Thursday, July 24, 2003

Game 100 - Mets

Expos 5, Mets 2
Record: 42-58

I can't stand games like this. I get home from work, grab dinner, and have the kids winding down towards bedtime as the Mets game commences. The Mets go 1-2-3, then Montreal plates 5 in the bottom of the first. Just like that, it's over. It reminds me of those epic games of Risk in college when guys would hunker down to spend the next three hours keeping Rob Russell out of Europe but all of a sudden some total bastard (usually me) would knock some poor schlep out of the game two minutes into it. This night, and all too frequently, the Mets are that total bastard, and I am that poor schlep.

Sure, there are 24 outs left in which to score just 5 runs, but as a Mets fan, you know it's over. Javier Vazquez was mowing guys down, and Jae Weong Seo . . . was not. I take some responsibility for Seo's off-the-table-like drop in effectiveness. I touted him as the Mets' All-Star rep (apparently I had forgotten how much Armando Benitez had done to warrant this nomination); since that point, almost exactly, Jae Weong has been Jae Wrong.

Holy cow. I just did a little research on this and I owe the man a huge jinxy apology. On June 25, I named him as the Mets' All-Star. He was 5-2 with a 2.66 ERA. Since then:

June 27: @ Yankees - 5.1 IP, 9 H, 6 ER, Loss (5-3, ERA: 3.09)
July 2: Expos - 3.1 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, Loss (5-4, ERA: 3.35)
July 7: Braves - 6 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, Loss (5-5, ERA: 3.68)
July 12: Phillies - 6 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, No Decision (5-5, ERA: 3.64)
July 18: @ Braves - 4 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, Loss (5-6, ERA: 3.83)
July 23: @ Expos - 5 IP, 8 H, 5 ER, Loss (5-7, ERA: 4.05)

I officially rescind my praise of the man in hopes that he can right the sinking ship. Seo has been working with pitching coach Vern Ruhle on adding a two-seam fastball to his repertoire. Anything to quell the hit parade that's been hammering this guy.

So, ten minutes into this game, I knew it was done. The Mets did try to get something going in the 4th (after three perfect innings from Vazquez) when Jeff Duncan and Jose Reyes led off with singles. After a Jason Phillips fly-out, Cliff Floyd turned on one and drove it off the right-field wall, missing a game-resuscitating homer by two feet. Duncan scored, Reyes went to third, and Floyd . . . well, he paused for a moment in the batter's box, he slowed down before touching first, he realized he probably should get a double out of such a shot, and then he made a bad decision. Gimpy guys who didn't break at the crack of the bat should not try to stretch these kinds of long singles into doubles. He caught a break in Vlad Guerrero not fielding it all that cleanly, and he was still out by two feet. Twice he was short by those two feet – he could use two feet, two knees, a wrist, and a slew of other parts, too. It was a rally killer for sure, continuing a pattern of Mets veterans running like rookies (running the team out of innings). And then the game was really done.

After a run of facing divisional foes, the Mets square off against the winning-percentage-challenged NL Central. The Reds are in Shea this weekend, and the Brewers and Cards arrive in the coming week. Here's hoping . . . I don't know . . . that they win the games I watch? I don't care what the hell they do when I'm not tuned in.

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