Monday, July 20, 2015
For 18 innings, the Mets waged a war that seemed to be more with themselves than with the Cardinals. Mets batters reached base in 17 of the 18 innings. 16 reached via hit. 13 reached via walk. One reached via Error. 3 of them scored. 25 were left on base, which tied an ignominious team record. The Mets went 1-for-47 with Runners in Scoring Position in this game. Juan Lagares was 2-for-10. Wilmer Flores was 3-for-9. Daniel Murphy seemed to be 0-for-16. Sean Gilmartin took an At Bat and got a hit. Jacob deGrom was summoned as a Pinch Hitter and walked. Mets batters saw 319 pitches in a game that lasted 5 hours and 54 minutes.
And, after all that, they won. They damn well better have given all the opportunities they were given.
I've said that once a game extends past the 11th inning, general logic of Baseball starts to be abandoned. Once you pass the 14th inning, you're entering what's basically Baseball Twilight Zone. When a game goes more than 16 innings, well, you start seeing the absolutely bizarre start to happen, generally out of desperation more than anything else. That's what we were subjected to on Sunday.
Jon Niese, if you'll remember, started the game and was brilliant, pitching shutout ball into the 8th inning, while the Mets offense did what they usually do and spend most of the afternoon acting like a bunch of Electric Football players. Niese departed in the 8th inning with the game still scoreless, as Niese received no run support in spite of the fact that Tim Cooney was ripe for the taking. Cooney, and his successors, Seth Maness, Seth Choate, Seth Tuivalala, Seth Siegrist and Seth Socolovich were all ripe for the taking, because they all managed to let Mets reach base and then stay glued to the bases while other Mets took turns popping out to 2nd base, grounding out to 3rd, or just striking out altogether. This continued on through 10 innings, and then the Cardinals turned to Mustachioed Carlos Villanueva, whose job was to basically pitch as many innings as necessary, so by this point Genius Mike Matheny was throwing the book out the window.
On the Mets side, their job, since nobody seemed to want to score a run, was to just keep the Cardinals from scoring, which they kept being forced to do, and dammit, they just kept doing it. Bobby Parnell got through a quiet 9th. Jenrry Mejia nearly spit it up in the 11th, after allowing a leadoff double to Randal Grichuk, a frightening intentional walk to Jhonny Peralta and a sac fly to Mark Reynolds. This set up the Cardinals with a golden opportunity to win the game, with Yadier Molina at the plate, but Ratso Molina hasn't quite been his usual irritating self, and he bounced into a Double Play to end the inning. This was, happily, Molina's 3rd DP of the game, and each time he seemed to be moving slower and slower up that 1st base line, at a pace that would make John Olerud look swift.
Hansel Robles pitched an easy 12th, which brought us to the 13th. Curtis Granderson, who didn't start the game and yet now found himself getting his 3rd AB, looped a ball into Left field and decided he'd had enough of this fuckery and took an extra base. Kevin Plawecki followed with a single and once again, Granderson decided to take an extra base and scored the first run of the game. The Mets had a golden opportunity to extend this lead, except that once Plawecki reached 3rd on a Ruben Tejada single, the Mets remembered that they were the Mets and immediately turned back into pumpkins, popping out, striking out and stranding runners. This would loom large, because Jeurys Familia was summoned into the game after warming up no less than 4 times and ended up giving up a pop fly Home Run to Kolten Wong. Of course he did. Because this game hadn't gone on long enough.
So, we continued, through the 14th, when Sean Gilmartin came into the game, and through the 15th, where Genius Matheny had the brilliant idea to summon the next day's starter, Carlos Martinez, from the bullpen to eat a few innings, to the 16th, where Gilmartin batted and picked up his 1st Major League hit in the processâand was predictably stranded. In the 17th, the Mets once again had an opportunity, with Tejada (Tejada? Sure, why not) on 1st and 2 out, and Matheny, genius that he is, had the idea to walk Daniel Murphy intentionally to bring up the Mets latest Pinch Hitter...Jacob deGrom. So Murphy was passed, and then deGrom was up, and Martinez ended up walking him too, although this served no other purpose than to inflate the Mets futility figures since Lucas Duda subsequently struck out.
In the last of the 17th, Carlos Torres came in, which was a bad sign, although in a game like this, I guess even Torres was capable of putting up a few zeroes. Which he did, although with 2 outs, SNY went black, and then blue as a "Please Stand By" screen came up. My assumption was that this game had gone so long and become so asinine that it actually broke SNY. Fortunately, there was still audio, and Gary Cohen could call a game via smoke signals if he needed to, so I at least heard Torres get out of the inning.
The feed was still out in the 18th as Flores led off with a hit, and then fortunately returned as Granderson got a hit. Plawecki then attempted to bunt, with most of the Cardinals infield charging out of their shoes, but Martinez appeared a bit overzealous in his attempt to field the ball, ended up booting it and getting nobody out. So this meant that the Mets had the bases loaded and nobody out. But after 17 inning of this shit I'm sure nobody was particularly confident that they would manage to get a run across. Somehow, they did, if only because Ruben Tejada got just enough of a pitch to drive it deep enough to score Flores and move Granderson to 3rd, and amazingly, the Mets picked up an insurance run when Terry Collins called for a squeeze and even more amazingly, it worked. This gave the Mets 3 runs, which represented their high total for the series, and Torres fortunately made it stand upâor had the Cardinals just decided that they'd had enough by that point. I'm pretty sure I did.
So, yeah. 18 innings to score 3 runs and leave 26 runners on base as the Mets now go to Washington for perhaps their most important series of the year. And Cuddyer's hurting, and Johnny Monell was sent back to AAA, and in his place the Mets called up...Anthony Recker.
I'm not saying that a reactionary move needs to be made here, but if Cuddyer has to go on the DL, and the offense just needs a kick in the ass, and you have 3 games against the team you're chasing, well, isn't it time to give one of these hotshot kids we keep hearing about a little burn? 3 runs in 18 innings isn't going to fly against Washington. 3 runs in 18 innings isn't going to fly against anybody. It's just some bizarre dumb luck that it worked on Sunday.