Saturday, July 09, 2005


Game 86 - Mets

Pirates 6, Mets 5 (10)
Record: 43-43


Wow, was that terrible.


I should end this recap here, but this game was so bizarre, it warrants a little descriptive drivel. I was out for dinner and drinks last night, but the beauty of Extra Innings + TiVo (the Reese's Peanut Butter Cup of the new millennium) allowed me to tune in and catch the Mets on my time, Mr. Hand. Sometimes that's a bad thing, as it unfolded.

The first inning set the tone of "weird" that would last throughout. Jose Reyes walked to lead off the game. Yes, that in and of itself is uncanny. He attempted to steal second but was called out after the second baseman tagged him . . . with an empty glove. The ball had squirted through and the shortstop had gloved it behind him, but neither the second base ump nor Reyes saw it. So Reyes gets thumbed out and starts walking back to the dugout, at which time the shortstop tags him out. The ump then does a triple-take, and we pause for station identification. After an explanation from the crew that probably fell short of "I completely and utterly blew the call," Reyes was deemed safe. A groundout later, he's on third, and then Josh Fogg balks him home. Sure, why not? It didn't really look like Fogg made any sharp movements in any direction at all, but who am I to argue with these professional umpires? 1-0, Mets, just like that.

Victor Zambrano looked every bit of the player that Scott Kazmir (who got roughed up last night to fall to 3-7) was traded for. He mowed down the Pittsburgh lineup effortlessly. Meanwhile Ramon Castro provided the offense (!) with a homer and an RBI single. He was also part of an inning that featured hits by both Jose Offerman and Brian Daubach, pretty much right in my face. Daubach doubled off the wall but Castro couldn't score from second, amazingly. The third baserunning snafu in three games, but until last night, they'd dodged the bullets they were firing at themselves.

5-1, bottom of the ninth. Zambrano exits, the much heralded (in the blogosphere) Aaron Heilman enters. Out, single, single, out. Just throw strikes and we're out of here.

Jack Wilson walks on four pitches. Nice.

Enter Braden Looper. Braden Looper, the man I damned with faint praise yesterday, and the man I damned with loud shouts late last night. Tike Redman waited out an 11-pitch at-bat until he found one to put between the lines, and his grounder back through the box scored two. Then, the oddest play of the night occurred, much to the chagrin of everyone in royal blue and blaze orange.

Matt Lawton hit a medium-depth fly ball to left, and I figured the game was done. After a deep exhale, a gasp as I see that the ball wasn't hit all that hard, and Cliff Floyd's jump wasn't all that good. Pretty bad, actually, but not as bad as his decision to dive for the ball. Awkward, clumsy, oafish. All of these the normally adept Floyd appeared as the ball skipped underneath his horizontal frame and rolled to the wall. Tie ballgame.

When team blows a four-run lead in the ninth, you just know they'll lose it in the extra frames, it's just a matter of how. As much as I should have seen a scenario of groundout, two-base error, advancing groundout, intentional walk, and single down the line, I didn't. The error was awful, as Miguel Cairo threw a little wide of first, the always-agile Jose Offerman did a spot-on rendition of Michelangelo's David, and the ball flew into in the dugout. As if they hadn't handed the Pirates the win enough already . . .

So on a strange, dark night in Steel Town, the Mets squander an easy opportunity to secure a victory and keep their winning ways intact. The way Pittsburgh stole this win, it's like they were . . . Pirates or something. (Trust me, you wanted that terrible line more than the one about "Stealers".) And so I close an otherwise sensible post with a cruddy pun that makes you wince. I am the New York Mets of the blogworld, and that's a sad state indeed.

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