I suppose it makes sense that my personal best (or should that be personal worst) 5th consecutive loss was that of an utterly frustrating variety. Though the Mets were in the game the entire way, and even had a chance to win it in their last at bat had Murphy not swung at a sucker pitch for the game's final out, you just knew that this was how it was going to turn out.
You knew when you got to the stadium, got your Tacos (which were once again the highlight of the evening, "Orgasmically good" might be the best way to put it), sat in your seat and looked at the Mets lineup that, even with Santana pitching, the Mets were doomed. After Luis Castillo in the #2 spot, it was all downhill from there. Daniel Murphy, who appears to have been stuck with a .248 average since May, was 3rd. Cory Sullivan, birthday boy or not, was hitting 5th (this before I knew that Sheffield asked out of the lineup over a contract spat, oddly, this is the first known issue he's created this season). Brian Schneider and his .187 BA hitting 7th. The eminently unexciting Anderson Hernandez 8th. The lineup basically read like Johan Santana and his band of Merry Men. They loaded the bases in the 1st, Tatis grounded out, and that pretty much set the tone for the rest of the night.
Santana was admirable, no doubt. Efficient as well. But for a little bit of bad luck (a better throw by Pagan on Infante's Sac Fly in the 3rd might have got Church at home) and one bad pitch (McCann's moon shot in the 4th), Santana was his normal self. But, oh, that lineup just couldn't do anything against Kenshin Kawakami, no matter how much he tried to let the Mets back into the game. Other that one instance in the 3rd where Tatis' line drive was hauled in on a brilliantly timed leap by Infante, you never really had the sense that the Mets were going to mount a serious threat.
The crowd, as it has been most of the season, was in positive spirits, in spite of the general hopelessness the team seems to exude. Looking for some sort of light, we got it in the 8th. Santana was removed from the game, and you could see a rather familiar looking lefty throwing in the bullpen. And once that bullpen door swung open and the first few notes of "Enter Sandman" began to play, the crowd was suddenly energized. After a constant string of injuries and players dropping on an alarming basis, here, finally, was someone actually coming back on schedule. Here was Wagner, making his familiar Alpaca-like stride in from the bullpen, coming in, and throwing surprising heat, 94-95-even touching 96MPH. He struck out his first batter, Curly McHanrahan, with relative ease. Larry swung on a 3-0 pitch and popped out. And with a flourish, Wagner finished by slipping his tradmark slider by McCann. The crowd was up. The crowd was energized. Could Wagner's appearance energize the Mets as well, and spur them on to a comeback victory?
No. Of course not. They got a little closer, thanks to erratic Mike Gonzalez, an error from Larry and a pinch single from Omir Santos. But with the tying runs on base and 2 outs in both the 8th and the 9th, the Mets went down predictably meekly. Just like you figured they would. Just like they have all season. There's nobody who can step up and rip that walkoff 2-run HR now. You just have to close your eyes, hope for the best and not be too surprised when you get the worst.
3 games remain on my 15 game plan. I've been to 11 of the first 12 and watched the Mets post a miserable 4-7 record in those 11 games (they of course won the game I missed). Add in the one random game against the Yankees and my record for the season is 4-8. Is it any wonder why I feel so defeated watching this team?