The Mets continued their recent run of fakeness last night, but more importantly, Jason Isringhausen is back in action! The man is a straight-up stud, and came back with a bang last night, getting the Mets out of a jam with one out in the top of the seventh inning. Big Izzy came out to a hero’s welcome (by hero’s welcome, I mean I was chanting his name in my living room), and proceeded to get a ground out (almost a double play), and then an F8 to retire the pride of the Rockies, Todd Helton. Izzy had some decent pop on his fastball (low-to-mid 90s), and he snapped off some filthy curveballs as well.
I would have been pumped up to see any pitcher in the Mets’ bullpen get out of a late-inning jam, but the fact that it was Izzy doing the work made it certified Grade A Realness. He would have been in line for the W if Tulo didn’t make an absurd (Jeter style) play in the hole to rob Daniel Murphy of the go-ahead RBI base hit (after a two-out triple by Reyes, his second three-bagger of the night). Bobby Parnell ended up getting shelled in the next half inning to break the game open (terrible fielding on the mound, because apparently the Mets didn’t focus during pitcher’s fielding practice in Spring Training; followed by a Tulowitzki biiizooomb), and the Mets went on to lose … again.
As much as I am growing more and more frustrated by the Mets’ bullpen giving away games, for a night my anger was tempered by the return of one of my childhood favorites. Growing up as a Mets fan, Izzy was my favorite player in the mid 90s. Izzy was a highly-touted prospect in the Mets’ farm system (Generation faKe), but as a young kid, that was not the basis for my Izzy love. My adoration of Izzy stemmed from him being one of the first autographs I ever got as a child. There are countless stories across the baseball fandom of people loving or, sometimes, hating players based on an encounter they had with them in person (especially as a kid). Getting Izzy’s autograph before a game at Shea Stadium as a kid forever made me a huge fan of him, and made me want to be a pitcher.
I was a fired-up 12 year old when the Mets traded him to the Oakland Athletics for crap (Billy Taylor … who? Exactly) only a few appearances after he returned from Tommy John surgery. Along those same lines, I was also probably one of the few people (outside of Izzy himself, and possibly some of his close relatives) that was ecstatic to find out that the Mets were bringing him to Spring Training this year. Izzy went on to have a very successful career as a closer for the A’s and Cardinals. He ended up making two All-Star teams, and led the league in saves (2004) once. If he can stay healthy, and K-Rod has any injury issues, he has a chance to reach 300 career saves (currently at 293, second most among active pitchers behind the almighty Mo).
This season is still very young, but if the Mets starters do not start pitching deeper into games, and the mess of a bullpen (except for Izzy, obviously) does not start throwing significantly better, this is going to be a very long season for the Mets faithful. The bats are giving them plenty of chances to win games (especially the RBI machine that is Ike Davis), but it ultimately comes down to solid pitching, and the Mets have not shown much of it. Hopefully the play will improve, but for now I will just enjoy watching my boy Jason Isringhausen back on the mound for the Mets.
Pizzas for all.