Three quick nuggets about tonight’s win:
1. It appears Jon Niese could pitch again. The 21-year-old, who gave up five runs on seven hits and five walks in three-plus, could remain an option. The club doesn’t need another fifth starter ‘til Sept. 18 in Atlanta. Jerry Manuel said it was “a good possibility” Niese will have another opportunity
Here’s more from Manuel…
â€” On Niese/the win: â€œYou almost have to throw that one out, you have to give him the benefit of the doubt,â€ Manuel said. â€œIt was obviously a tremendous experience for him. I think the fact that we won the game was the most important thing. If it had gone the other way with the lead we had and them coming back against him for the most part, I think it wouldâ€™ve had an adverse effect.â€
â€” On starting Niese: â€œWe had no choice. Thatâ€™s the bottom line. If we had other options that the organization felt were better, we wouldâ€™ve went that way. But that was the choice. I can see the potential in the young man.Â I think he has tremendous potential, tremendous upside. I think as an organziation we benefitted from this experience.â€
Here’s what Niese had to say…
â€” On the first inning, with one run in and two guys on with nobody out: â€œThoughts were running through my head,â€ Niese said, â€œbut I just went back on the mound, took a deep breath and started throwing strikes.
â€” On how he felt making his debut: “I was just nervous, just nerves. I think anybody who has made their major-league debut was nervous. I was just trying to keep them in control the best I could and battle through.”
2. The bullpen has now thrown 13 straight scoreless innings. Not only that, but Brian Stokes, the newly-minted shutdown setup man, has become so valuable that Manuel will no longer consider him for a spot start. Imagine I told you that 10 days ago.
Stokes has now thrown in six of the last seven games, and on eight of the last 10 days. He said he’s not upset he’s become strictly a reliever. “This is too much fun to say no,” Stokes said.
His run has been quite impressive. He is riding a string of 9 2/3 scoreless innings. His full line: 9 2/3 IP, 7 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 9 K. This isn’t luck.
3. Carlos Beltran will play tomorrow. “I felt the same way I felt when I came to the ballpark,” he said.
Bonus: Beltran on the umpires. You probably saw Rickie Weeks was thrown out by Endy Chavez at second, and that he knocked down Brian O’Nora in the process. Two days in a row, Beltran was asked? “That’s crazy,” he said a day after sliding into home-plate ump Ed Rapuano. “I’ve never seen anything like that two days in a row.”
He laughed. “They need to make an adjustment or something.”