|This image is not from last night, but it might as well have been|
First place was for the taking at least 3 times last night. Their inexperience, however, shown through at every corner, and awful defense led the Mets to lose the game, 6-7, in 12 innings.
Throughout the course of this year, a big story with this team has been the production they've been able to get from the men they call up from Buffalo. Tonight, the lack of Major League experience was a huge detriment. Jordany Valdespin, who had a good night off the bat and was a reason the Mets were even in the game, botched a ground ball to open up the 10th with Parnell on the mound and the Mets leading 5-4. Even worse, however, was the potential double play he screwed up with runners on the corners and 1 out. That just made my head explode. Even Terry Collins said a couple weeks ago he didn't think Jordany was all that good at short. He had first put him in left field after Jordany pinch-hit in the 6th but then moved him to short an inning or so later. Terry (and all of us) got burned. There were other instances where the inexperience show through, such as Josh Satin striking out with runners on the corners and a chance to add to our lead (the Mets never could get those insurance runs they needed.) Of course, there was also Elvin Ramirez, who was asked to pitch two innings in this one for his 2nd Big League appearance. He wasn't horrendous but didn't make certain pitches, threw certain ones to the backstop (ones that Josh Thole did not get in front of) and ended up taking the loss. This was just a game where this young team fought for 1st and battled, but couldn't make the right plays at the right time.
The Buffalo kids weren't the only culprits. All around, the ball was being mishandled by some who we would consider relative vets at this thing called baseball. Daniel Murphy botched a double play ball in the 8th with the Mets up 4-3. Chalk that up to inexperience at 2nd as well, but he should make that play by now. Ike Davis botched a double play ball in the 10th, right after Jordany botched one. Apparently there is a mandate that Ike strike out every time so if he's not going to make the defensive plays that help us win, I don't know what his use is up here.
Obviously, the loss is still a little sour, making me forget a bright spot in the game besides how much we battle. Chris Young pitched in the Majors for the 1st time in over a year and was solid, continuing to get pop ups on his 85 MPH fastball. Let's see how he does as he gets stronger and can go deeper.
Speaking of which, Ron Darling brought up a good point in the post-game: Why are you going into an early division battle short-handed in the bullpen, especially with Chris Young going? Jon Rauch was in New York for tests on his elbow. He'll miss this series but won't be put on the disabled list. The lack of bullpen depth was exposed as the game got further into extra innings.
There was too much wrong with how the Mets went about losing this game, including moves Terry made, so I'm gonna stop here. Time to move on, learn from it, tighten everything up and get 'em the next time out.
The Mets will bounce back tonight at 7:05PM. Righty Jeremy Hefner will take on the right-handed Edwin Jackson. Let's take the series the next 2 days and head into the Bronx with our heads held high.
LET'S. GO. METS.