Jonathon Niese is Almost Perfect

Niese caps doubleheader with one-hit shutout

By Josh Alper
|  Friday, Jun 11, 2010  |  Updated 8:00 AM EDT
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Jonathon Niese is Almost Perfect

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Niese-ly Done. That's Niese. Niese and Easy. Niese One. Niese Day for a Ballgame. Niese Guys Finish First. Some More Mr. Niese Guy. Making Niese.

Years of living in New York City condition a man to think in terms of tabloid headlines when something impressive happens in the world of sports. Above is merely a sampling of the thoughts generated by Jonathon Niese's one-hit shutout of the Padres on Thursday night. Efforts to find a way to meld the Beach Boys' "Wouldn't It Be Nice" into something back page worthy fell short but the Mets would certainly find it Niese if he could do something similar in his next start.

Sorry, couldn't resist one more. Niese's performance came as a bit of a surprise and not just because he hasn't proven to be particularly difficult to hit during his career. If you were told on Thursday morning that the Mets would play two games and that there'd be a one-hitter in one of them, you'd almost certainly wager on Johan Santana being the guy who threw it.

Niese gave up a double to Chris Denorfia in the third inning and then didn't allow another Padre to reach first base all night. That makes for exactly the same stat line as Armando Galarraga had against the Indians last week, although Denorfia was actually safe which means that Niese won't be getting a Corvette before the next Mets home game.

Those are the breaks in life, breaks the Mets are well used to in their 49th year as a franchise that's never had a pitcher throw a no-hitter. They've had guys get close before, 34 different times in fact, and they'll probably have someone complete the task at some point in the future. That will be a great night, of course, but it will also be a bit of a shame if performances like Niese's instantly become meaningless in the history of the franchise.

Niese didn't pitch any worse than the guy who pitches this still theoretical no-hitter. Tom Seaver on any of the five fateful nights when a ball found some space nor did Bobby Jones when he one-hit the Giants to win the 2000 NLDS. They were a little less lucky, perhaps, but they couldn't have pitched any better and that will always deserve a spot in the franchise's memory bank.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com. You can follow him on Twitter.

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