Saturday, September 3, 2016

Flat Team Friday

After the elation of my last game on Monday night, I was feeling pretty good as I headed out to Citi Field for my 17th game of the season. After all, the Mets were rolling along at a pretty good clip, gearing up for a nice weekend grudge match with the Nationals and a well-rested Noah Syndergaard pitching. And for once, I was going to a game where he was actually pitching. I hadn't seen a Syndergaard start since back in May, against these same Nationals and the results were pretty good. Since then, I've seen him pitch once in relief, and also had him twice scheduled to pitch when I would be in attendance only for him to be scratched for one reason or another.

Not that Syndergaard pitched at all badly; after a hairy first inning where he threw a ton of pitches and had to deal with Nationals players bedeviling him with Stolen Bases and bloop hits, Syndergaard instead began pitching to contact and managed to navigate his way through 7 innings, allowing only 3 hits, walking 1 and giving up 2 runs. Certainly an outing good enough to get him a victory. Problem was, the Mets did nothing of any consequence against Rookie A.J. Cole, who gave up a 4th inning Home Run to Asdrubal Cabrera and nothing further. Cole, combined with Marc Rzepczynski, Hoda Kotb, Drew Storen, Craig Stammen, Oliver Perez, Chad Cordero and Mark Melancon lulled the Mets and basically everyone at Citi Field to sleep as they faded into the night amid a string of ground balls and pitching changes, as the Nationals won the opener of this series, 4-1.

I realize that, at this point, the Mets are not going to catch the Nationals, and although the Nationals aren't lighting anyone on fire, they also don't have to. Essentially, they're doing what the Mets did last season down the stretch and pulling the Baseball version of running out the clock. But they also took advantage of their opportunities in this game, while the Mets didn't. In the 1st inning, Trea Turner, who looks to be no older than Michael Taylor, their 15-year old Outfielder, blooped a single to right on an 0-2 pitch to start the game, stole second, stole 3rd, scored on a Bryce Harper sacrifice fly, and the Nationals just took it from there. They led 2-1 going to the 9th, and the Mets certainly had every good opportunity to come back and win, but Jerry Blevins, brought into the game specifically to get Daniel Murphy and Harper out, instead gave up a single and a double before being removed for Hansel Robles, who promptly allowed a 2-run single to Anthony Rendon that incinerated the game.

This game seemed emblematic of the games I've attended this year. Though things seem to favor the Mets, nothing goes right, they come out flat, they get great starting pitching, they hang around and then the bullpen torches everything and they have no recourse. This was my 10th loss of the season and in order for me to finish over .500 for the year, they essentially have to win all 4 remaining games I have tickets to. It's just been that kind of year.

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