Sunday, September 25, 2016

No Cigar

This game will forever go into the books as a 10-8 Mets loss, simply because they couldn't overcome the 10 runs that Sean Gilmartin and Rafael Montero spotted the Phillies early in the evening. And I know that at this time of the year losses really can't be viewed as positive anything.

But the Mets did show me something in their spirited comeback on Saturday night, which is that all of these young fellows that have gone back and forth from the Major Leagues and Las Vegas, they can play. This sort of output in a mostly hopeless situation kind of underscores the depth the Mets have built for themselves through the organization, and when you have guys like T.J. Rivera, Brandon Nimmo, Gavin Cecchini and Ty Kelly really raring to get into games and break their asses, it's a positive. Teams need players like this on their roster. None of them are stars, none of them are going to light the world on fire, but they're going to go balls to the wall in every opportunity they get just to show you that they can do it at this level. And these guys, particularly Rivera and Nimmo, have been in the middle of a lot of rallies this month, and Cecchini and Kelly had their noses in plenty last night.

In the continuation of my "Summer of Long Island," I was out all day and so I didn't see any of the game, I only heard about it in bits and pieces. When I got word that Sean Gilmartin hadn't made it out of the 1st inning and allowed 5 runs, I sort of moved my thoughts to other things. This one was clearly done before it started and so whatever else was going on around the Majors was just antimatter. I'd found myself in a diner on Old Country Road at some point in the evening, when the game appeared totally out of reach, and a large group of people--multiple families, it seemed--came in. Most of them were dressed in Mets gear, which led me to believe that they'd been at the game, although based on where we were and the time of night, if they were at the game, they must have thrown in the towel after 2 innings, so perhaps we were just solidly placed in the Middle of Mets country (although for whatever reason the TV in this diner did not have the Mets game on). But at any rate, over the course of the evening, they were loudly discussing the Wildcard race and the Mets chances in a Mansplaining sort of fashion, but in no way did I want to involve myself in going over to the table and correcting them. I try to make it a point not to get involved in other people's affairs like that. They were also talking about the Home Finale coming up on Sunday and discussing how Philadelphia's scheduled starter "Was no good" and they "should beat him." I'll agree with the "should beat him" part. But I don't know enough of Jake Thompson to say that.

I know about as much of Alec Asher as I do of Thompson (SEGUE MASTER), and Asher shut the Mets down but good for 4 innings, and then allowed 4 runs in the 5th inning, but part of that was the result of a pair of errors and so none of the runs were unearned. And by this point, the Mets had emptied their bench so whatever rally they could put togther had that cosmetic feel to it, just to let everyone know they were still there and doing the best they could.

Then, of course, in the 6th, Philly went to their awful bullpen and the Mets kept ploughing away, scoring on Cecchini's first Major League hit among other things, but at this point I was still in "At least they're making it interesting" mode. By this time, we were driving again, and as it usually does when we're on the way back from Long Island, our route took us directly past Citi Field, where I noticed that the video board facing Northern Blvd didn't actually have the score on it, which I thought made no sense, but then I looked and on the top of the stadium, behind the Left Field seats, there is a board that has the score on it, and even lets you know that you can tune to WOR 710 to listen to the game. This didn't happen for reasons I've already covered, but at least I got the score.

At that point it was still 10-6, but the Mets continued to creep back against the Pu-pu platter that is Philly's bullpen. Cecchini drove home a second run in the 8th and the Mets had the tying run at the plate, but Rivera popped out and so did Nimmo. In the 9th, the Mets made one more run at it against Michael Mariot. Jay Bruce pinch hit with one out and hit a Home Run, which felt like his first hit in a Month, to make it 10-8. And by this point I'd gotten home and turned the game on, just in time to see Mariot walk Eric Campbell and Michael Conforto to bring up Lucas Duda, certainly a good candidate to fire the winning blow. But he popped out and flung his bat away in such a display out of character. Travis d'Arnaud followed and, well, he could pop one out too, but he didn't either, instead grounding back to Mariot and the Phillies hung on to win.

You try not to get too worked up about these losses, which are bound to happen when you go from the specter of Matz and Syndergaard starting games to Ynoa and Gilmartin. This patchwork rotation stuff can only carry you so far and tonight it bit the Mets in the ass. Fortunately, the Mets might be able to get through the rest of this thing with only 4 starters thanks to a well-placed off day so maybe we don't have to do this again. Either way, the Giants won, the Wildcard race is tied again, and now the Mets have one more Home Game left, and I'll be there, and I have no idea if it's going to be the last time I'll be at Citi Field for 2016. So it stands to be a really weird day all around.

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