Friday, September 4, 2015

Of Course They Did

The Mets have had an overwhelming number of things go right for them to this point this season, and that's been the primary reason they sit in 1st place here in early September. I've already talked this week about the Mets handling teams in their own division, and how the Mets needed to continue to do so on this road trip. One thing the Mets had been able to avoid was the "Stupid Marlins Game," which they usually fall victim to once or twice every year. You know what I'm talking about because it always happens. The Mets come into Miami, whether it's in the old Football Yard or now the Puke Green Hell Hole, fall behind early, battle back, usually peck and scrape and claw their way into a tying hit with 2 outs in the 9th inning, and then lose the damn game anyway on an annoying kind of hit by an annoying player and then the Mickey Mouse Marlins start running around having their little Pizza Party on the infield and act like they just won the World Series. Probably because when you're forever destined to be a third-rate franchise, beating a team that's in 1st place may as well be your World Series. Or because the Marlins always seem to take some absurd delight in beating the Mets, no matter who's on the team. I don't see Hanley Ramirez styling on a 3rd inning single or Cody Ross crying over inside pitches anymore but the Marlins are still the Marlins, and their existence serves to bug the shit out of me. I've now sidetracked myself out of general annoyance because that's what happens when I talk about the Marlins, and also because this kind of "Stupid Marlins Game" that the Mets had managed to avoid all season just happened to them tonight, because of course it did.

I got home slightly after the game started and instead of putting the TV on, I put the radio on and promptly fell asleep for a significant majority of the evening. So I missed Jacob deGrom's outing, in which he pitched well but had one bad inning that screwed everything up for him. When I did eventually wake up, Addison Reed was busy walking home the lead run in what had been a 3-0 Marlins lead and then a 4-3 Mets lead, and was now a 5-4 Marlins lead. Once again, the Mets were apparently having a 7th inning bullpen problem. This is now becoming a real cause for concern, not so much because every pitcher the Mets have is terrible, but because we all had to live through 2008 and the PTSD we're all suffering from has made us think that every relief pitcher the Mets have is terrible. That's not quite true, but every time something like this, or like what we had on Tuesday happens, alarm bells go off all over the place.

So, the Marlins led 5-4 going to the 9th, and A.J. Ramos, their hyperactive, annoying, Carlos Zambrano-like closer was in the game, and I've already talked about how he just seems like the kind of arrogant prick you just want to see have his face beaten in every time out. It did take the Mets a while to get it going, but eventually they did get to Ramos and after he got 2 outs, the Mets rallied and Kelly Johnson tied the game with an 87-hop single to center. But the Mets could draw no further and the game remained tied.  

Hansel Robles and Tyler Clippard held the line for the Mets as things moved into extra innings, and Erik Goeddel, who probably deserves some high-leverage work just to see what he's made of, pitched a clean 10th inning. But the Mets could do nothing against some no-name Marlin relievers (all I could tell you is that they weren't named Vic Darensbourg or Chris Seddon). Goeddel gave up a hit to start the 11th inning, and managed to induce Dee Gordon, who I believe is hitting .873 against the Mets this year to cement his place as a True Marlin, to pop up a bunt attempt. Then Goeddel was removed in favor of Eric O'Flaherty. I understand that O'Flaherty was in there simply to face Christian Yelich. And I realize that Collins is going to keep going to O'Flaherty in these spots because he has no other battle-tested lefty specialist available (Dario Alvarez I guess is just around to chew the scenery), and he's just hoping that one time he's going to throw O'Flaherty at a wall and he'll stick, but to this point it hasn't happened. So after O'Flaherty actually does his job and gets Yelich to ground into a Fielder's Choice, and we'll say he's lucky the ball didn't get past Johnson for a hit, Collins probably should have just removed O'Flaherty and counted his blessings. Right? Wrong. Collins LEAVES O'Flaherty in to face Martin Prado, Prado hits a screamer into the Right Field corner, Yelich comes running around the bases like a pimply-faced moppet running home on the last day of 7th grade, and break out the Pizza Pie boys, the Marlins win!

This is an annoying loss no matter how you look at it, considering that the Mets had every opportunity to win, and considering that they were playing the Stupid Marlins. To make matters worse, the Nationals now seem to have gotten themselves in order, because you knew that was coming. The fact that Washington is playing the Barves, who have basically lay down completely, helps, but when you beat up on teams you should beat, it begets some confidence. The Mets have been doing this all season. So Washington has now picked up 3 quick wins in a row and the Mets lead is now down to 5 games, and Washington still gets to play two more against the moribund Braves while the Mets have to play the Marlins who are a constant pain in the ass. On the upside, after the Mets/Nationals showdown next week, the Mets then play the Braves, but then again when has anything ever gone right for the Mets in Dixieland? Ugh. One series at a time. Maybe.

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