Games 125 & 126 - Mets
Padres 7, Mets 5
Padres 9, Mets 8
Wow, am I getting tired of bemoaning a bullpen that blows . . . leads, if you need to finish that statement. I'm already tired of Billy Wagner letting the leadoff man get on base. I've grown extremely weary of the reliever-round-robin "who can undo the good?" that seems to occur with increasing frequency. I'm just so tired of Errant Heilman giving up the clutch long ball. I'm sick and tired of inspirational hits ("Marlon Moments," as they'll be called for now) meaning nothing. I'm sick and tired of having to eke my way through life as a Mets fan. I'm sick and tired of being a nobody in the Township. But most of all, I'm sick and tired of having nobody (in the bullpen).
Man, oh, man, would I love to have been able to come here today to extol the virtues of Marlon Anderson. To talk about the little sparkplugs that make the big V-8 come to life. To reference, maybe even link to, an old tale from years ago of a send-off in New York made great by an inside-the-park round-tripper and a long bomb. Can't do that, though.
Or maybe I can. These are the dog days of the baseball season, and we're all getting worn out. Rather than discuss Bill Wagner's August WHIP ascending towards 2.00, the Mets' relievers' utter inability to batten down the hatches when most needed, and Omar Minaya's failure to add the bullpen oar that rights the ship, let's do talk about Marlon Anderson.
(Especially since Wagner's outing wasn't as horrendous as his line and Carlob Delobgado left 16 runners stranded in three games, including five last night -- a base knock at nearly any time makes this a different game.)
Back from dining out last night, I turned on the game to a pair of disappointments. I'd forgotten to record it, and the Mets were down, 6-1. I was immediately treated to a huge, six-run rally whose coup de grace was Anderson's transplantation of a low-and-inside into mezzanine-souvenir. It couldn't have been scripted much better, and it underscores what a key pick-up Marlon Anderson continues to be.
You can't necessarily fault the Dodgers for releasing the utility IF-OF; he was hurt and hitting at a .541 OPS clip this year after a great finish to '06. And last night's was his 61st career homer, this for a guy whose career began when Google was not yet founded (and Roger Maris was the single-season HR leader). But like Endy Chavez, he's just one of those guys where his statline tells but a fraction of the story. Joe Morgan is a dunce because he rejects statistics of most any kind, but those kinds of measurements -- traditional or modern -- fall short of depicting Marlon Anderson's worth. And God bless Omar for seeing through it all and bringing him back into the fold.
And here's where we seep back into the negative. I really felt like the Mets were going to land an unsung pitcher in the July/August time frame. The pitching equivalent of Endy or Marlon, some cast-off with a ray of resurgence that would, against logic, become the galvanizing element in Mets relief. Hasn't happened so far. Joe Smith's return in September could serve that purpose, and we've been intentionally mum about a fellow named Pete in the Port St. Lucie clubhouse, a fellow who could send someone pen-ward to trigger some adequacy. Feels like I'm grasping at straws, but I don't think I'm the only one who is exhausted at the prospect of watching this team regurgitate leads on a nightly basis.