Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Almost Forgot That...

Briefly, I may have forgotten that the Mets actually had 3 final games in Miami. It wasn't until I clicked on WFAN in the office Monday afternoon, still slightly hoarse, still reveling from my Sunday in New Jersey, that I did remember that there were still 3 final, fleeting Mets games left this season. Only 3 more chances to catch the Mets before being relegated to DVDs and randomly placed Mets Classics. Truly, it's a series that the true diehards would be watching, with both teams long since relegated to irrelevance on the MLB landscape. But, I'm one such diehard, and given that fact, I have to tune in, and rest assured I'll have one final radio afternoon tomorrow for the season's finale.

So, Monday's game got clicked on when I got home. I may have forgotten and then remembered, but it appears that the fans in Miami forgot completely, because there looked to be fewer fans there than there were at Citi Field over the final few weeks. I figured that this final series against the Marlins would be good for the Mets, seeing as how they'd slapped the fish around but good most of the season. The Marlins, having clinched last place, were the team that made the Mets look great by comparison. Plus, with R.A. Dickey pitching Tuesday, having already gone 5-0 against the Marlins this season, and everyone itching to get him one final victory to go out on, and, well, you figured the Mets could drive it home on a high note.

But, nooooooo. I suppose even the worst of teams can't lose all of the time, and this is the 2012 Mets we're dealing with here. There's always room for one final stinkbomb. Monday, it was sort of a slow, torturous death. Jeurys Familia pitched, which is about all one could say about his 4 innings. He didn't pitch well, giving up 6 walks, but then again, he also didn't give up a run, so you can't say he pitched poorly. He just pitched. The Mets managed to scratch out a couple of runs, so there was a lead to protect. Familia was followed up by the usual parade of relievers, Acosta, Elvin Ramirez, Jon Rauch, Ramon Ramirez, and the Marlins scratched out runs on their own, and eventually found themselves ahead 3-2 after one final run was scraped in the 8th. The Mets could no longer scrape, so the Marlins won, a 3-2 game that lasted 3 hours and 16 minutes, and featured what appeared to be 61 men left on base between the two teams. Neither team was retired in order in any inning. A microcosm, perhaps, of both teams' seasons. A matter of who could get out of their own way first.

Tuesday brought the Swan Song for R.A. Dickey's magnificent season, and also the human interest story of Adam Greenberg. Greenberg made his plate appearance in the 6th and fanned against Dickey. By that point, Dickey was in a 3-run hole and ended up departing after 6 innings with what was described as a pulled stomach muscle or something closely related to that. I was listening with half an ear and nobody seems to be very descriptive (NOTE: Apparently Dickey has an abdominal tear that's bad enough to require surgery. That answers that.). Unfortunately, this would mean Dickey wouldn't make it a lucky 21 wins, and he also probably wouldn't win an ERA title. But he leads the league in strikeouts. And although I'm obviously biased, if he doesn't win the Cy Young Award, it's a crime. There's much more to say about Dickey, but we'll recommence the gushing after the season has ended.

Fortunately, the Mets went out and made sure Dickey wasn't tagged with his 7th loss of the season, rallying to tie the game. But, after Andres Torres tripled with 1 out in the 9th inning, Jordany Valdespin and Ruben Tejada both struck out and the game moved into Extra Innings. Games like this that drag on into extra innings like this seem to feel doubly long. I had the poor fortune to be at two such games, occurring on either the next to last or last day of the season, each of the last two years. Neither one of them ended well. One of them ended with Oliver Perez on the mound, which is self-explanatory. The other ended with me leaving early because I began to question my own self-worth (George had departed an inning earlier, due to his falling asleep in his seat). Tonight, the game didn't creep into the AM hours, which was fortunate. But after being subjected to the Mets loading the bases in the 10th only to see Josh Thole predictably strike out, I then had to sit through Collin McHugh giving up a leadoff triple to Jose Reyes in the 11th, and then bleep blop bloop. The silver lining in this game is that at least it didn't go 13 innings. I was prepped and ready to go with a post before the game had finished, but the end happened before I could get going.

So, the Mets have one final chance to get it right for 2012, even though things went completely wrong a long time ago. It's strange having the final game on the road, because it seems like the Mets don't often close on the road, but such is the schedule. So, instead of saying one final trip to Citi Field, it's one final game on the radio in my office, before the long offseason commences.

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