Actually, despite the score, tonight’s game in Queens was a rather quick 2 hours and 39 minutes for the split crowd of 42,819 New York fans. Though the city has been getting typical hot and sticky (and often random rainy) days these last few weeks, tonight was a beautiful mid-70s. Basically, a great night for baseball.
And then it wasn’t… at least for the Yankee fans in Queens.
Tonight, Masahiro Tanaka got the start and ended up giving one of his less “Tanaka-esque” outings. Just 93 pitches into the 7th inning, giving up 8 hits and 7 total runs, striking out just 4. When Tanaka tanks (no pun intended), it’s usually a matter of his pitches just not being as deceptive as they should be. When he’s on point, he’s got this great delivery that makes his sliders look like high fast balls just before they drop out of the strike zone, to get even the most seasoned power-hitters to swing at them. Unfortunately, that was not tonight.
He kind of cruised his was through most of the first part of the game, but it all caught up with him in the 3rd. With 2 outs, the Mets pitcher (remember: National League), who’s actually a pretty decent hitter, singled and then scored when the next batter hit a solid home run to the right field seats. Then a lead-off solo homer in the 5th added another run to the Mets’ lead.
And into the 7th, Tanaka just struggled to get these outs. A lead-off single ended up at 2nd on a throwing error and then scored on a double. That runner then ended up at 3rd on a ground out before he easily scored on a bloop single. The pitcher then singled and put runners on the corners. (To be perfectly fair here, this guy didn’t become a pitcher until he was in college, so the young starter retains much of his offensive power, especially as tonight he went 2-for-3, with 2 runs scored.)
Anyway, the Yankees saw Tanaka wasn’t getting out of this inning so they opted for their bullpen, calling on Richard Bleier. A pinch-hit single scored another run, and a double scored another (both charged to Tanaka), before Bleier got the 2 outs needed to get out of this inning. Anthony Swarzak had better luck in the 8th, with his 12 pitches keeping the Mets from adding to their expanding lead.
Now, this pitcher is one of the few on the Mets roster that doesn’t have a “superhero” nickname, though he’s got the hair for it. He certainly held off the Yankee batters effectively tonight, worthy of some superhero name certainly. Yankee batters only got 4 hits and a walk off him, in addition to striking out 8 times. They just weren’t getting by him.
It wasn’t until the 2nd inning of the reliever that the Yankees got on the board with Didi Gregorius’ lead-off solo home run to right field in the 9th inning. Talk about a last-ditch effort. But the reliever then shut down the Yankees in order and handed the Mets a rather decisive victory.
Final score: 7-1 Mets.
After all the noise that was the trading season, it’s a rather mixed bag now to have the relative silence. I mean, it’s nice not to have to say goodbye to anyone else (yet), and not hearing the talking heads basically tear apart every player and every team for their weaknesses is rather pleasant. However, it means there’s not much to talk about outside of the game itself. Especially when you really want to talk about anything but a game like tonight.
But it is what it is. We’re in August. At Game 106. This means the season is starting to wind down, just 56 games and a little over 8 weeks left. And sometimes, that means it’s going to be a long couple of months. But most likely, it’s going to be October before we know it. And this season, it’s okay to have mixed feelings about that. I know I do.