Last Man Standing: Mets-Marlins Stage Miami Marathon

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Hi all.  Here’s how I see baseball on this Friday, April 14.

There’s no question at all what was the game of the night last night, or should I say this morning.  There was no rain delay, just 16 innings of amazing baseball in Miami between the Mets and Marlins.   Early on it was like a heavyweight fight with the Mets and Marlins ending up tied at 8 before the pitchers restored law and order.  When the end finally came after Midnight, the Mets had won 9-8 in 16 innings thanks to a Travis D’Arnaud home run. In desperation with all his relievers used up, Marlins’ manager Don Mattingly turned to Adam Conley who was supposed to start tonight’s game. He gave up the home run by D’Arnaud that provided the denouement.  These two teams have been here before.  They played 20 innings at Citi Field back on June 8, 2013 with the Marlins prevailing 2-1 over a very different Mets’ team.

The Marlins jumped out early with a Marcel Ozuna grand slam in the first inning off Mets’ starter Robert Gsellman.  Osuna hit his third grand slam with both of the others coming in 2014.  In the top of the second D’Arnaud hit a 3-run triple, the first of 4 hits he would collect before the contest ended. The game was tied at 4 when Yoenis Cespedes hit the first of 2 prodigious home runs he would hit.  His first was followed by a mighty wallop off the bat of Wilmer Flores who has shown no mercy toward lefty pitching this early season. Wei-Yin Chen was his victim this time.  Chen lasted 3 innings giving up 6 runs.   Gsellman held things together until the 5th when the Marlins put up 4 more runs, driving him off the hill.  The Mets tied the game at 8 in their half of the 8th on an RBI double off the bat of Michael Conforto. And like the armies at Verdun some 100 years ago the teams waged trench warfare with nobody gaining or losing any ground. The casualties were the bull pens for both teams.  Considering the Marlins’ starter Chen only lasted 3 innings, their bull pen worked a dozen before starter Conley came in and lost in the 16th.  Since Mets’ starter Gsellman couldn’t go 5, their bull pen pitched 11 1/3 innings of scoreless relief.  Hansel Robles who had pitched the previous 3 nights volunteered for extra duty rather than see a pitcher or the backup catcher Renee Rivera take to the hill while pitcher Zack Wheeler played first base.  Yes, it was that desperate for the Mets, but this time they came out a winner.

The Pirates and Cubs are one of a couple of matinee games today. The Phillies and Nats meet at 4 PM in the nation’s capital.  Aaron Nola, the one Phillies’ pitcher who escaped the Mets’ wrath will face Stephen Strasburg, no easy task for anybody. From there everything is under the lights.  A notable matchup is the Yankees against the Cardinals, once a World Series fixture until the Yankees’ collapse after losing to the RedBirds in 1964.  St. Louis hasn’t been in the Bronx since 2003 and as a result hasn’t played in the new Yankee Stadium yet. The Mets desperately need length out of their long, tall Texan Noah Syndergaard.  Their bull pen resources would be less than nothing if that were possible. Edinson Volquez goes for Miami since Adam Conley had to work the last inning of the marathon.  As a result Conley will start next week and miss the Mets. The Rays and Red Sox meet in what could be a pitching duel.  Chris Archer has looked like the ace Tampa Bay hoped he would be.  Meantime he faces Rick Porcello, the reigning Cy Young winner. Atlanta opens their new park against the Padres.  They just hope and pray the Atlanta traffic which is always a disaster area will allow fans to get to the new stadium in the suburbs. Whoever gets there will see the best Atlanta has to offer in Julio Teheran, facing former Braves’ hurler Jhoulys Chacin, now of the Padres.  The man with probably the game’s oddest name is a Venezuelan by birth. He’s in his 9th season on the hill, split among 5 teams.  His longest run was with the Rockies from 2009–14. Last year which he mostly spent in Anaheim was his best since 2013. At 8 PM, when the Twins host the White Sox you have a man making his debut against a man with all of one MLB start.  The debutante is the White Sox’ Dylan Covey. After being taken in round 1 of the 2010 draft by the Brewers, he got a nasty shock on his physical.  It turned out he had type 1 diabetes.  So much for his shot with the Brewers.  He went to the University of San Diego.  After 3 seasons there he was taken in round 4 by Oakland, diabetes and all. When all was said and done his ailment cost him 1.3 million dollars in signing money, but like Ron Santo before him and Indy racer Charlie Kimball today, Covey plays on and manages his trouble with medication. His Twins’ foe will be Adalberto Mejia who made his MLB debut his last time out. He’s a Dominican who is two months shy of turning 24. Night owls get to watch or listen to a dandy game from Los Angeles.  The Diamondbacks sent out former Dodger Zack Greinke against Clayton Kershaw. What more need be said about maybe the two best pitchers on the planet.

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