Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Game 98 - Mets
If My Eyes Don't Deceive Me, There's Something Going Wrong Around Here
Expos 19, Mets 10
Record: 47-51

Wait, what was that score again?

Expos 19, Mets 10.

I'm sorry, I didn't quite catch that.

Expos 19, Mets 10.

Oh.  I see.

Where to begin commenting on this game was a tough one.  I guess I'll start with the starter.  Since his signing in the offseason, I have bemoaned Scott Erickson's presence on the Met roster.  His best days were pre-strike.  He was serviceable for a while there, then began to take trips to the DL like it was the men's room.   He was smacked around for a while in AAA earlier this year.  But after his first start of the season (if you don't count the groin-yanking warm-up toss he fired in April), I decided to abstain from comment.  I figured I'd forgo the sour route of "this won't last," even though I was thinking it.  Deep down I hoped I was just an idiot, but it seems that's just not so.  Small consolation?

Scott Erickson faced 15 batters.  In a perfect game, that's 5 innings.  In this game, it was 2+, as seven of those batters recorded hits while three more were issued free passes.   Of those seven hits, two were doubles and one was a home run.  Seven runs crossed the plate, though only six were earned, thanks to an error by Ty "Jack of All Positions, Master of None" Wigginton.

And here's the thing: despite Erickson's pitching equivalent of a Jerry Lewis routine, it was only 5-3 when he left the game in the 2nd.   The recently promoted Dan "Sk-" Wheeler, last seen applying Miracle-Gro to every small deficit he encountered, was up to his old tricks.  Four hits and four walks in an inning of work.  Five runs, four earned (thank you, Mike Cameron).   He entered a 5-3 tight one and left a 12-4 laugher one inning later.  Hell, anyone can do that!

A few innings later, that point was illustrated when Todd Zeile came in for garbage time, giving up 5 more runs in one frame of work so that the Mets could provide the team who ranked last in the majors in runs scored (with 70 fewer than the 2nd-lowest!) with its highest run total all season long.  Just kick me in the groin next time, boys, the aggravation won't last as long.

What is by now becoming a comic highlight is the ongoing, down-plummeting saga of His Excellency John Franco, whose ratty NFYD undershirt prompts "No, You Fuckin' Douchebag!" wails from the diehards after every meatball aced into the bleachers.  In this contest, the Mets had trimmed the lead to 12-8 when Franco entered, retired two in a row, walked a guy, and served one up to Tony Batista, whose 6 RBI's last night were the most for him since Little League.  Then Franco hit Nick Johnson with the next pitch, after which I truly couldn't figure out if it was a pathetic attempt to embroil his team into a Mets/Expos Grade-D facsimile of the Yanks/Red Sox episode last weekend, or if he's just that lousy these days.  Anyway, the ump (who obviously hasn't seen him pitch in a while) went with Choice A, thumbing Franco into the clubhouse.  I think I heard a couple of other Mets indicating it was intentional for sure, presumably hoping for a Franco suspension.

Looks like these contenders turned into bums very quickly.   Go ahead and pile on, Bud; tell me these new superstars will be the Portland Expos next year.  I'm bracing myself for it.

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