Swish that saliva…prepare that hock…ptui! Gotta get the bad taste of an eleven-inning loss out of your mouth.
Yeech. Bad game. Lost at the bat, in the field, on the mound and by the manager. No one culprit. All are guilty.
And yet? It's just a loss. Just a loss even though it snapped an encouraging four-game winning streak. Just a loss despite it tripping up what was becoming standard-issue ninth-inning Met resilience. Just a loss to the, yeah, Cardinals, a team whose players and followers (save for the dude in the ANKIEL 66 jersey I said hi to in the loge concourse) I care for less and less with each passing second, but also the Cardinals whose ability to end a season with one hellaciously unlikely homer and bracing final out no longer exists — not this month, not this year. And just a loss despite my personal disappointment that my host and friend Rich deserved a win on his 47th birthday and that I came one lousy Julio Franco tapout from inking an 11th W in the '07 portion of The Log.
But it didn't happen. The Mets have stopped hitting almost altogether again. It's not as disturbing as when they were doing it in the swoon portion of June because their starting pitching has been so darn good. Maroth, newly National Leagued and totally lefty, I expected impotence against yet we got away with it. Todd Wellemeyer? As soon as the Cardinals fan with whom I exchanged pregame pleasantries mentioned Wellemeyer had a huge ERA and thus we should handle him, I was suspicious. Whenever an opposing team's fan tries to sell me on the hittability of his team's pitcher…uh-uh, ain't buyin'. I will note, however, that I'm impressed that the fellow knew the ERA. I long ago stopped keeping close tabs on stats that involve decimal points.
Jose Valentin, temporary hero and partial goat…I guess. He had two balls to field that would have prevented at least two runs had he fielded them, and the second wouldn't have mattered had he gotten to the first because without that first run, the game wouldn't have gone to extra innings which is when the second scored. That is if you believe if in the “everything else would have happened the same way” theory of baseball, which I don't except when it suits my needs. Anyway, Valentin did drive home Green in the ninth with the tying run and did headily move up to third while I was flailing in my high-five attempt with Rich. Plus he's wearing a knee brace and how can you stay mad at Jose Valentin?
Scott Schoeneweis su…nah, I can't type it. It's too easy. We know what it is he does. He does it virtually every time he comes in. For doing it he will be paid $3.6 million bucks, which rhymes with what he does every time he comes in. My question is why couldn't or didn't Wagner stay in one more inning? He threw two innings Monday, granted. But he was smokin' in the tenth. Nine silly little pitches to retire Ludwick, Miles and Stinnett (Stinnett catching Isringhausen and the Mets wind up losing — it was 1995 all over again). You're gonna tell me he couldn't go out and at least start the eleventh? What a waste. Unless he specifically told Randolph he couldn't go, it was a bad managerial move. And if he specifically told Randolph he couldn't go out of some closer's code of conduct, then bad Wagnerian move. Anything that leads to Scott Schoeneweis sucks.
Whoops. Typed it.
We've already taken the season series from the Cardinals if you were keeping track. I can't be certain we'll be at Shea in October but I'm damn sure as one can be after nearly half a season is done that they won't be at Busch. Young Brendan Ryan…ptui!, of course, but it's not haunting. It's just a loss in June to some extraneous visitor from the Central. The Phillies and Braves won. Our leads on those titans of competitiveness are 2-1/2 and 3-1/2, respectively. No cause for massive soul-searching, though. I'm convinced the Mets have rescued themselves from whatever was plaguing them during the long night of 13 out of 16, partly because I say so, mostly because I can't go through another three weeks of bingeing on cringing and whinging.
Eighty-seven games remain in the 2007 season. I'm fairly confident we'll win one of them real soon and then maybe another.
Confidential to the terribly authoritative chatterbox who sat behind me in Section 22, Row H: The Mets' rightfielder who was traded last year has a last name that rhymes with “lady” or “Sadie,” not “laddy” or “Paddy”; it was mentioned several times per Mets game from April through July in 2006. Also, Xavier Nady wasn't traded because Duaner Sanchez came down with a sore arm, but because Sanchez was injured in a traffic accident; it was in all the papers and blogs. Finally, the slow, arcing, old-timey pitch of which El Duque occasionally throws his own version was not known in its heyday as a “gopher ball,” but, rather, an eephus pitch. It became a gopher ball only when hit for a home run, as was the case when Ted Williams knocked one of them out of Fenway Park in the 1946 All-Star Game versus Rip Sewell. You could look it up…or you could just go on factlessly jabbering within earshot of the next reluctantly tightlipped baseball fan who sits in front of you. I think I know what your choice will be.