No one can better grasp the meaning of Bart Giamatti’s famous description of baseball than a Mets fan watching his team play the Yankees.
In the series opener, the over-rested no-hit hero Johan Santana had no change-up and was torched for 4 HRs, including 3 in a row, starting with Robinson Cano‘s deja vu first-pitch 2-run bomb, while Hiroki Kuroda (1-5, 5.75 ERA in 7 prior starts vs. NYM) utterly baffled them for 7 scoreless innings.
In game 2, the Mets led 2-1 in the 6th until Dillon Gee tried to bury a curve under Mark Teixeira for the 2nd time in an AB. Hang ’em and bang ’em, as Keith Hernandez says. The Mets threatened in the 7th and 9th, but couldn’t cash.
In game 3, they led 3-0 since the 2nd — could’ve been more, but Jason Bay (0-11 since his return) whiffed with the bases full and 1 out, and David Wright followed suit. With 2 gone in the 7th, Wright bounced a routine throw to first, and Vinny Rottino couldn’t pick it. Russell Martin — allowed to face Jon Niese even though he was hitting .333/1.017 against lefties and .175/.633 against righties — made them pay, planting one atop the RF wall, just beyond Scott Hairston‘s glove. A textbook Yankee Stadium cheapie, yes, but the field plays the same for both teams.
They still led by a run in the 8th, but no Mets fan could have felt confident with this bullpen, this park, this opponent. Derek Jeter led off with a roller to short, do-or-die for a charging Omar Quintanilla; he whiffed, and when the ball trickled into no-man’s land, Jeter hustled into second. Curtis Granderson flicked one into left to put men on the corners. With Teixeira up, they positioned for the DP instead of doing the shift, and Teix grounded one through the middle for the tying run, as Grandy scooted to 3rd. Bobby Parnell got 2 strikes on A-Rod, who didn’t have a go-ahead RBI in the 7th or later in more than a calendar year, but couldn’t put him away. His mile-high pop to shallow right seemed like an easy out, but Hairston, starting from the warning track and not blessed with speed, couldn’t get there, and it fell for the go-ahead hit.
OK, it wasn’t Luis Castillo dropping a last-out pop fly to turn victory into defeat. It still hurts.
There are times I wish I could quit on this team. I tried for 2 months to have no expectations, no aspirations. But they hooked me with “No-han” — even though I know as well as anyone that a no-hitter is ultimately meaningless.
But they just can’t hold a lead; their 13 blown saves is the most in MLB. They don’t give up, it’s true — Lucas Duda and then (who’d’a thunk?) Ike Davis opened the 9th with doubles, tying the game (Soriano‘s first blown save). But that just creates more chances for agita, like Davis making the 1st out at 3rd on a grounder to SS (it wasn’t a bad play, really, just one of those blasted things), or Josh Thole getting ahead 2-0 with the go-ahead run on 3rd and 1 out, then taking a called strike 3, or Kirk Nieuwenhuis (.191 vs. LHPs) having to bat against Boone Logan because we have no bench. So now we’re all set up for a Yankees walk-off….
… and Jon Rauch gets it done straight away, serving it up to Martin (his first game-winning hit in 5 years), taking his 6th loss in his last 14 games (11 runs, 21 hits in 12 IP) along with the Mets’ 6th loss in 7, half of them give-aways.
It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart.