Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Everything Is Terrible

I haven't read or heard any reaction to last night's debacle in Miami, but I would suppose that the prevailing thought across the board is that when Matt Harvey pitches and the Mets still can't win a game, then things are probably worse than we thought.

To his credit, Harvey hasn't ever actually pitched poorly this season. Last night he again minimized damage, but his one mistake, which was surprisingly enough not that he gave up, but that he wasn't economical enough with his 6 innings of work. It's something he's alternately good and bad with, but that's the travails of a young pitcher. But for his efforts, he deserved a win. In fact, he always deserves a win.

But the remainder of the game still had to be played, and the Mets, who only managed to score on a John Buck Home Run, just couldn't be bothered to squeeze an insurance run across. That's not to say that multiple opportunities didn't present themselves. It appears to me that pretty much every Mets inning that the Mets came to bat from the 7th on played out something like this:
  1. Single to Right
  2. Sacrifice Bunt, runner moves to 2nd
  3. Ground out to the right side, runner moves to 3rd
  4. Line out to the Shortstop. Runner stranded.

And so on, and so forth.

Nonetheless, the Mets were in position to beat the miserable Marlins, who appeared to be just as offensively challenged. I didn't like the Mets inability to build on their lead, but surely, the bullpen ought to have been able to hold the lead. Come the 9th inning, my other half, who was waiting to watch a program that was recording on the DVR, asked when the game was ending. I said it was the 9th inning. She said, "Oh good, so it'll be over soon." I replied, "Yes, unless some unforeseen disaster happens. Of course, this is the Mets we're talking about, so who knows..."

Of course. I seemed prophetic a few minutes later when Bobby Parnell blew the lead. It wasn't entirely Parnell's fault. He probably should have gotten Rob Brantly out, but for Collin Cowgill making the True Met play and breaking back on a fly ball when he should have broken in, allowing the ball to fall in for a hit and giving the Marlins the opportunity to scrape the tying run across.

The 10th inning began, and my other half came back into the room. "What!? 10th Inning!?" she yelled.

"Well, the Mets turned back into the Mets," was the only reply I could muster.

The game continued. A stream of Mets continued to either strike out or ground out to the second baseman with runners on base, while Met relievers continued to plow through punchless Marlin bats.  My other half came back in the room some time later.

"12th inning!?" she yelled, "That doesn't happen!"

I had no good answer. For all I could tell, this game could go on for weeks, or until someone ran out of pitchers.

Finally, in the 13th, I relented. The game appeared both endless and hopeless, and I'd basically lost patience. "This game isn't ever going to end," I said to my now-weary other half. "You may as well watch your show now."

So, she did. I figured someone ought to have figured out how to get a hit with a runner in scoring position in the meantime. But by time she watched her show and put the game back on, the score remained 2-2, now in the 15th inning. This prompted her to ask a question about the longest game ever. On cue, Ruben Tejada singled home a run. Miracle of miracles, the Mets actually scored another run after striking out 33 times and going 0-for-27 with men in scoring position. Surely, Shaun Marcum, voluntarily pressed into an emergency relief outing, could navigate his way through 3 more outs.

Unfortunately, surely appears to be a dicey proposition for the Mets these days. Marcum managed one of those 3 outs before the Marlins tied the game, and then one batter later won the game, leaving Marcum to walk off the field with a well-deserved puss on his face.

Fortunately, the Marlins don't have notorious Met-haters like Hanley Ramirez and Dan Uggla on the team anymore, so their walk-off celebrations against the Mets don't have quite the same oomph they once did. With this incarnation of the Marlins, they appear to simply be happy to have won a game, opponent be damned. That doesn't, however, make the situation any more palatable.

This ended up not being the longest game of the night, but that's pretty much immaterial. Everything about the Mets is terrible right now, and the fact that they're now losing games when Matt Harvey pitches and pitches well is a pretty good example of this. Nobody hits except for John Buck and David Wright (and occasionally Daniel Murphy). The Outfield is so bad that Lucas Duda's middling start is greeted with joy because he's drawing a lot of walks. The bullpen is completely schizophrenic. Usually, the Mets seem to play competitive ball in the first half before they fall apart, but the way things look right now, they stand a very good chance of being irrelevant by Memorial Day. If it wasn't for Harvey and Buck, they could very well be 5-18 right now. Surely a shakeup is needed, but who goes, and how much is it really going to help this bunch?

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