Thursday, September 25, 2008

Four Lost Hours

You know, I went to a similarly long, wacky game just two weeks ago. I thought I'd had my fill of games like that, and yet last night, I was treated to yet another one, albeit from an obstructed view in the back of LR14. What I saw was brilliant, beautiful, painful, piercing drama of the highest order, starting out scary, turning fabulous, then gut-wrenching. And in the end, ultimately frustrating and disappointing, like so many before it.

It seems somehow a cruel twist of irony that, after weeks and weeks of everyone screaming and yelling about the bullpen, the bullpen, the bullpen, it's been the offense that has been the culprit in these frustrating Mets losses more often than you'd think. It's easier to scapegoat the bullpen; their failures seem to be much more spectacular than a bunch of guys making outs. But last night, the offense failed, and they did so in an equally spectacular fashion. I think the only way to adequately describe this horrendous display of futility is to describe the 7th, 8th and 9th innings as they appeared on my scorecard. This should give you some idea of things. I'll leave out the names, but I think you can figure out who did what.

Mets 7th: 2B, 1B, DP3, F-7.

Mets 8th: 2B, 1B, K (SB), 5-3, IBB, BB (x) , 4-3.

Mets 9th: 3B, K, IBB, IBB, FC 4-2, K.

And, for good measure, the almost completely predictable Cubs 10th:
3, 4-PF, 1B (SB), 2B (x), HR (xx), 4-3.

That's how you lose a game.

Try as they might, the bullpen really couldn't blow this one. I mean, sure, Duaner Sanchez butchered the 5th inning, but that was after he'd been inserted to clean up Oliver Perez's mess. Perez was just sterling last night, as the Cubs worked him for pitch after pitch, getting guys on base with frightening regularity and eventually battling back from a 5-1 deficit. Smith, Rincon, Stokes and Parnell all had some scary moments, but for the most part did an admirable job. So did Ayala in the 9th, before he got burned in the 10th. But, given that the Mets had a runner on 3rd and no outs in the 7th, 8th and 9th innings, I can't, in good conscience, put all the blame on Ayala. He shouldn't have had to be in that position in the first place. But when Derrek Lee dunked his 2-out double in the 10th, it seemed like mere formality that Aramis Ramirez would park one in the bleachers.

The prevailing thought seemed to be Good, up until the end. I don't necessarily think that's true. I don't know how I differ from most fans, although I think most fans who are as dyed-in-the-wool, insane like I am probably didn't enjoy last night's game so much, except for a few bright, shining moments, like Delgado's Grand Slam that I couldn't quite see (the seats in the back of the Loge are bad, not totally terrible, but if people in front of you are standing, and that happened a lot last night, it's really bad), this wasn't a fun game to watch as a Mets fan. This was stressful, agonizing, when the hell's the other shoe gonna drop. And I felt positive, I really did after the Mets tied the game in the 8th off Samardzija (why he decided to intentionally walk Endy Chavez I don't know), I really felt confident that they would come through. The 9th took the wind out of everyone's sails. And when the Cubs went ahead, I almost attacked my seat until I remembered that people get seriously hurt doing things like that. I don't know. There is some intrinsic fun I get from watching games in general, and I certainly have treated Shea as a sanctuary of sorts over the years. But mostly, it was tension and nerves controlling the night.

Pedro tonight, if the Mets can duck the raindrops. This is another in a series of bizarre scenarios. I don't even want to talk about it right now.

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