Much of this Mets season has been characterized by waiting. Waiting for Matt Harvey's first pitch of the spring. Waiting for a timetable for David Wright's return. Waiting for Travis d'Arnaud to come back from injury (twice). Waiting for Wilmer to prove he could play short. Waiting for Thor and Matz to get called up. Waiting through interminable extra-inning games, waiting for hits that never seemed to come as the summer stretched on. Waiting for Conforto to get called up. Waiting for Sandy to make a move. Waiting, waiting.
Until the end of July, when the waiting was suddenly over and all the doing started happening in a growing crescendo that will continue to be marvelled at for some time. The waiting game has paid off handsomely for all involved, and continued to do so last night.
Armed with a full-strength lineup in the most important Subway Series ever (in the regular season, anyway), the Mets made a power move to officially "Take Back New York". After waiting, of course.
Lifelong Mets fan Steven Matz spotted the Bronx a first-inning run, looking a bit anxious in the first Mets-Yankees game he has ever attended. His location was off, he wasn't missing bats (only four swings and misses all game), and he was letting runners aboard early (albeit usually on weak contact). After waiting two months for him to get back from injury, waiting a couple of innings for Matz to get on track was nothing.
We've been waiting for Lucas Duda's first home run since the Nationals sweep back on August 1st, waiting for him to get it together after a 3-for-25 slump in coming off the DL. Consider those waits over after a 2-for-4 night with a double and a solo bomb off the Pepsi Porch.
Daniel Murphy started the game with a couple of overaggressive throwaway at-bats against Masahiro Tanaka, but waited beautifully for something he could handle during his at-bat in the sixth:
He took the first four pitches for a 2-2 count, fought off a tough fastball near the top of the zone, then launched a slider out over the plate 431 feet for his 12th homer of the year—truly one to admire, which Murph took his time to do before touching them all.
In some ways Juan Uribe's two-run pinch-hit homer the next inning was even more impressive. As Keith predicted on the broadcast, Uribe was waiting on a 1-0 changeup, in fact waiting so long yet hitting it so squarely that he cleared the fence going the opposite way. On a change-up. That's some fine hitting.
Now the biggest thing to wait on is: Can Matz keep this up and cement a spot in the postseason rotation? Can he find ways to get deeper into games, as he's only reached the seventh inning once (his debut)? He has routinely proven through his small body of work that he can pitch through nervous beginnings and without his best command, as his stuff is still really hard to deal with for hitters no matter what. And it's only getting harder—in addition to his blazing fastball (which touched 98 early on in this one), wiffleball-break curve, and tailing hard change-up, he debuted a new slider tonight to good effect. The Dodgers have seen him once, but he is clearly still enough of an unknown to be an advantage against any opponent—possibly a big advantage.
Guess we'll just have to wait and see. Luckily, these waits seem to be getting easier all the time.
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