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Oh Hell / It’s Miguel

From The Lesser-Known Haikus and Other Poetry of Miguel Batista, Vol. 4:

I throw a baseball
Then it flies the other way
But now much faster

Like Jon Niese the night before, Chris Young was good — one bad pitch in six innings, and he even contributed a double. Yes, that third time through the opposing order was problematic again, but what did you want Terry Collins to do?  He had a starter who was cruising, albeit under a small-sample statistical red flag. He could hope Young dodged his own recent trend, or he could turn it over to the bullpen, whose members are nothing but larger-sample statistical red flags. If the Mets hadn’t supported Young with a big goose egg to that point, Adam LaRoche’s two-run homer might have been a blemish, instead of the mistake that ruined the ledger.

With Young having departed and the Mets having cut the Nats’ lead to 2-1, Collins went to the bullpen to bring in … Miguel Batista. Saturday’s starter was as consistent and reliable as he’s been all year, giving up two runs to turn the Mets’ upward struggle into a near vertical face. The Mets fought back in the ninth, with David Wright and Jason Bay (!) smacking home runs, but this time Tyler Clippard struck out Jordany Valdespin, and this once-happy souffle of a season has deflated all the way to one measly game over .500 [1].

Miguel Batista, Jesus. I’ll freely admit he’s become my 2012 Mets scapegoat — that guy who isn’t actually all that important to the fate of the team, but whose presence on the roster leaves me sputtering in fury, beyond the reach of logic or rationality. As with Alex Cora a few years back, Batista seems to be here because he’s a good clubhouse guy, because he has the fabled intangibles that have left rosters clotted with creaky, crappy players for decades.

I don’t doubt that Batista is indeed a mentor and a teacher and all that — I’ve heard it enough times from enough sources. But my goodness — Batista’s intangibles have to be pretty much off the charts to come anywhere near the metronome of suck that are his tangibles. I’d send him packing in a heartbeat for a reliever who was an enormous asshole with nothing to teach anybody and whom nobody liked, provided he could actually pitch.

Oh, and then after the game Batista told the beat reporters he thought the Mets were better than the Nats — best team in baseball, in fact. Is being delusional a useful intangible?

Look, the season’s not over — the Nats will have their own ebb, to use Sandy Alderson’s language from yesterday. (Though boy does Bryce Harper look good. Is this what it was like watching Mickey Mantle before he stepped in that drain?) There’s a second wild card out there. The long-term plan still looks on track. And hey, even if the Mets once again are felled by a second-half swoon, even if they finish under .500, this was the year we got a no-hitter. In March, if you’d offered me 78 or so wins, encouraging years by a number of young players, a resurgence for David Wright, a likeable team, the feeling that better days are ahead and a no-no, I’d have signed on the spot. In blood.

Could I be happier? Well, of course I could be. It’s the nature of being a sports fan to get nice things and then want more. The Mets could go to the playoffs, for instance. But since that dream seems to have once again died in post-All-Star dust, how about the Mets get wherever it is they’re going without broken-down retreads who can’t pitch and say risible things in the clubhouse?