Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Can't Mets Today

The Mets played an eminently forgettable game against the Phillies on Tuesday night in which they managed to progressively abandon all useful fundamentals of the game of Baseball more and more as the game progressed. They blew a lead late in the game and then had a total meltdown once the game went into extra innings, the end result being a miserable 6-2 loss. I'm so glad I was there to be a part of it.

This was, of course, my first night game of the season, and my first April Night game of the season, so it goes without saying that the piss-poor weather conditions already put a damper on the proceedings. The older I get, the less I enjoy these April games, which is kind of disheartening, but let's face it. With age comes common sense and common sense would dictate that it's just not the world's greatest idea to sit outside for close to 4 hours when the temperature is 48˚ with gusty winds. But I guess I won't have wised up for certain until I just don't go in April altogether. That may never happen.

Irregardless, this was my first game in my new seats down in Section 418, as opposed to several seasons in 512 or 513. I thought, by moving down, that I might be escaping some of the riffraff that occupies those sections but I see I'm mistaken; plenty of Metsplainers seem to sit down there as well, speaking loudly, not making sense, getting things wrong and generally doing enough to bother me and yet not enough for me to do anything about it.

There was a game, and Zack Wheeler started for the Mets. Wheeler is still figuring out how to be a Major Leaguer at this point, which is fine. He was hardly what I'd consider crisp, he threw way too many pitches, but to his credit he got himself out of jams every time he was in one and although he only made it through 5 innings, the only run he allowed scored on an Odubel Herrera Home Run. He left with a tenuous 2-1 lead. This probably should have been more, particularly considering the way Zach Eflin came out at the start of the game. Wheeler's command can be erratic, but Eflin's was basically non-existent in the 1st inning. Jay Bruce drove home Michael Conforto with a single to tie the game, and later Cespedes scored on a Wild Pitch. By any indication, this should have been a cakewalk from there.

But that didn't materialize. The Mets basically stopped hitting completely from there and though Eflin didn't impress, the Mets didn't capitalize and so the game remained at 2-1 into the late innings. Hansel Robles threw the 6th and when he inevitably got in trouble, Josh Smoker bailed him out. Smoker took it into the 7th before handing it over to Fernando Salas. Salas got through the 7th and appeared primed to get through the 8th as well before he ran out of gas. I suppose it's an indictment on Terry Collins and the use of his bullpen but a Manager can only use the pieces he's got, and I'm not quite certain why Salas is gassed 3 weeks into the season, but he went and walked Cameron Rupp with 2 outs. He probably had Freddy Galvis struck out outright, but even so he got Galvis to pop up to 3rd, which should have ended the inning except that Jose Reyes had a hard time of Baseball and dropped the ball. I'm not sure what the excuse was—I don't especially care—and after Blevins replaced Salas it seemed mere formality that Andres Blanco would drive home the tying run, and were this a kind world the lead run would have scored too but for Collins challenging the play and the hit being determined to have been a Ground Rule double. So the game was merely tied.

Again, if this game made sense, the Mets would have gotten off the mat and fed the Phillies bullpen their lunch as they are wont to do. But they couldn't hit Edubray Ramos, they couldn't hit Hector Neris, they couldn't hit Luis Garcia even though he seemed determined to hand them the game in the 9th. I feel like it should be a Kangaroo Court offense to swing at a 3-1 pitch in the 8th or 9th inning of a game, because 11 times out of 10 it's a total sucker pitch, but that's what Neil Walker did in the 9th and instead of probably working out a leadoff walk, he flew out and set the stage for the Mets to fade out quietly.

The game then moved to Extra Innings, and everyone basically got up and left, except for me and maybe a couple hundred other people. The people that left had the right idea. It was only getting colder and the game had already stretched well over 3 hours. Rafael Montero took the mound for the 10th and, well, we know what happened from there. More abandoned fundamentals ensued and it didn't help that Montero once again came up small in a key spot and I'm starting to wonder whether he just doesn't have it in him to pitch competitively at the Major League level. It seems to be OK in the minors but he can't pull it together here and I've kind of had enough. A hit off his heel, a pair of rockets, Phillies have the lead, Reyes looks old, Cabrera looks slow and by time the rally can be stopped, 4 runs have scored and the only thing to be done is just finish quickly and get out of there.

Someday I may pass on these games entirely. In fact maybe I've done that already since this is but my 2nd game of the season and this was Home Game #7. In my youth I might have charged out to another game during Opening Week. Now, as it sits, I'm not scheduled to go back until next week. Part of me is entertaining going to one of the Washington games this weekend but I need to be sure of the forecast before I make any further ill-advised decisions.

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