To the loyal readers: My apologies for my absence from The Ballclub for the past week, however work has taken hold and posting has become difficult to do, although I am of course able to leave my thoughts in the peanut gallery. I had planned to post now, although El Guapo has asked that I try to keep this to under 10,000 words. I'll do my best.
As El Guapo mentioned, we were in attendance for the finale of the Ballyhooed Subway Series at Shea. Of course, we were both fired up. After winning the first two games of the series, I was ready. I wanted blood. I wanted to see Yankee fans cry. I wanted the head of Joe Torre on my desk on Monday Morning.
I got an egg on my face. And a raw, sore throat. It was another one of those losses that just rankled me, and, yes, it was probably mainly because it came against the Yankees, and I hate losing to the Yankees, and I hate being present when the Mets lose to the Yankees (and my post here at UMD frpm 2005 pretty much sums it up). And, after the Mets had won the first two games of the series, I wanted in on the fun. I had none of that.
For the third time in a row, Maine really didn't look great, and for the second time in a row, it really seemed like he was battling himself out there. Of course, we were present last Tuesday, when Maine wriggled in and out of jams, and minimized damage that came about mostly from his own doing. On Tuesday, Maine came out and promptly walked Ryan Theriot leading off for the Cubs, walked Soriano 2 batters later, and was one pitch from getting out of the inning before he hung one to Daryle Ward, and Ward parked it for a 2-run double. Maine was overthrowing, wild high, and walking too many guys. He could have been worse, but managed to get some key outs, before the game unraveled completely after he left.
Sunday night, same thing. He started off by going 3-0 to Damon. Fastball after fastball shooting high and outside. And, again, he managed to weave in and out of jams. In the 3rd, he managed to give up back-to-back doubles to Jeter and Matsui without a run scoring (on a ball that was about 50/50 for Beltran--nobody's going to kill him for that). But there's only so many times you can get yourself in jams and manage to squeeze out of them. But it came down to one pitch —the 2-2 pitch to Damon—And Damon hit a popup that really should have been caught (why Green and Beltran were so deep is beyond me), and that pretty much spelled instant doom for Maine. He'd already thrown over 80 pitches by that point, and then he just hung one to Jeter, who hit it out of sight.
And, on the other side, the Mets really had a chance to light up Tyler Clippard. He was totally on the ropes in the second. He gave up a laser beam of a HR to Wright, followed that up with another shot by Green, and walks to Easley and Maine, and fell behind Reyes 3-1...And all the Mets fans were up, sensing the death blow was about to be struck...And Reyes let him off the hook.
And that was it. Clippard settled down, his lanky, swing-armed motion kept the Mets off balance, and he totally shut the Mets down the rest of the way. And, yes, I spent the entire night screaming at El Guapo, "Who the Fuck is Tyler Clippard?" but you have to hand it to the kid. He threw a hell of a game.
Lost in the Box Score was the unusually high number of fights that broke out during the game. The drunken fistfight is bound to happen at games like this, in fact, El Guapo and I almost started one two years ago, but it's become a lost art for the most part, gone with the non-alcohol sections. But there was a doozy in the Upper Reserve down the right field line. I would have to assume that there were a smattering of transplanted Yankee Stadium Bleacher Creatures there, and the combination of them, Rabid Mets fans, and a lot of beer is just a nuclear reaction waiting to happen. And there it was, in the 5th, you could see the beer cups flying up and down, and the mass of security guards streaming down the aisles, and the fans standing and watching, and people being ejected. And it happened again in the next inning. It was bad enough that there was a phalanx of security guards holding post down the aisle in a line for the rest of the night. Fortunately, most of the stadium emptied out by the 7th inning. I did run down the aisle during "God Bless America" just to try to piss the Yankee fans off, though.
So, bottom line is, from my standpoint, That Game Sucked.
What really worries me is that I've been to a few too many shitty games this year. This happened two years ago as well, every game I went to was an unmemorable clunker. Last year was pure magic. The games I went to bordered on legendary. One classic after another. This year has been a different story. Sure, Opening Day was great, and Maine's great effort against Colorado was also good. But mixed in were games like Sunday, and the 10-1 meltdown against Chicago, and Oliver Perez's 7-walk outing, and the Chan Ho Park bloodbath. And it worries me. I probably take these things too personally, but I really hate going to games and seeing the Mets lose. I've always hated it. I know it's unavoidable, but still.
It's always killed me when the Mets win 2 of 3 in a series, or 3 of 4 in a series, and I've gone to the game they lost. I sort of got screwed out of a W on Wednesday because of the rain, although despite my protests, it was probably better off that I listened to El Guapo and left Wednesday's game before it got started (although as I mentioned in my comment, that we left doesn't bother me as much as that they started the game at 10:15, gave freebies to games I couldn't go to and basically screwed me out of a ticket). But we had sat through Tuesday's debacle (and my thoughts on Schoeneweis have already been well documented), and the Mets won the other 3 games in the series. I wouldn't have been at Thursday's comeback game anyway, and I tend to eschew day games (the vampire in me has always preferred the evening affairs, Opening Day notwithstanding), but I can imagine that that would have been a fun game to be at, provided that I wouldn't have gotten fed up and left with the score 5-1. But I usually stick these things out.
Friday night, we watched Oliver Perez continue to evolve, as he put forth his second straight strong outing, which negated the point El Guapo made in his last post (I didn't buy it either). Perez and Maine are not dissimilar, they both throw about as hard, they can both bring their fastball, and if they're off, they miss the strike zone and walk a lot of people. Unlike Maine, we've seen Perez begin to get frustrated and lose it completely, and that's why he's had that inconsistent pattern. But when they're on, like Perez was against Milwaukee and again on Friday, watch out. And it seems like perhaps Perez may be on to a little bit of a hot streak. Next outing in Atlanta, where he threw a great game in early April. We'll see if he can keep that up.
Friday's other story was just another case of Endy being Endy. Endy was up with LoDuca on 2nd and nobody out in the 5th, and squared to bunt on the first pitch. He took ball 1. Willie took the bunt sign off and let Endy swing away. So, of course, Endy swung at the next pitch and whacked it over the wall. And of course, that's the difference in the game. Uncanny the way he does it.
He makes Willie look like a Rhodes Scholar.
Saturday, David Wright stole the show with his 2 HRs, but right behind him, there was Endy, with 4 hits, 2 runs and an RBI, each time against a different pitcher. And the Mets built up a big lead, which was promptly made a little hairy by the stellar efforts of Schoeneweis (and you can pretty much file him along with David Newhan in the M2M Doghouse), but even a sloppy win is still a win. And last night was last night, and we'd all like to forget that.
Now, back to Dixieland. Have things changed?