I’m still trying to process that Michael Cuddyer throw in the second. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen anything like that before. There’s a part of me that believes that Cuddyer didn’t really cost the Mets a run in that situation, that throwing the ball like a cricket pitch and letting it roll to the infield actually prevented more runs from scoring. Jon Niese (2-1) had allowed four straight hits, three of them doubles, and Mark Texeira was due up next. (No one, except Cuddyer perhaps, knew that Texeira would line the ball back to Niese the next inning. At hat point in the game, with Niese laboring, maybe Texeira lines one over the wall.) Cuddyer knew he had to do something drastic.
Alex Rodriguez underestimated Cuddyer’s bocce game, was gunned down at third to stop the bleeding, and the Yankees were up 5-2 instead of the 15-2 they were destined for without the savvy veteran move.
Let’s just say Cuddyer’s throw didn’t look anything like Yoenis Cespedes.
Overall, I didn’t think Niese looked particularly bad against the Yankees. His curveball looked sharp, and while the results don’t show it, he pitched relatively well. In five innings he allowed six runs, four earned, on eight hits and a walk while striking out three. Two of those were Carlos Beltran, so only one non former Met. In that ugly second, Gregorio Petit doubled on a good pitch while Chris Young reached on an infield single.
The Yankees added another run in the fifth when Daniel Murphy booted a ball that would have turned into a sure double play and Brett Gardner scored from third when Wilmer Flores threw away the next gift wrapped double play. Gardner would have scored from third (not if Murphy makes the initial play, but it wasn’t a particularly easy play for Murphy) if Flores doesn’t throw it five feet over Lucas Duda’s head or not, but the main point here is that the defense did their collective best to make Niese work.
In the top of the sixth Murphy made another mental mistake not sliding into second when Eric Campbell grounded to Stephen Drew. One awkward flip later, Petit tags Murphy out where a sliding into the bag probably gives the Mets men on first and second with no outs. Oh, at least Campbell forgot there was only one out and ran on a Flores’ flyout to Beltran, getting doubled off first in the process. At least he hustled. I’m sure he would have slid too if he thought it was necessary. Just to recap, the Mets fail to execute not one, but two double plays the half inning before and then somehow get doubled off on a flyout to right field. Well, at least the Mets only allowed one homerun to Rodriguez on the night—he can tie Willie Mays against some other team—and those road blue uniforms looked spiffy. I have to admit that I’m a big fan of the Mr. Met patch on the left sleeve.
On the positive side, Curtis Granderson led off the game with his first home run of the season, Murphy doubled twice, and Juan Lagares recorded another two hits. Murphy’s double in the third really was a beautiful piece of hitting. He lined the ball into left centerfield almost as if directing it there with his bat on purpose. Last year I remember thinking that Asdrubal Cabrera had this great ability to keep his bat head on the ball longer than other hitters, as though even through initial contact he hadn’t quite decided where he wanted the ball to land and kept the bat there a little bit longer to find an available opening. Murphy can do that same thing—although at much higher skill level with the bat—and you can see in moments like that how dangerous of a hitter he can be when things are going right.
The Mets bullpen also looked good. Erik Goeddel struck out three in two innings, and on the season has allowed two hits and walk in 4 1/3.
The Mets now travel to Miami to play the red hot Marlins. We’ll see Rafael Montero (0-1) make his first start of the year on Tuesday, so let’s hope that doesn’t ruin whatever mojo Dillon Gee had working in his Monday start.