Once more, the broken minds and rancid breath of Mets fans filled Citizens Bank Park last night, their primal hoots creating a haze of pollutants in the atmosphere above. For years, the fallout will wreak havoc on local plant and animal life, causing irreversible damage to our ecosystem as they return en masse to the festering slime pit in which they live as a giant amorphous pile, awaiting their next opportunity to spread their vile toxicity to another region.
But Vince Velasquez did not blame the Mets fans for last night’s 5-4 loss, nor the Phillies being swept at home. He blamed himself. And he blamed himself hard.
Velasquez didn't hold back when assessing his start tonight: "Terrible. ... I’m not even giving my team a chance to win. This is horrible."— Meghan Montemurro (@M_Montemurro) April 13, 2017
So devastating were his self-owns, reporters lined up outside the locker room door for hugs shortly after clubhouse access was cut off so the poor 24-year-old could finish flagellating himself in peace.
Velasquez is striking plenty of people out, he’s just taking games’ worth of pitches to do so and burning through his stamina in four or five frames. As a gunslinger armed with a single pistol - a fastball - he’s trying to get everybody out himself. It’s a tough way to survive a game, let alone a season. And the Mets got to him before the sixth inning, as opposing teams have in 23 of Velasquez’s 26 starts with the Phillies.
It’s tough to watch, and not just because it’s so time-consuming. Because Velasquez is going to punish himself more than anybody else. His strikeouts make for good salvage among the MLB.com headline writers ("Velasquez fans 10 in Phillies loss"), but don’t do anyone else a ton of favors.
To Velasquez’s credit, he seems to be trying to expand his arsenal and give hitters something they haven’t seen before. But on the other hand, he doesn’t seem to know how or why he’s doing it.
Again, I'm trying to do stuff that's out of my repertoire. I don't know why. I'm glad I recognize stuff like that. Sometimes, it's just the heat of the moment gets the best of me."
I hope someone is telling VV more than just "hang in there," but that’s all that I want to say to him. I hope Bob McClure is pulling him aside, comfortingly bristling his mustache, and opening a binder full of contingency plans to help a young power pitcher develop some more diverse strategies that allow his pitches to hit bats but not be 210 m.p.h. base hits.
This is our first low point of the season - and I mean the series sweep at home by the Mets and their fans, who secrete a foul goo and require the stadium to be closed for fumigation following any visit (this is why there is no Phillies game today). I mean the 14-4 pounding, the Asdrubal Cabrera drama, and the slim-but-close loss in the finale. We probably thought going into this year that a game with a Maikel Franco grand slam in it could likely be counted as a win. Still.
No, to be soothed in these dark times, we need to look one level lower, in Triple A, where the catcher of the future is ruining other pitchers’ nights.
Lehigh Valley C Jorge Alfaro is 10-for-20 with 1 2B and 4 RBIs in Ironpigs' first five games. The 6-2, 225-pound Alfaro turns 24 June 11.— Brian Freeman (@bfreems1) April 12, 2017
The backstop’s six-game hit streak continued last night with his first Triple A dinger, a three-run blast that made the IronPigs’ comeback efforts not seem so futile after all (though they did lose). His slash line of .462/.600/ .440 puts him near the top of the International League (along with teammate Jesmuel Valentin), and makes you wonder how long the Phillies are planning to wait before supplanting Cameron Rupp at catcher, whose splendid personality is a victim of his very Cameron Rupp-like start to the season at the plate. Alfaro’s glorious success makes you not think about the struggles of Jake Thompson or J.P. Crawford no SHUT UP SHUT UP this is the part of the post where we’re not BEING MAD.
So comprehensive is his focus, Alfaro is even familiarizing himself with the technical aspects of the game.
Jorge Alfaro wants to be a camera operator if this baseball thing doesn't work out...he even made his own camera & let Hoskins use it too! pic.twitter.com/8Ub82TautD— Cheryl Pursell (@CherylPursell) April 10, 2017
After three bad losses, it’s nice to give ourselves something positive to think about in regards to the Phillies, as we drape a circus tent over the entire city of Philadelphia and scrub/burn away the lingering contaminants of a Mets fans infestation.