Hitting, The Way It Should Be
When you get “schooled” it means you get taught a lesson in how things are done. When you get “old-schooled” in baseball it means you get taught a lesson in the way things USED to be and SHOULD be done. Last night, in their 9-4 victory of the Giants, the New York Metropolitans old-schooled the Giants at Willie Mays Field. Jeff McNeil, one of my favorite ballplayers today and a throwback to when hitters choked up on the bat to make contact, went 3-3 and drove in two runs. One of those hits was a punched ball past a draw-in infield to the left of Brandon Crawford. That hit scored two runs and helped the Mets put the game away. The other was a home run that helped put the Giants down for good.
You want to see more old-schooling? Take a look at Brandon Nimmo’s sensational double down the left field line off Sean Manaea on a curve ball on the outside corner that scored the fifth run in the top of the fourth inning for the Mets. That’s how it’s done folks. That’s what happens when you go to the plate to look for hard contact without going for an uppercut or trying to make every swing a home-run attempt. Pete Alonso hit a two-run homer in a scoreless game in the top of the fourth inning. That homer too, was mighty impressive as it came on a 93 MPH Manaea fastball that was belt high and off the inside corner. Alonso got enough of it to muscle or missile it over the left field wall, take your pick.
Eduardo Escobar homered two batters after Alonso in that fateful top of the fourth inning where the Mets dropped a 5-spot on the Giants thanks to Nimmo’s double as well. Suddenly, what was an exciting scoreless game was turning into a rout.
Down 5-0 and facing a dominant Kodai Senga starting for the Mets, the Giants looked dead in the water. Until the bottom of the fifth inning Senga’s sensational splitter/forkball was just overpowering the Giant bats, to such a degree that the Giants had a measly single to show for their efforts going into the bottom of the fifth. That’s when the Giants made a game of it plating four runs, thanks to solo homers by Sabol (to dead center) and Wade Jr. (to left). The Giants would continue the rally with nobody out when both Estrada and Conforto walked. J. D. Davis struck out but Yaz singled through a drawn-in infield to score Thairo. Then the fun began. Michael Conforto, on third, scored on a wild pitch by Senga. At first Conforto did not read it well. He hesitated then decide to go for it, barely beating the tag by Senga, who applied his glove to the plate without the baseball because he missed the relay from the catcher. It’s 5-4 all of a sudden and Willie Mays Field is buzzing!
Rally in the 5th pic.twitter.com/SZQrQCn5cm
— SFGiants (@SFGiants) April 21, 2023
But alas, Tristan Beck could not get that crucial shutdown inning in the top of the sixth to keep the Momentum going the Giants way. He surrendered the McNeil homer.
Manaea would pitch 3 2/3 innings in all in last nighty’s game, allowing those five runs in the top of the fourth. Tristan Beck pitched the final 5 1/3 and surrendered the add-on runs in the sixth and seventh innings that put the game away. It’s not that Sean Manaea was terrible. It’s that the Met hitters were just better. Manaea made excellent pitches in locations that are usually tough to hit. Not last night. Not for the Mets. Manaea is an example of a pitcher who would not make the 26-man roster, let alone the starting rotation of most contending teams, unless a catastrophic injury occurred. Since the Giants jettisoned Kevin Gausman and Carlos Rodon and passed on other potential free agents, Manaea is what you get. Against the Mets, on this night, he was beaten by a team that is built to win the World Series.
Game two of the series takes place tonight at 6:45 PM. The pitching matchup will be Joey Lucchesi for the Mets versus Anthony Desclafani.