Monday, June 11, 2012

If You Can't Field the Plays, The Games Won't Be Saved

At a game my father and I were present for, the Mets did a bunch of things wrong, including misfielding, bad bullpen pitching and failure to tack on runs. That equation led to the Metropolitans dropping the finale of their crosstown series, 4-5, completing a Yankee sweep and finishing up a week in which they lost 6 out of 7. Day off to regroup, then a tough match-up with the Rays.

Jon Niese was brilliant and lucky, getting out of every jam with the perfect pitch to induce a strike out or double play ball. It kept me uneasy throughout the ball game, for some reason feeling as if trouble would eventually be brewing. It was the way the week had gone, and the only time I had felt we were going to win was when we did win with RA on the mound. I'm usually a very optimistic fan, but that loss last Tuesday was brutal and set a tone for the entire week. Every issue the Mets had facing them reared their ugly heads, and yesterday's game is no different. Failure to get out of the 7th on a David Wright throw in the dirt leads to a Russell Martin home run. Omar Quintanilla's failure to field a tough grounder leads to a bunch of bloopers and the Yanks take the lead against Bobby Parnell. Tying run in and go-ahead run on 3rd with a contact hitter up and 1 out? Strike out looking. Kirk up with an opportunity to get the famed 2-out hit? It eludes us this time. This bad bullpen going into the bottom of the 9th in this bandbox? Nah. It's not happening today. When I saw Rauch on the mound again in the bottom half, I knew this day would not end up well. You could say I'd send good vibes if I was just optimistic, but Rauch and that entire team have to work through their problems on their own. Doesn't matter what a Met fan in the upper deck of Yankee Stadium has in his current state of mind.

Some Yankee fans on the way out said, "I'm sorry." Actually, genuinely apologizing to me. "What're you apologizing for? Did YOU not make plays for the Mets?"

I liked Yankee stadium better this time around. Still don't love it. I really liked old Yankee Stadium and this one isn't the same kind of place to watch a ball game. Our seats were in the upper deck right next to 3rd base. My dad liked it, but wasn't overly enthusiastic about the place. I'll take our flawed creature at the foot of the chop shops in Flushing over the Bronx's flawed creature any day (though I like the look of a city neighborhood over the center field wall moreso than the highway and a uhaul clock tower we see from up there.)

This team, after one of the most jubilatious moments in our history and a 3-game winning streak against the defending champs, entered their biggest test against two teams they had to beat and failed. Every one of the concerns (depth, bullpen, etc.) was exploited these past 7 days. Now is their next biggest test: how do you respond from your worst stretch of the year?

I didn't feel this week, but I still feel the next 5 months will be mostly joyful for the Mets and their fans. Tomorrow night at 7:10PM, when Chris Young takes on Alex Cobb of the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg, The Mets will continue to bounce back from a rough go and show us what they're made of. The 2012 New York Mets.

Believe It.


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