The 2008 Mets and 2008 Padres both seem to be suffering hangovers after stumbling through the floor in 2007. If the 1965 Phillies could take on the 1979 Red Sox, this would be the weekend it would happen.
Grrr…reasonably well-played game, I suppose. Grrr…a shame someone had to lose. Grrr…if it had been a postseason contest, it would be talked about for some time to come.
Come to think of it, if Friday night's nailbiter had unfolded amid a playoff atmosphere, then we would have won, 'cause Trevor Hoffman would have blown the save.
Cheap shot! Particularly unseemly considering we lost. But cheap shots are all I got after two consecutive 2-1 losses to a Padres team I had been led to believe was far more pathetic than we are. On paper, they sure are. In direct competition, it's all about the same.
Who am I kidding? If these were the playoffs, we'd be as absent as they'd be based on most recent available data.
Pads owe us a couple now as payback for taking the heat they deserved as much as we did in the closing days of 2007. San Diego was a mirror image of the Mets last September, an under-the-radar West Coast version of no-way-they'll-be-caught but got caught anyway.
Seven up with 17 to go, meet one strike away. Not so pleased to make your acquaintance.
You may have some dim recall that Hoffman just needed to throw one more ninth-inning pitch by Tony Gwynn, Jr. — if I made up that name, you wouldn't believe me — to vault the Padres to the Wild Card they'd been positioned to win for an eternity. But with two outs and a 2-2 count, the son of the biggest Friar of them all lashed a triple down the right field line at Miller Park, tied matters up and sent the Padres to an eventual eleventh-inning loss. They lost the next day and then gave away, via the charitable impulses of Hoffman, a two-run lead in the thirteenth to the onrushing Rockies in Game 163.
Had you heard about any of this? Did you even notice the Padres doing a mini-Mets thousands of miles away? Somewhere during the final week of last season, a Mets-Padres NLDS was pretty close to a TBS coming attraction, almost certainly a probable occurrence. Surely a gross of commemorative t-shirts was manufactured for the occasion.
One can only hope those t-shirts went to a good cause.
It's next year now and the Padres likely won't have to worry about being caught from behind. They're eleven under and eight back in the West, leading only equally disheveled Colorado. The Trevorous travails of September in San Diego — a 4-1/2-game Wild Card lead crushed by a pile of Rox — received scant notice back east where we were obsessed with our own history-making ordeal. Therefore, I have to confess that not only did I enter this series unfamiliar with the 2008 Padres, I am completely surprised to be reminded that the Padres were ever en route to the playoffs in 2007.
Who besides Peavy and Young made the Padres such a mortal lock for such a lengthy portion of last year? Is the absence of their two aces the reason they've fallen off the map so quickly? Could a team whose entire offense can be summed up as Adrian Gonzalez and a prayer have been any good to begin with? Why doesn't Trevor Hoffman blow saves against us? Why is Heath Bell unhittable when in New York he was so not unhittable?
And how have we lost two incredibly tight games to such a bland outfit? Why didn't Wright's bomb go out? Why did it hang up just long enough for Scott Hairston to catch up to it? Why couldn't Johan have been just a little better? Why did Luis Castillo suddenly develop latent jet lag? When did this Gonzalez fellow become the Chase Utley of first basemen? Most of all, how come the San Diego Padres can collapse at the end of a nightmare year, stumble out of the gate into another, all but eliminate themselves by early June and we're the ones who look bad?