Series Preview: Kansas City Royals II

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Headlines

Yeesh: The Mets hit an obvious low point for the season as they were swept at home by arguably the worst team in the league, the Atlanta Braves. Lowlights included the tying run getting thrown out at home in the ninth on Saturday, and mustering one lonely hit en route to being shut out by Julio Tehran on Sunday, 6-0.

Shake it up: Manager, Terry Collins, suggested there would be a shake up in the roster in light of the team’s struggles. Obvious candidates include Michael Conforto and Jim Henderson to be removed from the big league roster. Brandon Nimmo could make his debut, and anyone with a pulse would likely replace Henderson. Travis d’Arnaud appears ready to join the big league club as well, with Kevin Plawecki likely headed to Las Vegas.

NO. We want him: It appears that any trade rumors for a player of any consequence begin with Zack Wheeler. Personally, I think he should be off-limits. If the front office is hell bent on keeping Bartolo Colon in the rotation, I would imagine Wheeler’s stuff would play up in the beleaguered 7th inning spot in the pen. Two options that wouldn’t cost Wheeler or other prospects that the Mets are reportedly considering? Cuban free agent Yulieski Gourriel and Rockies cast-off (and familiar face), Jose Reyes.

Know Your Own

We turn back to one of our intrepid Mets blog compatriots this week. Michael of The Daily Stache was gracious enough to chat with us as the Mets take on a familiar, frustrating foe.

stache

Here we are again, playing the Royals. Does last October still hurt for you? Or are you able to look on it more fondly for just the accomplishment of getting to the World Series?

Last year was a great ride, and I was lucky enough to be at two playoff games myself (with my father), which included a World Series game. Losing always hurts, especially on the grandest stage when we had the lead multiple times and blew it, but the better team won. That gives me a little bit of peace, but makes me hungrier moving forward. As for the Royals, do I have some animosity? Why the hell not? If the Mets make a trade or two, they could meet again, and this time, maybe the story is different.

I’m always jealous of those who got to go. Aftermarket prices were insane and priced me right out. KC has followed up an 8 game losing streak with a nice stretch of games to jump right back into the AL Central race. Do you think the Mets have what it takes to combat their pesky contact-first approach?

Their approach combats the Mets’ strength, which is the strikeout. With a defense that’s not much improved from last year (other than Murphy for Walker), the Mets would need to make all the plays if they stood any chance. The Royals have been there two years running now and have the wherewithal to get the big hit when it counts. I think, with a couple more players, the Mets could handle them though.

The Mets’ offense has been inconsistent at best in the last several weeks, especially with the injury bug infecting several regular position players. Do you think they can break out of it, or should GM Sandy Alderson deal for reinforcements?

I think they will break out of it, but reinforcements are necessary as well. I don’t know if the Mets will make a Cespedes-type acquisition, but there needs to be a shot in the arm. I’ve long been a fan of Martin Prado, but I find it unlikely the Marlins help a division foe. I think the ship has sailed on Juan Uribe, so we’ll have to see what becomes available as the trade deadline nears. The Mets just need to keep their heads above water for now, and all will be fine.

I’d be happy with a .500 June at this point. With the Nationals playing out of their minds right now, the thought of a one-game Wild Card play-in has to start to creep into Mets fans’ minds. As much as a crap shoot as that can be, do you think the Mets have a leg up with likely starter Noah Syndergaard on the mound?

Well the Pirates and Cardinals certainly can’t match-up with that, but if the Dodgers make a run, I’d be petrified facing Kershaw. I know all the stories about him not being clutch in the playoffs, but he’s, bar none, the best pitcher in the game. Would Syndergaard give us a great chance to win? I have complete faith in him, but it would be all hands on deck and a short leash for sure. Maybe Bartolo Colon could be the hero coming out of the pen? Or maybe one of the other young starters? One game can end a season, just ask the Pittsburgh Pirates.

No joke – anyone not scared to death of Kershaw in the play-in is lying, stupid, or both. What’s your beer of choice for a Mets game, whether at Citi Field or watching in front of the TV at home?

I am pretty boring, but I am a Heineken guy. Refreshing and smooth, and I am easy to please.

Nothing wrong with tried and true.

Thanks again to Michael for a welcome Empire State of Mind!

Standings & Probables

Nationals 43-28 .606
Mets 36-32 .529
Marlins 37-33 .529
Phillies 30-41 .423
Braves 23-46 .333

Tuesday, June 21 Noah Syndergaard (7-2 1.91 ERA) vs. Ian Kennedy (5-5 4.17 ERA)

Wednesday, June 22 Bartolo Colon (6-3 3.01 ERA) vs. Danny Duffy (2-1 3.17 ERA)

Beer From the Good Guys

Sixpoint Brewery – Puff Double IPA

I grabbed this beer before I realized the reference point Sixpoint was using – Puff is, in point of fact, a play on another of their double IPAs, Resin. The differences that make it Puff? The beer is taken straight from the tank, unfiltered, with an additional kick as it’s dry hopped during fermentation. Luckily, I’ve enjoy Resin before, so I can speak to the differences that make Puff what it is.

Resin is, as you would guess from its name, a sticky, resinous DIPA that clocks in at a large 9.1% ABV and 103 IBUs. It’s a deliberately huge, bitter beer, but has enough malt to back it up, making for a highly enjoyable, slow sipping experience. Looking at my Untappd check-in from 2014, I gave it a 4.5 out of 5, which puts it in the top 13 beers I’ve ever rated. Typing those words, it feels like maybe an oversell, but I’ll stand by it.

Puff pours an inviting hazy light orange, with plenty of sticky resin on the nose. Unlike other unfiltered beers, it’s not totally clouded over – just a comfortable haze. Unsurprisingly, the resin follows in the taste. I brought up Resin’s fairly remarkable numbers because Puff surpasses them (presumably with the dry hopping) at 9.8% ABV and 108 IBUs. The choice to leave it unfiltered was inspired. Despite the huge bitterness and sharp boozy edge, the leftover yeast, hop and grain fragments provide a delightfully smooth, mellow mouthfeel. Sixpoint didn’t mention what hops were used in the dry-hopping, but I’d imagine they were different from the boil and selected specifically to add complexity. Mission accomplished. The finish continues the common theme with bitter resin sticking on the back of the tongue.

spuff.jpgScouting Report (20-80 scale)

See: 70

Smell: 65

Taste: 65

Feel: 75

Overall: 70

When breweries make variants of their own successful recipes, they don’t always work. Sometimes there’s no need for reinventing the wheel. Not so in this case. Sixpoint took a delicious beer, and managed to make it more delicious with just a couple tweaks. Puff is paradoxically huge, bitter, boozy, and smooth, all at the same time. Do yourself a favor and grab one. LGM!

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