The novice baseball fan might infer that a game lost by 15 runs is far worse than a game lost by one. I doubt there's a Mets fan after this weekend who wouldn't set the neophyte straight.
Sunday's blowout shutout in the wrong direction was, of course, a total embarrassment, but it was a standard whaddayagonnado? total embarrassment. Every team tastes a little of that medicine once, maybe twice a year. When 15-0 scores start being inflicted on you with regularity, then it becomes an issue. When it's novel enough so that your announcers are dipping into their mental archives for the time we lost 26-7 or the time Desi Relaford showed a pretty good fastball, it's less gargantuan of a biggie than it would appear at first glance.
That it happened against the Yankees made it less pleasant (if you were at Yankee Stadium III, you have my sympathies), but the unpleasantness meter has a ways to go before again approaching TILT! so soon after the unspeakable farce of Friday night. Even the Yankees looked bored after the fourth inning. That it happened not with Nelson Figueroa on the mound but with Johan Santana, well, that's certainly cause for concern. Johan swears he's fine. We have no choice but to believe him, just as we have no choice but to believe in him. It's been a little while since Johan was solving global crises in between opposing hitters, but he's Johan. He's entitled to a few less than Santanarrific starts, such as those he's been compiling since San Francisco, and perhaps one that's a total Brett Hinchliffe. If you can't have faith in Johan for the long term, you can't have faith in anything.
That it happened less than 48 hours after Friday night is what really gnaws here, because had Luis Castillo — still a Met, incidentally — caught that popup and (though you never assume anything) Fernando Nieve & Co. had still done their thing successfully Saturday, we could look at a hollow, punchless, gutless 15-0 loss not as an example of the Mets letting down, surrendering and stressing us about how they'll play the rest of this tough month, but as a sour note that ended an otherwise gratifying two-out-of-three trip to the Bronx. And had a couple of hits or breaks gone their way against Philadelphia during the week…word is ifs, buts, candies and nuts make great Flag Day gifts.
The only Met who showed a hint of fight Sunday, you might have heard, was Frankie Rodriguez, who told Looney Skip Bruney to stuff your sorries in a sack, mister after Bruney reportedly tried to apologize to K-Rod for mouthing off about…oh, whatever. It's Mets For Me covers the kerfuffle with its usual Amazin' aplomb.
My rule on this sort of thing is simple: the Met's point of view is the correct one. For example, if it were a Met complaining about Joba Chamberlain's idiotic histrionics, the Met would be correct. Because it is a Yankee whining that an all-time great like Frankie is expressing unbridled joy at helping his teammates win a game, the Met is right to take offense. Frankie Rodriguez didn't pitch in the series finale and he gets my vote for Met of the game.
Not that the Mets who did play provided anybody with anything resembling competition.
METSTOCK: 3 Hours of Pizza and Baseball is coming to Manhattan on Thursday, June 18, 7:00 PM. Meet the authors of A Magic Summer, Mets By The Numbers and Faith and Fear in Flushing: An Intense Personal History of the New York Mets, talk baseball with us, watch the Mets beat the Orioles just as they did in '69 with us and have a generally great time. Details here.