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Niese and Boring

“My goal each time I go out there is to put up a quality start, to give the team a chance to win. When I walk off the mound and our team has a chance to win, that’s satisfaction for me.”
September 28 [1]

Jon Niese is so uninteresting an interview that he thinks introspection is something that goes next to the carburetor in his truck.

“I just go out there and try and execute my pitches and keep the team in the game to give the team the best chance to win.”
September 21 [2]

When it comes to being reflective, Jon Niese is like a bathroom mirror after a hot shower.

“It makes a pitcher feel a lot more comfortable on the mound when you’ve got the lead.”
September 14 [3]

When construction crews want to bore a hole, they ask Jon Niese to break down his latest start.

There may be no duller listen in professional sports — or life — than Jon Niese after he’s pitched the Mets to a win…to which I say, bring on the boring!

Niese has just about nothing to say after he pitches well, but as long as he steadily produces enough to not talk about, which he’s done pretty consistently of late and continued to do in Atlanta Friday night [4], then there’s no reason not to embrace the tedium he disseminates among the microphones and notepads that dutifully surround him.

It’s a given that there’s only one R.A. Dickey when it comes to postgame chat. But starting pitchers are usually insightful if not wholly fascinating when discussing their craft. The Met tradition is strong in that regard: Seaver, Cone, Leiter, Martinez and Dickey are all-timers. Darling and Ojeda can still rivet, and neither has picked up a ball in more than fifteen years. Santana can talk. Harvey can talk. Pelfrey, Hefner, Gee, Young…they speak well for themselves, too.

Does it matter? Only to the extent that everything about the game of baseball flows from the mound. We understand it better and appreciate it more intently when the pitcher lets us in on his thinking, his approach and his state of mind. We are a more-informed citizenry when our pitchers clue us in as to what’s really going on out there. They’re the ones who know best.

If Niese can talk pitching, he’s too polite to show it. But he can pitch, and that does matter. Over the last two months, he’s given the Mets one solid, unspectacular outing after another, quality starts by definition and utility. Friday, in putting a damper on Chipper Jones Night festivities, he did it again: seven innings, seven baserunners and only three strikeouts but just one run, on a solo homer surrendered to Freddie Freeman. The Braves never otherwise stormed the Met fort, while Lucas Duda successfully infiltrated Tim Hudson’s wigwam with a three-run blast that gave Niese and three relievers sufficient cushion.

It didn’t make for engrossing conversation when reporters visited Niese’s locker afterwards. It didn’t have to. Seven innings of one-run ball says plenty.