Thursday, June 12, 2014

You Cannot Be Serious.

Tonight's...or perhaps by this point last night's...we'll just call it Thursday's game probably is the most 2014 Mets effort of the season. Consider all the ways this game went wrong and you'll probably agree:
  1. After 7.2 brilliant innings and only 97 pitches, Jon Niese is bewilderingly removed from the game by Terry Collins. Niese's natural reaction to this move is to shake his head and utter epithets you didn't need to be a lip reader to understand. There's no particularly good reason for Collins to remove Niese from the game at this point, and it's a move that will ultimately bite Collins in the ass later on in the evening. But he doesn't know it at that time. The flipside of this move, though, is that although Niese certainly appeared capable of mowing down the Brewers for another 4 innings, it likely would not have led to a better fate since his teammates were again generally incapable of getting a run for him.
  2. In the top of the 11th inning, Jenrry Mejia came up with some back stiffness and had to leave the game instead of remaining in for a second inning of work. This meant that since Collins had already pre-emptively removed Niese several innings ago, and since then burned through Jeurys Familia and spent Josh Edgin on one batter, he was now even thinner in an already thin bullpen, forced to use Gonzalez Germen one inning earlier than he probably wanted to.
  3. If that wasn't enough, Germen's entry to the game was immediately followed by a spontaneous downpour. Immediately, Angel Hernandez, whom we know all too well for his rather unique approach to Umpiring, waved the Mets off the field and called for the Grounds crew. Immediately, my thoughts went to things like suspended games and return trips to New York for the Brewers. That in and of itself would have been a fitting conclusion for the night. Only the Grounds crew didn't appear to want to show up and bring out the tarp. A couple of crew members came out with a bit of a "WTF are you doing?!" look on their face, and all of a sudden they were holding court with the entire umpiring crew. Then some kid with the Apple Weather app was running out and showing it to anyone who would listen to him. Finally, the whole mess was concluded by Crew Chief Gary Cederstrom overruling Hernandez and calling the Mets back onto the field, concluding a rain delay that lasted all of 3 minutes. Because if there's anything that took this game to another zone, it was a 3 minute rain delay.
  4. Hernandez, clearly jilted after having his rain delay overruled, didn't want long to re-interject himself into the game. The Mets had a rather golden opportunity to win the game in the last of the 11th, getting David Wright to 3rd base with 1 out, and Chris Young coming to the plate. This isn't exactly a winning proposition, but still, the odds had to be in the Mets favor, particularly when the Brewers decided to throw the rarely-seen 5-man Infield alignment together with Ryan Braun. Young walked, amazingly, and Curtis Granderson and his back spasms were intentionally walked behind him, which brought Wilmer Flores to the plate. The Brewers countered with essentially moving Braun to Pitcher's helper, while the rest of their infield was straight up. Flores did the proper Mets thing to do by hitting a chopper to Mark Reynolds at 1st, who easily threw Wright out at home for the second out. Angel Hernandez then stole the show, spontaneously expanding the strike zone in order to punch out Anthony Recker on a 2-2 pitch. Recker, not surprisingly, blew his stack. Unwisely, Recker got himself thrown out of the game, meaning that the Mets, who by this point had blown through not just their entire bullpen, but their entire bench to the point that Zack Wheeler was thrown out as a Pinch Runner, had to throw the last man on their bench, Taylor Teagarden, into the game. 
  5. Collins, now left to Carlos Torres and lefty specialist (with pizza) Dana Eveland, opted for Torres in the 12th inning, and after barely surviving the Brewers 12th, finally imploded in the 13th, allowing the first 6 Brewers that batted in the inning to reach. Highlights of this particular shit show included a Home Run by Jonathan Lucroy, a double by Aramis Ramirez and an RBI single from Reynolds before Torres was mercifully removed from the game. Eveland fared only slightly better, getting 3 outs while only allowing one more run when he hit Rickie Weeks
If the Mets were hitting, perhaps none of this would have been necessary. This was a game that could have been won if the Mets could have scored more than one run, but more than one run appears to be a tall order for the Mets on most nights. I mean, I guess we shouldn't be too surprised, when the latest solution involves Daniel Murphy hitting leadoff, and then immediately followed by multiple at-bats per game for the geriatric Bobby Abreu, the useless Chris Young and the hopeless Lucas Duda, plus a mostly scuffling David Wright, the problems are quite evident. Unfortunately, there's no good solution other than just boiling that spaghetti for different intervals, throwing it at the wall and hoping something sticks.

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