I guess if anyone needed further proof that A.J. Pierzynski is a 38-year old catcher not exactly known for speed Thursday afternoon provided ample evidence. In the second inning he was thrown out at home attempting to score from first on an Andrelton Simmons double to deep right-center. The play was close, and eventually the out call was overturned because Anthony Recker was called for blocking the plate without the ball, but wow. I’m pretty sure Daniel Murphy’s relay throw had enough airtime to mimic a Jamal Crawford jumper. Then, in the sixth, came this beautiful piece of performance art:
Announcers are always discussing how athletic Bartolo Colon (4-0) is, and I do think we tend to let his appearance cloud our perception of his skills. Still. I’m more amazed that Pierzynski broke early against a righty. Was he running on first windblown shirt movement? Let’s just pause and take a moment to look at Fredi Gonzalez after the play:
It’s difficult to blame Pierzynski if you’re a Braves fan. He had to be tired. It was the sixth inning of a game that at the point had been over two hours. He sat through two innings where Braves starter Julio Teheran (2-1) had thrown 32 pitches (the first and the third), and if the temperature was anywhere close to being spring like Pierzynski likely would have needed fluids pumped in intravenously between innings. As it were, he probably wanted to jog a little bit in the 17mph wind to freshen up a bit.
That was a long game.
Game time officially states 3:18, but you felt every bit of those 198 minutes as the first few innings had two long delays, some long Lucas Duda at-bats that resulted in walks, Teheran walking the bases loaded in the first and then walking two more in the bottom of the third, and then there was the fourth where Murphy threw home on a grounder that screamed “double play” only to see Nick Markakis scamper back to third. Ugh. I’m still confused by that play since at that point in the game you trade a run for two outs, but maybe he was as tired by the long bottom of the third as the fans were.
Maybe he was thinking of the first inning, remembering fondly his bases clearing double.
Colon pitched well. He allowed seven hits over six, which was amazing considering the long breaks between innings and he’s 41-years old and possibly threw all fastballs except for rumors of a changeup sighting. He struck out the side in the first with Freddie Freeman, Jonny Gomes, and Jace Peterson all looking and not a single one of those pitches reached 90mph but they had movement, which might have been aided by the wind. According to the SNY crew, Colon is only the fourth pitcher 40-years old or older in the last 80 years to start the season 4-0, joining Phil Niekro, Nolan Ryan, and Roger Clemens.
After Colon, the bullpen turned in another three innings of great relief. Buddy Carlyle, Alex Torres, and Jeurys Familia combined to toss three innings of one hit, one walk relief while striking out four. On the season, the Mets bullpen is fourth best in the NL in FIP (2.96), third in ERA (2.79), and fourth in K/9 (9.43). That’s impressive considering they’re without Vic Black, Josh Edgin, Bobby Parnell, Jenrry Mejia, and now Jerry Blevins. There’s room for a lot of regression, however, as the bullpen has allowed a meager .200 BABIP and an extremely low WHIP of 0.90, both tops in the NL by a large margin. With a K% of 27.2%, third in the NL, likely to go up, look for the other numbers to go up as well.
Familia, something of a revelation as the improvised closer, has eight saves on the season, becoming the first Met ever to have eight saves in the span of 10 games. On Thursday he dared the Braves batters to hit his best stuff, and a grounder and two strikeouts later the Mets had finished a 10-0 home stand and capped their third straight sweep. Oh, and there’s that whole 11-game winning streak thing.
For the fifth time in team history the Mets have an 11-game winning streak. Instead of getting into all the details, I’ll just present a table. I haven’t used one of these in a while, so I think it’s time.
Mets Franchise History, 11-Game Winning Streaks
Tonight the Mets travel across town to face the Yankees to try to make it 12. The team has never won 12 in a row. Even if you span years, 11 games is the longest in team history. Jacob deGrom (2-1) takes an 18 1/3 inning scoreless streak to face the Yankees, the team against whom he made his Major League debut last season.