Montero Figured Out At Least One Thing . . . The Giants
The Mets have given Rafael Montero enough chances that he was bound to finally figure it out. Still, it seemed like he never was. Each and every year, Montero was getting worse . . . not better. He stuck around while useful and promising pitchers like Gabriel Ynoa were sent away for a mere pittance. Finally, in his ninth major league call-up, Montero seems to have figured it out.
Montero only got this last chance due to injuries. Unlike the other eight times Montero got a chance, Montero finally took advantage.
With the Mets needing some innings out of the bullpen, Terry Collins twice turned to Montero. In those two appearances, Montero pitched 6.2 innings allowing just one earned on three hits. He only walked two while striking out eight. If nothing else, he helped save the bullpen in those games. More than that, he finally earned a start, which he got on Sunday.
On Sunday, Montero looked like the guy the Mets have been waiting for all these years. He was throwing strikes and attacking the zone. He was mixing up his pitches and using his change-up as a weapon and not as a panic pitch because he didn’t trust his other stuff to get outs.
Things were going smooth for Montero until the third inning. After allowing a pair of one out singles, he walked Hunter Pence to load the bases with Buster Posey heading to the plate. In the past, this is the exact point where Montero would fall apart. He didn’t. Montero bore down, and he got Posey to hit a sacrifice fly. He then battled Brandon Belt when the Giants bailed him out. Pence tried to steal a base, and Rene Rivera gunned him down to get out of the inning.
That wasn’t the only way Rivera helped his pitcher. Rivera went 2-5 with two homers and three RBI. Overall, he helped his pitcher behind the plate and at the plate.
But it was Montero who was great. In 5.2 innings pitched, Montero allowed just one run on five hits while walking just two and striking out seven. You could argue this was just the Giants terrible offense, but it should be remembered his last two appearances were against the Nationals and Dodgers, who are two of the best offenses in baseball.
Montero would get the win because of his terrific pitching and because the Mets offense continued to roll.
Again, it was Curtis Granderson who got things started drawing a lead-off walk against Matt Moore. He’d eventually come around to score on a Jay Bruce RBI groundout. Bruce’s next RBI came in the eighth when he hit a two run homer to put the game away. The homer was Bruce’s 20th home run of the season. At his current pace, Bruce will have his first 40 HR season and just his second 100 RBI season.
Throw in a Lucas Duda fifth inning RBI double and a Granderson ninth inning solo shot, and you have a Mets 8-2 victory. More than that, the Mets have swept just their second sweep of an opponent this season. If only the Mets had played like this earlier in the season. We could have been talking about the Mets being about to go on a push to make the postseason. Instead, it is probably too little too late.