Saturday’s Mets game can be broken down into three convenient segments.
1) Top of the first through the top of the eighth
Cubs, taking advantage of dopey defense and ordinary Capuano (which is to say solid yet relentlessly unexciting), build 3-0 lead over Mets, who, in turn, do nothing with Randy Wells.
No further comment necessary.
2) Bottom of the eighth
Now this part was fun.
Willie Harris walks as a pinch-hitter, thereby negating the strong impression that Willie Harris never does anything as a pinch-hitter.
Jose Reyes, with a hitting streak on the line and a batting average lead in perpetual jeopardy, lashes a double into the gap, which is in itself exciting.
Harris turns on the speed I forgot he has (remember when Willie Harris seemed so otherworldly — before he was a Met?) and scores to put the Mets on the board at last.
The Second Baseman Known as Ruben Tejada singles, though in such a way so that Jose can only motor to third (Jose doesn’t seem quite as quick as he used to, does he?).
David Wright singles like he means it, driving home Reyes, making it 3-2, and suddenly this Saturday didn’t seem so somnambulant after all.
With Tejada on third, Wright moves himself up to second on a daring steal.
Pagan is no help, but then Jason Bay — who is help after serving nearly two seasons as the human equivalent of an S.O.S. flare — does what the Jason Bay of the moment does. He singles hard to left, bringing home the tying and go-ahead runs.
As if they are that would-be flash mob from that cell phone commercial, the Mets offense (sans trenchcoats and disapproving expressions) gather without warning and produce a 4-3 lead — an excellent phenomenon on its own terms, plus it carries the potential to make a winning pitcher out of Daniel Herrera, of whom a little goes a long way.
3) The rest of the game
Bay gets picked to apply an abrupt dimmer switch to the Mets’ flash.
Then Wright makes an error to start the Cubs’ ninth.
And Parnell — who, it took me five months to decide, reminds me greatly of Kenny Powers’s brother on HBO’s Eastbound & Down (though Kenny Powers’ brother has a real Rise to the Occasion scene late in Season One) — continues to shrink in stature, and I don’t mean in the Daniel Herrera sense, ’cause that dude stands a little figuratively taller every day by getting batters out when needs to…unlike Parnell.
And Aramis Ramirez is intentionally walked, which I find silly, no matter that the idea of loading the bases with Parnell pitching is just as silly.
And the idea that Parnell is a closer is silly, too; I’d rather see Daniel Herrera at this point; or Manny Acosta; or Josh Stinson; or Kenny Powers, for that matter.
It is as if the Mets didn’t get the message that they had to keep playing (well) clear to the end of every game. Perhaps they, like the guy who breaks into his dance routine at Grand Central a half-hour too early, should look into a new plan.