You know why Tuesday night’s loss to the Marlins felt as familiar as it felt sickening? Because it was very familiar.
Thanks to Baseball Reference (how did I ever live without it?), I was able to find that the Mets have lost 68 road games to the Florida Marlins since their inception in 1993, including the last two at Hiram Bithorn Stadium. Do you know how many have come down to one potential swing of the bat?
Almost all of them.
Of the 68 games we’ve lost at all the various iterations of Joe Robbie Stadium plus HBS, 62 have been by 4 runs or less. Only six times have the Mets not been at least one grand slam away from tying it before losing it. You could file that under Never Say Die, but we know that eventually they did say “die” and it inevitably involved a great deal of thrashing and coughing up blood.
Before Monday night (which had been a four-run game before Ryota Igarashi extended the deficit into never mind! territory in the eighth), the last time the Mets dropped an overwhelming “oh well, whaddaya gonna do?” decision dropped to the Marlins on the road was September of 2006, shortly before we clinched the N.L. East. Dave Williams was lit up early and often, and we could cuddle with a large division lead for consolation if we needed any. Since then, almost every loss in Miami — 13 of the 14 games we haven’t won — have been by excruciatingly thin Marlin margins:
• 7 by 1 run (5 of them walkoffs plus the loss that hinged on Daniel Murphy’s left field misadventure)
• 4 by 2 runs
• 1 by 3 runs
• 1 by 4 runs (which the Mets led 3-2 before surrendering 5 in the bottom of the eighth)
The only recent outlier prior to Monday was a five-run loss on May 14, and that was an Ollie Perez special, excruciating in its own right for the involvement of Ollie Perez. Hopefully, last night’s two-out festival of futility is not the beginning of yet another trend (and I don’t mean let’s go back to losing by eleven).
By comparison, the Marlins have lost 74 games at Shea Stadium and Citi Field since 1993, and 17 of them have been by more than 4 runs, meaning 23% of their away defeats to the Mets have been dispiriting but not necessarily crushing. When the Mets travel to lose to the Marlins, 91% are by 4 or fewer runs. We may not lose by much, but we are almost inevitably crushed.
Thanks, I think, to Kevin From Flushing for mentioning the proliferation of Met walkoff losses and making me dig into the pain just a little bit deeper.