Game 69 - Mets
Twins 9, Mets 0
The score looks like a forfeit, and in many cases the game played out like one. In truth, the Mets were so bad last night that they did me a favor. A 5-0 hole in the top of the second inning with Johan Santana pitching and these Mets hitting? It's over. It became 9-0 by the 5th, but by then I was in the adjacent room working on my magnum opus. (It involves Thomas Magnum, Opus the penguin, and other 1980's pop culture staples.) Gary and Ron were imprisoned in the broadcast booth, and I left the TV on in the background if only so their sentence of nine full didn't go tree-in-the-woods style.
On Monday night I closed with something about a "hope for an end to the predictable recoil," but there wasn't a single play in last night's butchery to stave off what I'd feared. In some sense, re-learning to crawl before walking and running means waving off one loss against the reigning Cy Young winner -- who regularly baffles lineups that include DH's while pitching in "the Homer Dome." In a more practical sense, however, getting shut out in embarrassing fashion while pitching & defense went the way of the bullpen car . . . well, it's more reason to fret that the New York Mets aren't out of the woods yet. Yeah, Dr. Seuss could've inked that last line, but the reality is more Stephen King.
Santana threw nine shutout innings, needing but 92 pitches and but one very late strikeout. It's debatable whether he had his A-game last night, but the fact was that he didn't need it. The Twins' defense held fast, denying a number of lined baseballs access to outfield grass. Meeeeeanwhile, the Mets' glovework seemed to cue Bizet's Carmen every other inning. Four -- count 'em, four -- errors that directly led to a few runs.
And that's not what Jorge "But When She was Bad..." Sosa needed. He got peppered like a western omelet in a greasy diner on a Sunday morning, and I'm not just saying that because I'm hungry right now. Right now the starting pitching is making a whole lot of beat writers (and you know what I mean by that) look very good; you know, the ones who, back in March, used "ghastly" and other hyperbolic descriptors for the New York pitching staff. Damn you, hacks, you're not right. Or at least you weren't.
The Mets are now 4-13 in June. That's the most appropriate place to use the frequently floated "Amazin'" these days. In their four wins, the Metros have outscored their opponents 20-2 behind stellar starting pitching. In the 13 losses (dropping Alka-Seltzer into glass of water), they have been waxed by a count of 92-38. That's averaging a 7-3 loss most of the month. In the highly successful month of June, the Mets topped their adversaries by a total of 127-113, not nearly as dominant a statistic as their 19-9 record. (The Red Sox posted a 155-117 advantage in June runs.) Were the Mets doing it with smoke & mirrors?
Enough stats. You only need to have witnessed a fraction of this month's Met baseball to know that things are going horribly awry. Maybe it's donning the blinders, but for now . . . for today . . . let's just say that if the Mets can come up with a much-needed series win tonight, we'll just chalk last night up to a bad outing against a good pitcher and move on. Finding bits of optimism is grasping at straws these days, but I've talked myself into accepting far more ridiculous scraps of nonsense in the past.