple innings when the season begins. The one memory which sticks out at me right now is Willie Randolph pushing Aaron Heilman two innings in the 2006 Opening Day.

      In terms of Callaway/Eiland, I think this might actually be part of the plan. I believe they’d rather the relievers be stretched out a bit more and pitch a little deeper into games. In the end, they may make fewer appearances, but they could ultimately pitch more innings. Mind you, this is just a guess.

      As for your small ball point, small ball is a team hitting philosophy, and it’s one that has largely been abandoned by baseball as it has proven to be inefficient. Teams are no longer looking to sacrifice bunt with anyone other than the pitcher, and I really cannot recall the last time I saw a manager order a hit and run.

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