Fresh off referring to the Yankees as chickens in the New York Post, Frank Francisco was called on to close out Friday’s game. It wasn’t pretty and he didn’t strike out the side like he promised, but he was able to escape a jam to notch his 18th save as the Mets won the first game of the weekend Subway Series by a score of 6-4.
The Mets plated five out of their six runs in the first inning off Andy Pettitte, the big blow of which was a three-run home run by Ike Davis. He actually got a little help from Nick Swisher, as the ball deflected off his glove and over the right field fence as he was attempting to make a leaping catch. Pettitte settled down after the rough first while the Yankees chipped away against Jon Niese and the Mets’ bullpen, getting home runs from Alex Rodriguez, Andruw Jones and Robinson Cano.
The man of the hour, Frank Francisco, entered the top of the ninth with a two-run cushion and got Russell Martin to fly out to deep center field for the first out. In typical Francisco fashion, he made things interesting by walking Raul Ibanez and giving up a single to Derek Jeter, but he was able to get Curtis Granderson to strike out looking and induced a pop up from Mark Teixeria to end it. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t the only one who had Luis Castillo flashbacks on that last one.
The Mets are now winners of four straight and will enter play tonight at a surprising 39-32, 2 1/2 games behind the first-place Nationals in the National League East.
Your Friday box scores:
Nationals 1, Orioles 2
Tigers 1, Pirates 4
Braves 4, Red Sox 1
Twins 5, Reds 4
Blue Jays 12, Marlins 5
Rockies 1, Rangers 4
Indians 2, Astros 0
Brewers 1, White Sox 0 (10 innings)
Cardinals 11, Royals 4
Dodgers 5, Angels 8
Giants 5, Athletics 4
Mariners 5, Padres 9
Cubs 1, Diamondbacks 6
Rays/Phillies – postponed, doubleheader on Sunday
It’s can’t be easy being a Mets fan. Your team plays in the biggest city in America and should, theoretically, have big payrolls and always be in contention. They aren’t, however, partially because of horrendous luck and ill-timed injuries, partially because of poor baseball decisions and partially because the team’s ownership got taken down by a Ponzi scheme that, one would think anyway, sophisticated businessmen would recognize as a Ponzi scheme. We’ll leave that go, though.
What Mets fans are left with are (a) occasional windows of contention, such as we saw in 2014-16; (b) times of frustrating austerity on the part of ownership when, one would hope anyway, some money would be spent; (c) an inordinate focus on tabloidy and scandalous nonsense which just always seems to surround the club; and (c) a lot of disappointment.
You can file this latest bit under any of or many of the above categories, but it is uniquely Mets.
Team president Jeff Wilpon spoke to the press this afternoon about team payroll. In talking about payroll, David Wright‘s salary was included despite the fact that he may never play again and despite the fact that insurance is picking up most of the tab. Wilpon’s comment:
I’m guessing every team has a line item, someplace, about the costs of insurance. They’re businesses after all, and all businesses have to deal with that. They do not talk about it as a barrier to spending more money on players to the press, however, as they likely know that fans want to be told a story of hope and baseball-driven decisions heading into a new season and do not want to hear about all of the reasons the club will not spend any money despite sitting in a huge market.
This doesn’t change a thing about what the Mets were going to do or not do, but it does have the added bonus of making Mets fans roll their eyes and ask themselves what they did to deserve these owners. And that, more than almost anything, is the essence of Mets fandom these days.