Saturday, August 3, 2013

Over Before Midnight

The Mets have made it a bit of a habit this season of playing these ridiculously extended games that run far into the depths of the night, postgame festivities be damned. That's one of the reasons why I found Eric Young, Jr's game-winning Home Run in the 11th inning Friday night to be sort of jarring.

Another reason would be that, after David Wright's 2-run keynote address in the 1st inning, the Mets went back into shutdown mode, mustering lots of hits and getting lots of men on base, until they got into scoring position, at which point the Mets then decided to not get any more hits. This continued on until the 11th inning when, with 2 outs, Young, in rather out-of-nowhere fashion, cracked one over the wall in Right. And when I say cracked, I mean cracked, because the ballpark appeared to have been lulled to sleep until that hit happened.

The fans probably couldn't have been blamed for being a little listless. The Mets/Royals matchup isn't exactly a heated rivalry. In fact, these are two teams that have met all of 6 times in their history, and not at all since 2004. So that can kind of de-starch an audience, and even the allure of a postgame concert from [insert bland-sounding semi-popular rock band here] wasn't enough to fill the stadium. And, yeah. The Mets didn't do much in the way of generating key hits. This was all fine and good most of the way, because Dillon Gee was keeping the Kansas City Royals lineup at bay (or making them look like Jason Bay, your pick). But, come the 8th inning, Gee tired, and thus began this circus parade of relievers that Terry Collins continued to summon, which was kind of interesting because he didn't have his closer, Bobby Parnell, thanks to a neck injury. But, willy-nilly, he kept them coming, first Scott Rice and LaTroy Hawkins to get through the 8th inning, then a failed attempt at David Aardsma closing in the 9th, followed by the heartwarming return of Pedro Feliciano to clean up Aardsma's mess. This left Collins with little choice but to turn to Carlos Torres in the 10th inning, thereby screwing up his rotation for the rest of the weekend, since Torres was scheduled to start today, and also screwing up my plans, because I was scheduled to attend Tuesday night's game and see Zack Wheeler...until he got bumped up to Sunday.

So, the bullpen, which had been quite good of late, coughed up this one, and so once again the Mets were in extra innings, where they got a nice turd in their punchbowl when David Wright came up lame in the 10th legging out an infield hit. I'd have to assume that this injury, what is currently being called a strained hamstring, will land Wright on the DL. One can only hope that Ray "Cortisone Shot" Ramirez will keep away from him long enough so that a 3-week injury doesn't turn into a season-ending injury. Wright's injury, combined with Collins' machinations, once again ended up with Zack Wheeler pinch-running (akin to Harvey's pinch hitting appearance against Arizona), where, although he can run, he proved himself to be completely sedentary on the basepaths, not even bothering to break for home on Buck's inning-ending DP.

By the 11th, people were already beginning to get punchy, and it wasn't even especially late. But we've seen this enough times out of the Mets that one can't be too sure. Keith Hernandez chimed in with his usual Extra Inning wisdom, stating "If there wasn't a concert tonight, I'd sneak into one of the suites downstairs and sleep on one of the couches." Ron was astute enough to point out that SNY has its own suite, so no sneaking around would be necessary. That probably wouldn't have stopped Keith.

But, just as we appeared destined to forge deeper into the night, Eric Young hit his Home Run, his inaugural shot with the Mets, and a good time for it. He probably put it best in his postgame interview, following his first career pie courtesy of LaTroy Hawkins. "We got it over before Midnight."

I'd have to think everyone, even the Royals, could agree with that.

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