Niese Gives Mets and Their Fans A Little Room to Breathe

July 26, 2009

Since the start of the second half, Mets fans may have found themselves questioning their sanity as they witness one debilitating loss after another. Prior to last night’s 10-3 victory, the previous nine games for the Mets have been consumed with inconsistent starting pitching, little or no offensive production, or abnormal behavior by their vice president of player development. Fans could make the case that the remaining two months of the season would most likely be more of the same. Learning that outfielder Gary Sheffield would be the latest Mets causality to be placed on the disabled list just reinforced that notion.

But as the saying goes every dark cloud has a silver lining. Jon Niese, last night’s starting pitcher for the Mets, was that silver lining. According to Mets manager Jerry Manuel, he was more than that. He was polished. Niese pitched seven terrific innings in which he allowed just one run on four hits that earned him his first win of the season. Looking back on his first tour of duty for the Mets, two starts earlier in the season in May, Niese was entering last night’s game with a 5.91 ERA and two no-decisions.

“I felt more comfortable,” Niese said. “Omir [Santos] and I were on the same page tonight. He called a great game.”

Manuel was in good spirits after last night’s domination over the Houston Astros as well. He was not only impressed by the positive outing that he received from his young left-hander but by the explosive performance of his struggling offense.

“We swung the bats well,” Manuel said.

Among the twelve hits recorded by the Mets were catcher Omir Santos’ second solo home run in two nights and third baseman David Wright’s blast, a solo shot of his own, in the top of the ninth inning. Wright’s dinger was his first home run in over a month and the first in his last seventy-five at-bats. Jeff Francoeur, who was traded to the Mets prior to the All-Star break, continued his resurgence by clobbering a three-run home run that broke the game wide open.

“That was a huge hit for us,” Manuel said.

When asked if Francoeur’s home run was a reality, Manuel jokingly said that he thought it may have gone foul. With sixty-six games remaining on the Mets schedule, fans still have plenty of time left in which they can better gauge their sanity.

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