Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Escape From Alcatraz

Visiting the Puke-Green Hell Hole more formally known as Marlins Park has hardly been pleasurable for the Mets this season. Not that visiting their former home in the football stadium was any great joy, either. Usually, no visit to South Florida has been complete without something stupid happening to the Mets, with the end result being Marlins players jumping around the field like they just won something worthwhile. But this season has been particularly bad, because for the most part the Marlins haven't been able to beat anyone except the Mets, and as usual, they seem to find ways to beat the Mets that border on the excruciating.

Monday night's affair seemed to have all the makings of another such affair. The Marlins, who had started off with a lineup consisting of youngsters mixed in with aging retreads, have gone through a makeover of sorts, benching the retreads in favor of more youngsters, which sort of gives them a roster composition that, if you take away Cool Papa Pierre, Greg Dobbs and that Ed Lynch fellow, looks like they should be on their way to Social Studies class, not taking the field in a Major League Baseball game. To make this situation even more absurd, it appears that they now boast a roster comprised mostly of people named after characters in Woody Allen movies.

So, what happens? Well, after the Mets spotted Jeremy Hefner a 3-run lead early on, thanks to Daniel Murphy (who appears to be on one of his sporadic hot streaks)'s 2-run single and another key hit from David Wright. Jeremy Hefner in June might have locked this one down, but his recent regression to the norm reared its ugly head once again, and that 3-0 lead was gone lickety-split in the 4th, courtesy of a bunch of walks and some ringing hits, and capped off by a disgusting error from Omar Quintanilla. The Marlins got to Hefner again in the 6th, courtesy of more walks and more hits and the result was 2 more runs that knocked Hefner out of the game and appeared more than likely to sink the Mets.

But, the Mets responded to this particular adversity by striking back in the 7th. Eric Young, Jr led off with a one out double and scored on a floater from Murphy (exactly the kind of hit that usually works against the Mets). One out and a wild pitch later, there was Marlon Byrd, who has been in the thick of pretty much everything for the past several weeks now, coming up with the 2-out hit to tie the game. And one pitch later, there was Marlon Byrd, moving at a speed far beyond what you would expect from a husky 35-year old veteran of 12 Major League Seasons, making it all the way home with the lead run thanks to a long hit from Ike Davis. Ike Davis' long hit was probably a story in and of itself, since that's the first time we've been able to say Ike Davis, who was already named after a character in a Woody Allen movie, came up with a really clutch hit in months. But, if there was ever a spot to do it, this was probably it, in Miami where nothing ever seems to go right for the Mets.

So, somehow, the Mets have now come back and taken the lead in Miami, which hasn't happened all season. It's now up to the bullpen to keep it that way. First, it was Josh Edgin, getting the Marlins in order in the 7th, including a strikeout of Fielding Mellish and a groundout from Giancarlo Stanton. LaTroy Hawkins got through the 8th with similarly little drama, save for a single from Leonard Zelig, but Zelig was subsequently thrown out stealing, even though he wasn't. But, hey, it's about damn time the Mets caught a break in that stupid ballpark.

Parnell came in for the 9th and immediately gave up a hit to Greg Dobbs, much to the surprise of nobody. But, he got two out and all he needed to do was get Mellish, who just last week was graduating High School. But, Parnell nibbled and nibbled rather than just going after him, and eventually Parnell walked Mellish to bring up Stanton, with 2 on and 2 out and a 1-run lead. And I'm sure I wasn't the only Mets fan flashing back to every horrible thing that's happened to the team in Miami since ever, because we all knew where this was...Oh. Stanton grounded out. The Mets win. That was oddly anticlimactic.

So, we can delay the full-blown panic attack at least for another day, because for once the Mets stoned up and beat the Marlins. Can you imagine if they'd stepped on the Marlins' throats like this all season? Maybe we wouldn't be in this mess.

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