Lucas Duda reclaimed Utley’s Corner. Shawn Marcum finally completed Extended Spring Training. Ike Davis shredded his boarding pass for Flight .143 to Las Vegas. The Mets reaffirmed former NFL commissioner Bert Bell’s theory that on any given Sunday, any team can beat any other team. Bell was talking about professional football, wherein teams traditionally play only on Sunday. The Mets play most every day but hadn’t won since the Sunday before…and hadn’t looked terribly professional in not doing so.
If weekly wins are gonna be what the 2013 Mets give us — remember how they only won on Wednesdays earlier this season? — let’s take what we’ve got and savor it for a few more minutes before we get hot and bothered by the legions of doom invading Citi Field.
Marcum was damn near unhittable, save for Dan Uggla (a born DH if ever there was one). He doesn’t get a win for his seven innings and twelve strikeouts, but he gets something more important, as the narrator of one of those misbegotten Mets highlight videos that don’t end well might put it: he gains a legacy. That is to say in three or four years when Jason mutters to me how Shawn Marcum never did a goddamn thing for the Mets, I’ll have evidence to counter his blanket assertion. “No,” I’ll say in that hand-raising tone I’ve tried to tamp down since my teachers got sick of it, “Marcum struck out a dozen Braves that one time.” Alternatively, Marcum could simply go out and be super competent until the trade deadline, thereby making himself attractive to a contender so we can maybe gain a prospect to bury in the minors long enough to avoid arbitration an extra year because this front office is always thinking ahead if not necessarily anywhere near the vicinity of the moment at hand, but one miracle at a time.
Duda has hit in ten straight games. I’ve watched all ten of those games and I had no idea a ten-game hitting streak was in bloom. Perhaps I missed most of Lucas’s key at-bats because I was busy burying my head in my hands dreading Davis’s upcoming at-bat. But no way you couldn’t notice Lucas landing one in the Mo’s Zone — an old-fashioned Citi Field cheapie before Citi Field routinely gave up cheapies (parallel to how ticket sales have gone the last few years). Chase Utley used to drive us crazy with those kinds of precision home runs. You picture Duda making more of a splash, one that splatters Pepsi Max all over the uppermost patrons in right. Either way, a home run is a home run…and either way, the makers of our ballpark have gotten me to mention three different sponsors in one paragraph. With that homer, his sixth-inning single and his key ground-rule double in the eighth, Lucas with the ten-game hitting streak raised his average to .242. That’s positively robust in this lineup. Ruben Tejada gathered three hits the night before and he’s batting .218. Ike Davis likely saved his ass with a pair of singles and he’s up to all of .158. Two forty-two looks pretty good in these parts, eh?
Davis was going so badly that he was clearly ticketed to legally change his name to Ike Vegas. I was thinking once he arrived on the strip they wouldn’t even allow him in the New York New York casino. That’s how far from the Mets he needed to be — and these are the Mets we’re talking about. But in the fourth, Danny Meyer opened a new concession that prepares home-cooked scoring decisions to order, and Ike was first in line for what it was serving up. He grounded a ball that Uggla and Freddie Freeman combined to make about six errors on (Davis probably thought it was foul) but it was sympathetically ruled a hit. Talk about comfort food. The single in the eighth, however, the one with the bases loaded…it wasn’t necessarily brilliantly struck but it certainly knew how to find a hole and, when it comes to Ike, they all look like mislabeled errors in the box score anyway. Ike drove in the go-ahead runs, Bobby Parnell reminded us that sometimes endless patience with homegrown talent eventually pays off and the Mets avoided taking the field for the bottom of the ninth at Citi Field for the first time in five Sundays.
One in a row rates a “woo-hoo!” but as for gaining traction, we’ll rely on one more cliché: momentum’s only as good as the next day’s starting pitcher being Matt Harvey. Harvey doesn’t go until tomorrow, however. Tonight is Niese Night. At least I hope it is, in the best sense.
So proudly don those Ted Nugent tribute uniforms and bring on the pinstriped hordes! Better yet, fend them off with all the Niese ya got. It’s been a long enough season as is.