Sunday, September 25, 2005

Surprisingly Chipper (Not That Jackelope in the Peach State)

Game 151 through 152 - Mets

Mets 5, Marlins 4
Marlins 2, Mets 1
Mets 5, Nationals 2 (10)
Mets 5, Nationals 2
Record: 77-77

With the win against Washington last night, the Mets have now won their last three series -- against not only division rivals but teams fighting for their playoff lives. (If you think Atlanta wasn't soiling themselves when the Phightins crawled back to within four games, you're giving them too much credit.) Alas, as Pat Benatar crooned as she, too, was fading into the twilight of her season in the sun, it's a little too little, it's a little too late.

The Mets flanked a wretched 3-15 season-stopper between 128 games of 8-over-.500 ball and their recent 6-2 spurt. As they finish the 2005 campaign in irrelevance once again, there will be plenty of opportunities to pick out what-ifs among that three-week trip to the infirmary. Fingers will be pointed, obscenities will be typed sans asterisks or special characters, and the overriding feeling will be "what a shame." For the moment, however, let's keep things on the upturn. And no, I'm not drunk. Thanks for asking.

First of all, let's appreciate this recent last-gasp return to winning ways. These aren't easy ballgames, and the Mets are pulling through in ways they'd forgotten for a month. These guys scattered their early schedule with dramatic losable wins, and Friday night as I sat at RFK with my MLC cohort, we saw the prototypical New York Mets '05 win -- blow it, deflate me, win it, elate me. There are more what-ifs in that Carlos Beltran blast to right than I'd care to rehash, but if perhaps we could see more of that spark from him in '06, there's even more reason to believe.

More importantly than this small dosage of moral victory in the 2005 tube of disappointment ointment is the Misery Loves Company case bet. For the unfamiliar/uninterested, Rob bet that the Red Sox would win 98 games this season. With eight games remaining, they have 90. Looks like he may fall a sliver shy of that goal. Meanwhile, as it's documented within the annals of this blog, I projected 81 wins for the Mets but was made to feel a sandbagger by Rob and Mets fans alike. I caved, and posted 85. As the Metropolitans sit at even-steven 77-77 with those eight contests to play, I feel vindicated. And extremely gelatinous in the spinal department. A man's got to know his team's limitations, Clint once told me, and dammit, I do. Anyway, all that really matters is that the 13-game predicted differential is precisely where we sit with just over a week to go -- with a case of winner's choice beer on the line. Stay tuned, people. This could be fun to watch -- the undercard to Rob Russell's explosion if the Sox take a tumble to the dreaded Yanks.

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