Saturday, August 4, 2007

Snowball Effect

With two on and two out in the 3rd inning this afternoon, John Maine induced Ryan Theriot to pop a lazy fly ball off foul off the first base side. Damion Easley, Luis Castillo and Carlos Delgado all gave chase, only to have the ball plop harmlessly foul, just out of their reach.

Harmless, yet it seemed to spell instant disaster for Maine and the Mets. Theriot then bounced a grounder to short, and beat Reyes's throw to first, scoring a run. Maine then walked Derrek Lee, walked Aramis Ramirez, hit Cliff Floyd (Why, Cliff, Why???), allowed a 2-run single to Mark DeRosa and another RBI single to Jacque Jones before being pulled after successfully turning a dinky Cubs Rally into a 6-run bloodbath and a lifeless 6-2 Mets loss all because of a foul pop that dropped.

Such are the Vicissitudes of Baseball.

The Mets probably could have been considered the fortunate recipient of such a break on Friday afternoon, when, in the 9th inning of a 2-2 game, David Wright drew a walk on a borderline 3-2 pitch from Ryan Dempster. Dempster barked at the Umpire, and then became unglued in a similar fashion, allowing an RBI double to Carlos Delgado to score DW, then was an out away from getting out of the inning before melting down and incinerating the ballgame for the Cubs, allowing RBI hits to Green, Gotay and Alou, allowing the Mets to walk away with a 6-2 victory of their own.

Again, such are the vicissitudes of Baseball.

It happens, but it becomes increasingly more and more frustrating as time passes, as Reyes flails away at pitches, as Alou comes up and blasts monstrous HRs with nobody on base in front of him, and as Castillo continues to hit the ball hard...and straight up in the air. Fortunate for the Mets that they had been able to ride their recent 3-game win streak into extending their lead over Atlanta and Philadelphia with Fridays' victory, and see that lead shrink back down as Atlanta won on Saturday (Philly still pending).

The National League is becoming more and more of a joke, as these teams that seem to constantly be barely hanging on by a thread somehow can ride small hot streaks to the top of their divisions. I mean, who are the Cubs? Who is Ted Lilly? I know these are decent teams with decent players, but each team seems to be falling into these shell games with each other. Games of chance, rather than games won on pure skill and offensive firepower. And the Mets are no different. They've won games on this road trip based on a freak Inside-The Park HR and a characteristic temper tantrum by a headcase pitcher. The bitch of it is, we all know that the Mets are better than that. We've seen and written about the failures of this team to pick each other up and bash in the heads of the lesser teams all season long. And yet, somehow, the rest of the league has failed to capitalize because they've been just as inept, or unlucky. It's a joke how easily the Mets could be running away with the division like last season if they'd only be able to drive in HALF the runners they leave on base.

But, such are the vicissitudes of Baseball. It's not always about skill or firepower. Sometimes, you just need a little bit of luck. Sometimes, it eludes you at the worst possible time and blows up in your face.

Well, hopefully that luck will turn back the Mets way on Sunday Night, on the overblown ESPN Spectacle, where I hear some pitcher is going for his 300th victory or some such nonsense. Has that been mentioned on ESPN at all? I'm not quite sure.

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