Meet the Mets, Meet the Mets, Step Right Up and Beat the Mets
In a game that may be remembered more for a single moment of inebriated infamy, the Cubs took Game 1 of a four-game set with the Metropolitans 4-3. Then again, one classless woman can’t overshadow those participating in the pink-out for breast cancer awareness.
I’ll get to the game in a minute, but I just want to say that I really like how the Cubs handle events like this. The NFL’s observance seems overwrought and disingenuous, but the Save Second Base shirts strike me as innocently irreverent and fun while still conveying a message. And the survivors who sang the stretch did a hell of a lot better than most previous groups.
The game itself might have been unremarkable if not for Kris Bryant’s first Wrigley home run, which Anthony Rizzo immediately followed with a bomb of his own. That was almost all the offense the Cubs needed, as Jon Lester was on cruise control throughout most of the game. But then the 6th inning happened…again.
For whatever reason, the 6th has been an absolute bugaboo for this team, and Monday night was no different. After getting Michael Cuddyer to ground out to open the inning, Lester gave up back-to-back shots to Lucas Duda and Wilmer Flores. Then Kevin Plawecki flied out to deep center; Lester was clearly getting hit hard and wasn’t happy. Oh, but the fun was only beginning.
With Dilson Herrera batting, home plate umpire Andy Fletcher decided to put the squeeze on Lester. Okay, so blue probably didn’t consciously go into the at-bat thinking that he was going to show up the Cubs ace, but that’s certainly what it felt like to many viewers. Lester was heated about more than one of the calls too and was not shy about letting Fletcher know of his displeasure.
I’ll continue to advocate for some kind of assistive technology that can help the men behind the plate do their job properly an consistently and I believe that eyewear with a heads-up K-zone display would do just that. But maybe I’m just being melodramatic. I mean, the calls couldn’t have been that bad, right? See for yourself.
I could see one of those being called a ball, maybe two. But all four? No way. Lester was able to escape the inning by striking out Ruben Tejada on a pitch that appeared to be lower than #1 above, so perhaps Fletcher realized the error in his ways. Still, the seemingly arbitrary and amorphous zone being employed needs to fixed.
Justin Grimm came on to pitch a scoreless 7th and Zac Rosscup followed with more of the same in the 8th. Then Hector Rondon came on and immediately walked Curtis Granderson, which is always a bad sign. But a spectacular diving catch by Starlin Castro on a liner from Herrera and a GIDP from Johnny Monell ended the game.
I’ve never made it a secret that I don’t like the Mets. In fact, I pretty much loathe everything even vaguely related to New York sports. Not so much that I’m willing to wipe myself with a Mets ballcap, mind you (I’d much rather purify myself in the waters of Lake Minnetonka), but I really don’t like them. Consider it my way of carrying on Ron Santo’s legacy.
So that made tonight’s victory even sweeter. And tomorrow I get to watch the Cubs square off against fireballing phenom Noah Syndergaard, which should be really fun now that Bryant’s got his power stroke working. Neither radar gun nor video board will be safe on Tuesday.