Saturday, April 17, 2010

Can this count as two wins?

We all saw it. Or at least most of it. I thought I missed the end, then ended up watching the final innings in semi-disbelief.

Put it in the books. The Mets win, 2-1, in 20 innings, scoring both runs on sacrifice flies hit against position players masquerading as pitchers.

But hey, a win's a win.

I have awful luck DVR-ing games. I watched the first four innings live and then started recording, as my son wanted to play some driveway hockey before heading out to dinner for his 8th birthday. Walking into the restaurant, I noticed on the TV over the bar that it was scoreless in the seventh. We got home and played some Wii, and then I put my son to be and settled in to watch the rest of the game around 9:30 or so.

Knowing no runs were scored through seven, I watched much of those innings on fast forward 'til it hit the eighth. Then watched the Mets continue to struggle to hit, glad that Jaime Garcia was finally out of there, but puzzled as to the continued weakness at the plate against Kyle McClellan and guys named Mitchell Boggs and Trever Miller.

The hitting was awful, but the pitching was strong. Johan Santana threw seven scoreless innings -- the team's third excellent start in as many games -- and the bullpen work of Igarashi, Feliciano and Nieve was perfect. Alex Cora even came up big at first base, making a diving catch into the stands.

And then, in the bottom of the 11th, the DVR reached the end of its record time. I had no way of anticipating a couple of extra innings, so there I was, a little after 10 p.m., thinking I was going to have to catch the recap on the Internet.

Imagine my surprise when I absent-mindedly clicked on Channel 5 to see the game was still on, and SCORELESS IN THE 18TH INNING!! Are you serious?

I missed the scoreless relief work of Nieve, Takahashi and Mejia, particularly Takahashi's Houdini-like escape in the 14th inning. Offensively, I didn't miss much -- just more outs by the Mets.

How did the Mets not score seven or eight runs against Felipe Lopez and Joe Mather? Henry Blanco and Mike Jacobs should be ashamed of themselves for flying out against Lopez in the 18th. Unreal. You have to cut Valdes some slack for getting tagged out at second since he's almost never on the basepaths but COME ON, SLIDE!!

Bases loaded, one out in the 19th, and Francoeur hits a ball to left -- you can't hit a homer off a batting-practice fastball by Joe Mather? At least it scored a run. Yeesh.

Then K-Rod comes in. Whereas Tony "I am a Genius" LaRussa left himself with no pitchers, Jerry Manuel still had K-Rod in reserve (granted, he'd warmed up a few times), so this game is over, right? Leave it to a guy named Yadier -- who's had some big hits in his career -- to kill the Mets. Again. Painful.

Luckily, Mather still has to pitch. Pagan and Jacobs (finally!) single, Reyes hits a sac fly (who needs RBI hits, anyway?) and the Mets regain the one-run lead. Then Castillo and Wright shame themselves by popping up. An exorcism may be in order, or some kind of goat sacrifice. Maybe the Mets need the dwarf woman from "Poltergeist" to come into the dugout and say, "These bats... are CLEAN."

A buddy texting me wondered why K-Rod wasn't in the game in the 20th, that he should have DEMANDED the ball. Hey, not his call. He threw 24 pitches and couldn't seal the deal. NEXT. This way, he's available on Sunday.

Plus, Pelfrey was going to throw on the side anyway, not scheduled to pitch again until Wednesday. Why not let the big man get the save?

It was a little dicey, but Pelfrey closed it out, ending the game almost seven hours after it began.

Sure, the Cardinals practically conceded the game with position players pitching, and the Mets came up as small at the plate as you possibly could while still scoring twice to win the game.

But maybe this is a turning point. One of those all-hands-on-deck experiences that pulls the team together. Maybe the hits start coming in bunches after this. The starting pitching has already started to turn around. The bullpen (save for K-Rod) bounced back nicely after a tough loss Friday night.

We can only hope. It's almost impossible to judge this game because there's almost nothing to judge it against, it was so out of the ordinary.

Here's hoping we look back at this game as the moment the cobwebs cleared, the game when the Mets took their first step towards taking back the season. The game when things finally changed for the better.

Oh, and John Maine -- you're on your own Sunday, dude.

1 comment:

  1. Happy birthday to Michael! He's eight already?!?

    Of all the games NOT to be on TV here. Thank you, Fox. I ended up sitting in a bar following it on my phone, yelling out status reports to a few fellow ex-pat New Yorkers. Not a pretty win, but maybe a significant one. At the very least there's something for this year's highlight DVD.