because of the Mets bullshit bullpen. I'm not saying anything new, but this group has basically ruined the good vibes and the progress of the season.
That's not to say that the Bullpen was the only culprit in what was basically a forgettable weekend for the Mets. I got home in around the 3rd inning on Saturday night, clicked the game on, saw it was 9-1, and immediately changed the channel. I was not only glad that I missed how it got to that point, but also that I'd missed the prior night's forgettable 4-0 washout at the hands of Paul Maholm, a guy whom the Mets routinely blasted in his Pirate days.
I'd say you probably can't call Johan Santana done, if only because his competitive spirit and his talent wouldn't allow it. But he is probably entering that late-era Pedro Martinez territory, where you're not quite sure what you're going to get every time out, but you've got to watch, because he might do something incredible. Or the sprinklers will come on. The same can't be said about the bullpen, because as I think I keep repeating, this group either doesn't have it, never had it, or never will have it.
So, after throwing Friday and Saturday night out the window, here comes Sunday, and a surprise appearance on The Biggest Game In The Galaxy on ESPN. I thought the Mets were done with these once they stopped being relevant. But, nonetheless, there they were, LIVE under the lights, and actually doing a reasonably good job of kicking the Braves in the nuts a little bit. I enjoyed watching that game. I enjoyed watching Jonathon Niese throw one of his good games, mixing his pitches, keeping out of jams and not letting things snowball to the point where he gets his John Maine face on. David Wright got some key hits, Ike Davis got some key hits, Jordany Valdespin hit a Home Run, and everything was just hunky dory.
Then came the 9th. How ominous it sounds.
After 105 pitches, there was probably no good reason why Jonathon Niese COULDN'T pitch the 9th inning, but you knew he was coming out anyway. I know conventional wisdom says let him leave feeling good and building on it next time out, and besides, even the Mets bullpen ought to get through the inning without blowing a 5-run lead. But then Josh Edgin was walking guys and hitting guys, and then Frank Francisco was walking in runs, and then Jon Rauch was in the game with the tying run on 3rd and the lead run on 2nd, and all of a sudden, I'm back in that bunker. The flashbacks were starting. There they were. Aaron Heilman. Luis Ayala. Scott Schoeneweis. Duaner Sanchez. The temptation to shut the TV off and run away screaming were creeping up on me.
But it didn't happen. Somehow, Rauch got Jason Heyward to wave at a 3rd strike. The ball lingered at Rob Johnson's feet, but he recovered in enough time to throw Heyward out at 1st. And the Mets had a victory. Probably the least inspiring victory they've had all season, but a victory nonetheless.
At least they're not doing this while contending for something. Everyone would be apoplectic by now.