Fan Rituals 

Last Friday, I dressed my son in a Mets shirt as part of #MetsFriday. I wore my Gary Carter t-shirt under my work shirt. For lunch, I had a sesame chicken lunch combination plate. The Mets won

I didn’t do any of that on Saturday. Mets lost. On Monday, I wore the Carter shirt under my work shirt. I put my son in his Mets shirt. Without thinking about it, I again ordered sesame chicken for lunch. The Mets won again. On Tuesday, my son didn’t wear his Mets shirt, and I didn’t have sesame chicken. The Mets lost again. 

It’s funny. I should know that what I wear and what my son wears has no impact on the game. I should know my lunch choices have no impact on the game. And yet, I do it anyway. I remember in 2006, I brought a chicken salad sandwich with me every game I attended. A co-worker surprisingly had an extra ticket to Game 7. I didn’t have a chance to go home and make my chicken salad sandwich. 

When Carlos Beltran struck out, it was in the back of my mind that I didn’t have my chicken salad sandwich. It was a mistake I didn’t make on the final game of the 2007 season. I enjoyed my chicken salad sandwich. However, the Mets lost anyway. I’m nine years older now. I can see that’s there is proof my dietary choices have no impact on a game. I didn’t want Chinese food for lunch. I wasn’t that hungry. 

Naturally, I had sesame chicken for lunch while wearing my Carter t-shirt under my work shirt. My son is wearing his Mets shirt today. You’re all welcome. Now . . . 

LETS GO METS!

Disregard History Tonight

I remember thinking to myself we got this. There’s no way the Rangers lose this game. We have Henrik Lundqvist. The Rangers have never lost a Game 7 in MSG. The Rangers were going to get another chance at the Stanley Cup. 

Nope, they lost to the Lightning. The season was over. Just like that. All the numbers I’ve seen and heard meant nothing. NOTHING!  The reason?  The 1994 Rangers had nothing to do with the 2014 Rangers. These games are decided by the players that are on the field. 

So, tonight you may hear the Dodgers have not lost a winner take all games since they’ve moved to Los Angeles. You’ll hear that the Mets are 0-2 in road winner take all games. It doesn’t matter. The Dodgers don’t have Sandy Koufax pitching. Orel Hershiser is only throwing out the first pitch. These Dodgers don’t have a hitter in the league of Reggie Jackson

Tonight is about Jacob deGrom. It’s about David Wright and Yoenis Cespedes. It’s about Terry Collins. It’s about the 25 men in the Mets dugout. It’s about the 24 men and one coward in the Dodgers dugout. So ignore whatever stat you’re going to hear tonight. They don’t matter. The only thing that matters is tonight. 

Lets Go Mets!

Why I’m Confident Tonight

Since the end of Game 4, I’ve been talking to other Mets fans. The general consensus seems to be the fans are nervous, but they think the Mets can win this game. I’m oddly confident.

I think it’s because Jacob deGrom is pitching. I think it’s because Bartolo Colon has pitched well out of the bullpen. I think it’s because the Mets have Jeurys Familia in the bullpen, and Terry Collins isn’t afraid to deploy him for more than three outs. I think it’s because the Mets best hitters have hit well against Zack Greinke

Overall, it’s because the Mets are just a better team. They’ve scored more runs in this series. They’re young pitching has been just as good as the Dodgers pitching, if not better. Finally, the Dodgers just aren’t hitting:

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That’s the Dodgers boxscore from Game 4 (from Baseball Reference). If you look over the list, they’re top four hitters are the only ones getting any hits. The first, Kike Hernandez, didn’t play in Game One, and he’s hitting .234/.262/.311 against righties this year.  Howie Kendrick may have gone 1-3 against deGrom in Game One, but that means he’s now 1-6 lifetime off of him.  Adrian Gonzalez went 0-3 against deGrom in Game 1. Justin Turner has gone 2-8 lifetime (including Game One) against deGrom, and he’s dealing with a knee injury, which forced him out of Game Four. 

If there are only four Dodgers hitting, and two of them may not be in the lineup, I’m going to feel confident. If I have deGrom tonight, I’m going to feel confident. After seeing everything we’ve seen this year, and the Mets having fought through it, I’m going to feel confident. 

First pitch can’t get here soon enough. 

Lets Go Mets!

Who’s Getting the Big Hit?

In order for the Mets to win tonight, Jacob deGrom needs to be great, and he will be. However, at some point, the Mets will need to get a big hit. Anyone is possible. Here’s why everyone on this roster is capable of it:

Yoenis Cespedes because he’s already homered off of Zack Greinke in this series

Michael Conforto because like Cespedes he has too. 

David Wright because he already has a big hit in this series. 

Curtis Granderson because he’s been the best Mets hitter in this series

Wilmer Flores because it’s an emotional game, and he’s at his best when he’s emotional 

Lucas Duda because he’s due, he’s hit Greinke, and because he knows how to clinch things

Daniel Murphy because he’s clutch, and he knows how to give deGrom run support in this series 

Travis d’Arnaud because he’s had one big game in this series and is due for another

Kirk Nieuwenhuis because he already has a huge pinch hit homerun in a big spot this year

Juan Lagares because he’s more than a glove, and he’s already hit a homerun in Dodger Stadium

Michael Cuddyer because he still has something up his sleeve

Kelly Johnson because we knew the Mets were onto bigger and better things when he homered in his first game as a Met (against the Dodgers)

Kevin Plawecki and/or Matt Reynolds because you never know who’s going to get the big hit

It’ll happen tonight. If you need more inspiration to believe it’s true just remember what happened 19 years ago today:

LETS GO METS!

Time to Slay Some Demons

Of course the Dodgers are having Orel Hershiser throw out the first pitch tonight. Hershiser was the main reason for the first time I was ever scarred by sports. The presence of Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley make it even worse

As a sports fan, I carry a lot of pain from these three men. As a child, I was crushed by 1988. As an adult, I was left flabbergasted by 2007 and 2008. It meant that I couldn’t take my father to a World Series game. Once again, the Dodgers, Rollins, and that coward Utley stand in the way. 

I’m not sure Mets fans can take another loss here, not psychologically. All the euphoria that ensued after the Yoenis Cespedes trade would be gone. The anger would return. The same anger we saw prior to the trade deadline. Initially, it would be directed at Utley. Then Terry Collins. From there, who knows?  

That’s why this is the biggest game the Mets have played in nine years. It’s not so much advancing to the NLCS as it is who they’re playing. Under different circumstsnces, winning the NL East might’ve been enough. Not now. The Mets have to win tonight. They have to stay those demons. 

I have to take my Dad to a World Series game. 

Jake Will Be Great

Sure I could’ve gone with deGrominant or some other meme. They’re childish (in a good way) and fun. However, this is a serious time. It’s a time for men. 

This is Jacob deGrom‘s time. He was supposed to be a reliever, but he forced his way into the starting rotation. He became the Rookie of the Year. He became an All Star. He was THE STORY of the All Star Game. He earned the right to be the Game One starter. He was deGrominant in that game (sorry, I couldn’t help myself). 

You know what else?  He’s been a stopper this year:

He has given the Mets a chance to win whenever they needed it most. That’s tonight. If all of this doesn’t show you he has an advantage tonight, there’s this:

There is every reason to believe he will be great tonight. There are legitimate reasons to believe deGrom will be better than Zack Greinke. Seriously, you have to invent reasons why deGrom and the Mets won’t be great tonight. 

The Mets have a huge game tonight. I’m confident they can win tonight because they have deGrom on the mound, and he will be great.

Lets Go Mets!

Jake and the Fatman

This postseason the Mets have had two breakout pitching stars: Jacob deGrom and Bartolo Colon

deGrom came out in Game 1, and had a historic night. Anytime you’re in the conversation with Tom Seaver, you know you’re in rarified air. He has proven that the Mets made the right decision in making him the Game 1 starter. If the pitched anything like Game 1 of the All Star team, the Mets will be in great shape. 

If the Mets need to go to the bullpen, they can go to the suddenly reliable Colon. In this NLDS , Colon has pitched in three games going four innings allowing not much more than a homerun to Adrian Gonzalez. He’s struck out five, and he has a 0.750 WHIP. He’s become the Mets best and most reliable reliever not named Jeurys Familia

Tonight, in this do or die Game 5, all hands are on deck. Hopefully, the Mets won’t need anyone else besides Jake and the Fatman before handing the ball to Familia for the save. If the Mets follow this formal they will earn a trip to the NLCS. 

Disco Terry

In case you missed it yesterday, Terry Collins referred to Game 5 against the Dodgers as gravy. Many Mets fans went nuts as if Terry meant this as he’s okay with losing. To put it in perspective, here’s the full quote:

I look at it this way. Obviously, you want to get to the postseason. Anytime you’re down to win or lose its a tough situation. There’s a lot of pressure on both teams. I’ll tell you, I’m so proud of the way our guys made it through the season. This to me is gravy. We’re going to go out and play hard, real hard but they can’t take away what these guys accomplished all year long. You can’t take that away from them, no matter if we lose tomorrow night or come out on top. We’re very, very happy with what we’ve accomplished. We’ll be prepared tomorrow. 

[emphasis mine]

How quickly we forget how torturous that first half was. Collins had to trot out lineups with John Mayberry, Jr.  They were hovering around .500. When you consider the Mets came from that point to this, of course you think it’s all gravy. 

Does that mean Collins’ won’t be devastated if the Mets lose?  Of course not. He had no contract for next year. He’s 66 years old. This may be it for him, and he knows it. Its taken him his entire career to get to this point. Don’t read too much into his statement. 

He’s going to do everything he thinks he can do to help this team win. This statement might be part of it. He’s had the pulse of this team all year. As the Mets manager, Collins went up there, told his team he’s proud of them, and took as much pressure off of them as possible. Arguably, this was a good job by him. 

Overall, no one is going to tell me he doesn’t want this. He wants it desperately. He’s going to manage that way tonight. That’s all you want as a fan. 

If Mets Lose it Won’t Be because of Utley

We all know that the coward‘s “slide” had a profound impact upon Game 2. If the play is called properlyChase Utley is ruled out, and it’s and inning ending double play. The Mets lead 2-1 going into the eighth. We don’t know what happens from there. 

We do know that the game was tied at 2-2. I believe the Ruben Tejada injury weighed on the team that night. It’s hard to do your job when someone you care about is sick or injured. Athletes are no different. It may explain the strange decisions Terry Collins would subsequently make. 

Even if I concede the Mets lost Game 2 because of the play, it does not mean the Mets lose two more games. Tejada was playing well, but he’s not the most important piece. He’s not the reason David Wright and Lucas Duda have failed to hit. It’s not the reason why Clayton Kershaw was so dominant yesterday. 

Unless Game 5 comes down to a Ruben Tejada defensive miscue or Matt Reynolds having to do anything, you can’t point to Tejada’s injury. No, Game 5 is going to come down to whoever the best team is tomorrow. It won’t have anything to do with Utley’s play in Game 2. In fact, since he won’t come off the bench, he may not be a factor at all. 

I think the Mets are the better team, and I think they win tomorrow. 

There’s Reason to Hope

The Mets have to play a do or die Game 5 at Dodger Stadium against Zack Greinke. It’s a seemingly daunting task, but the Mets are more than capable of winning this game and going home to Citi Field for the NLCS. 

First, the Mets had Greinke beat at Dodger Stadium. We don’t need to go back there, but the Mets had a 2-1 lead in the seventh inning before all mayhem broke lose followed by some curious managerial decisions by Terry Collins. If none of this happened, it would’ve been the second time the Mets beat him. 

Second, the Mets have Jacob deGrom. He’s coming off a deGrominant Game 1 performance. The Dodgers hitters couldn’t touch him. They couldn’t hit him before the playoffs. There’s no reason to believe they’ll hit him now. 

Third, for some reason, home teams are ponderously bad in Game 5’s at home:

I’m not sure why this is the case, but I’ll take it. Sure, you could argue that the Dodgers won’t be susceptible to the same fate because they have Greinke, but history shows that may not be the case:

Anyone can lose a Game 5. Funny things can happen in a do or due game. The Mets have the better overall team. They have more weapons on offense. They just need deGrom to be deGrom. 

There’s legitimate hope the Mets can win Game 5. I think they’re going to do it.