Game 32 - Mets
Mets 4, Braves 3 (10)
A twisty cone of mixed emotions was served up in last night's Met game. It was as frustrating and irritating a game to watch for seven innings as I can remember. The Metmen played a miserably poor game of fundamental baseball (or as Keith calls 'em, "fundies"), making mental mistakes and "doing the little things" to create opportunities for their opponent while squandering their own. And just when I was ready to explain why this team will never truly contend, hammering them for their lack of baseball insight and instinct while mentioning their utter inability to rally and win when the chips are down . . . well, they made that last clause moot.
The baserunning, the decision-making, the sliding, the manager's moves, the situational hitting: it was all for crap for seven innings, and it wasn't the first time we've seen such problems. Dee-Dub tagged from third on a pop to shallow center (deep short, really) and was gunned at the plate. He was tagged out for the second time this game going head-first when a hard feet-first slide might've sent a message, if not changed the outcome. Jose Reyes doubled home two in the eighth to cut the lead to 3-2. Awesome. His decision to try for three bags and get throw out easily reeked of "rookie mistake." (He's not a rookie.)
Two flares to the outfield dropped in, one for the Mets, one for the Braves. Each time there was a man on first. When the Braves did it, the baserunner deftly moved to second and scored on a single. When the Mets did it, Alex Cora's indecisive cha-cha meant he'd be pegged at second and the ensuing single would be for naught. Kudos, Braves OF; nice try, Mets. Just a little thing, but the Mets seem to perpetually end up on the ass end of these things.
Jerry Manuel once again yanked a pitcher prematurely. (TJ, get your mind out of the gutter.) Big ol' Mike Pelfrey had thrown all of 96 pitches and was getting into the groove. Boy, you've got to prove to me why the situation necessitated pulling him after 7 so that (predictably) J.J. Putz could come in and allow two hits, two walks, and one run. Jerry, what you're doing with the starters (by far your greatest asset at the moment) . . . I'm not seeing it.
Better to be lucky than good, some say. Last night was Rabbit's Foot Night for the Mets. The new park prevented several extra Braves runs from scoring, first with a bomb from Chimper Jones that went 410 feet and was gloved on the track, then with a ground rule double that kept an added run from being plated. The men in blue also gave the Mets a break; the key swipe of 3B that allowed Carlos Beltran to score on a sac fly? Yeah, he was out, though it was a very close play. If that gets ruled properly, the Mets are toast.
But it didn't, and that paved the way for all of the negativity and lack of fundies to be washed away. In the 10th, Reyes scratched out a single and stole second. Jeff Bennett then walked three dudes to end it. Not quite a Hollywood ending, but who cares? This is what the Mets have been unable to execute all season long! And these things tend to spill over, breeding more where that came from. Getting off the late-inning-comeback schneid is huge.
This was a losable win in its textbook definition form. That the Mets made this game so losable is reason for long-term concern, but I'm willing to put my head in the sand for one more day and go along with the 18-14, 1st place, what, me worry? bandwagon.