Tuesday, July 21, 2015

In With A Whimper

The Mets came in to Washington last night trailing the division leading Nationals by all of two games, which is a small miracle in and of itself, because the Mets, at least on one side of the ball, look like a team that should be 25 games out and playing out the string. Only because of consistently excellent pitching have they managed to stay afloat and it's got them this far. Not to belabor the point, but this series, combined with the 3 games the Mets will play at home against Washington next weekend, stand to be the biggest games the Mets have had in several years.

And with that in mind, of course, the Mets trotted out a lineup that included Eric Campbell, Anthony Recker and John Mayberry Jr. This was in addition to the usual dreck they've been trotting out there. When Matt Harvey didn't have it early, and wasn't helped by Daniel Murphy having a trademark Daniel Murphy tic-fit game, and the Mets fell behind, everyone knew the game was over. Gio Gonzalez appeared bound and determined to let the Mets back in the game, but they just weren't capable of taking it. Multiple times, Gonzalez threw first pitch strikes so fat that he may as well have just walked to home plate and set the ball on a tee, and of course Mets batters just watched them pass. The two runs the Mets did muster were driven in by Harvey himself, at a point in the game when a team with an actual bench might have gone to a Pinch Hitter.

The 5-run hole Harvey got himself into wasn't entirely his fault. True, he was totally over-amped in the 1st inning, when Washington scored twice, but later on, Daniel Murphy turned into a Little Leaguer, letting a line drive hit directly at him clank off his glove, then airmailed a ball into the seats allowing a run to score. If Gil Hodges were still alive, he would have walked over to 3rd Base and removed Daniel Murphy from the game by his ear.

To his credit, Harvey did manage to get back to himself and plow through several more innings, keeping the score 5-2, but he departed in the 8th and Alex Torres then surrendered Ian Desmond's inevitable Home Run, because what would a Mets/Nationals game be without Ian Desmond hitting a Home Run to kill the game completely.

An article by Will Leitch was flying around my radar this morning, the gist of which summed up this season to a tee: The Mets have been this laughingstock for years, and lord knows I'm beyond sick of it. Nobody respects the Mets. Everything is picked on to the point where the Mets basically have become the Red Sox prior to 2004. And now, they have this incredible pitching staff that's capable of mowing down everyone that deigns to get wily, and management continues to do absolutely nothing to back them up. The biggest series of the year, and the Mets are starting Campbell, Mayberry and Recker?! Who are they trying to fool? Of course Mets fans are angry even though the team is winning, because it seems like the upper management of this team is afraid of success! That's the impression I have right now. They don't even need to spend a ton of money to improve things, it would cost some prospects which right now the Mets have coming out of their ears, but they don't do anything about it. I think what frustrates Mets fans the most is that there's no real explanation as to WHY they don't make any kind of effort to pick up a bat. It's no secret that Fred Wilpon is basically a carcass at this point, and Ratso is too busy acting like a $2 Carny on Coney Island (my alternate adjective would have been to say he's acting like MLB's version of Donald Trump). So should anyone be too surprised that Sandy Alderson has no particular directive?

I know that the pride of these starting pitchers is too great to just let this team die like they usually do right out of the All Star Break, and that right now may be the only thing keeping Mets fans together right now. But how can you have too much faith in a team who, in the past 4 games lost a 3-2 game, got pasted, took 18 innings and 25 men left on base to score 3 runs and by some miracle win, and then go into the biggest series of the year with a lineup that combined hits under the Mendoza Line?

I mean, I've gotten over 2006, I've moved beyond 2007 and 2008 and I know a boatload of Mets fans haven't forgiven the team for what happened in those years. I suppose it's because I adhere to the old Woody Allen corollary that Comedy = Tragedy + Time. But these past six years have really tried my patience at times, not because of the endless losing, but because of the endless stupidity. And right now, the Mets have a chance to make this right, and make it all better, and maybe heal those wounds and bring that support back to Citi Field. But instead of trying to bolster a team that could really use some bolstering, they're spoon-feeding us Eric Campbell, Anthony Recker and John Mayberry Jr. And that's a Goddamn Shame.

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