Thursday, April 21, 2011

These are the times that try men's souls

At baseball practice Wednesday afternoon, my son announced that he would be going to the Mets game Thursday night.

One of the other dads, an interlocking 'NY' prominent on the collar of his Yankees mock turtleneck, remarked, "Watch the OTHER team."

Snickers followed from a couple of the other kids and parents, but then my son did me proud by replying with a smile, "I'll be sure to do the opposite of that."

Well, son, the man may have a point.

Last night's loss brought to mind the question, is it better to lose by a run than to get blown out? You lose by a run — five of the Mets' last eight losses have been by two runs or less — you're in the game but frustrated by the outcome. You get blown out, you write it off as an anomaly and forget it.

I'd rather be blown out.

So much good stuff undone by yet another mind-boggling and awful end. Four hits and two steals by Jose Reyes, three hits each by Daniel Murphy and Carlos Beltran, solid defense with three double plays, including some nice turns by Murphy, whose two-run homer in the sixth tied the score at 3-3 and made you think that perhaps the game, and the early season, could turn on one swing.

The game turned back on another swing, this one a homer by Hunter Pence, in the eighth, which regained Houston its one-run lead.

And then the disaster, as if on cue. First and third and one out in the eighth, Justin Turner comes up to pinch hit. He strikes out, the ball gets away, and while Keith and Gary didn't mind Angel Pagan trying to score on the short passed ball, it was pretty risky. Then again, when things are going bad, players try and make things happen, and had Pagan's cleat not caught the ground and kicked his foot up over the plate, maybe the game gets tied and we laud Pagan for his hustle.

Instead, double play, end of the inning.

Then Reyes leads off the ninth with his fourth hit, and for the fourth time in the game, Josh Thole makes an out. But this one was extra special, as he failed to get the bunt down and popped it up to the pitcher, Lyon. He catches it, then doubles Reyes off first. Reyes may have hesitated thinking Lyon would let it drop to try and force Reyes, the faster runner, at second base, not realizing Downs had crept in behind him from second base. The hesitation cost him and the team dearly.

Dickey pitched OK after allowing the Astros to go up 3-0, but the Pence homer was a killer. The Mets also loaded the bases with one out in the first and scored zero, another common theme so far this season.

The Mets now have the worst record in baseball, and are 1-8 at home.

But it's only April. There are five months of baseball left.

Is that good or bad?

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