Before tonight’s game, our bloggy colleagues at Amazin’ Avenue asked readers to predict how many wins the 47-48 Mets would wind up with.
My answer: 47, though I admitted that might be overly pessimistic.
Tonight the Mets played the kind of game that they’ve specialized in since the break: Fall behind, catch up thanks to a brief insurrection of competence, then wait around doing not much of anything until their defense betrays them, the bullpen implodes, or both. This time, the disaster began with Ruben Tejada dropping a ball thrown into his glove, and metastasized with Pedro Beato getting whacked all over the park. As a result, for the second straight day the Mets wound up having managed to combine extra innings with a blowout loss, which is the kind of difficult maneuver they can stop performing any time now, thanks.
Witnessing it were my poor wife, a bunch of folks dressed as stormtroopers, and Snooki.
Yes, it was Star Wars Night at Citi Field, and no, I didn’t go. I felt doubly disloyal for not doing so, but a) it was hot and nasty out; b) the Mets are demoralizingly terrible right now; and c) at my house it’s pretty much always Star Wars Night anyway.
Instead I lay on the couch and watched it rain and waited for my team to lose.
I definitely felt sorry for Emily, fuming in the rain. Just like I felt sorry for the guys dressed as stormtroopers — from my cameo in armor last year, I can tell you that it’s oppressively sweaty in those outfits on a pleasant night, which tonight was not. I even felt kind of sorry for Snooki. I don’t really mind Snooki — she was sufficiently ridiculous as a regular person that someone thought she should be on TV, so now she’s ridiculous and famous, which isn’t exactly splitting the atom but is kind of a neat trick. And she really is a Mets fan, for which I give her credit, as it’s far from the obvious choice these days. My objection to Snooki had nothing to do with Snooki herself, but rather with the Mets’ tweeting out breathless updates about her doings, as well as giving her the run of the place. Such sad desperation smacked of a middling Arthur Avenue red-sauce joint taking photo after photo of some C-list celebrity for its wall, to be hung between the images of third-rate bandleaders nobody can remember and blowsy actresses who never got their names above the title. I mean, honestly — the Mets usually reserve such royal treatment for Yankees achieving career milestones at their expense.
I’d say we’re better than all that, but the truth is that we’re not. The Mets are astonishingly horrible right now, undone by a combination of bad luck and long-existing flaws. The former will pass; the latter will take considerably more work. And before the game, the man who will have to do that work made the rounds, muttering about buyers and sellers and things having changed over the last four or five days.
Sandy Alderson knows the Mets aren’t buyers, unless they’d like to get busy locking up plane tickets home for the night of Oct. 3. They realistically ought to be sellers, unloading Scott Hairston and Tim Byrdak and listening to offers for Daniel Murphy and Lucas Duda. (Murph doesn’t have enough punch to overcome his defense, and Duda needs to play first base somewhere.) But reading the various beat-writer reports, the impression is that nobody wants what the Mets are selling. Heck, Duda appears ticketed for Buffalo so they can clear roster space for Matt Harvey, promoted a start too late. At least Miguel Batista is gone. I’ve been deprived of my 2012 Mets scapegoat, though fortunately the current roster offers no shortage of fill-ins.
Oh, and Manny Acosta’s back. Yay?
Part of our job is to record stuff for posterity, so here you go: Chris Young was pretty good, deviating from his usual pattern by giving up a two-run homer to Bryce Harper early but then hanging around later than expected. The Mets clawed back on homers by David Wright and Ike Davis and were a hit away from winning it in the ninth after Murph smacked a hit down the line and outran Harper’s arm for a muddy double, but Jason Bay shocked absolutely no one on the planet by grounding out. Roger Bernadina opened the Nats’ 10th with a bloop single off Byrdak, who then got Sandy Leon to hit a comebacker for a sure double play — except Tejada dropped Byrdak’s throw, getting spiked by Bernadina on a hard but clean takeout slide. That opened the floodgates, with Beato coming in and doing ill-advised things and departing with the Nats up 8-2. In the bottom of the 10th, to add insult to injury, the singularly useless Andres Torres approached second base with the delicacy of a hostess seeing a speck of paprika out of place on a deviled egg, politely not disturbing Danny Espinosa in his duties turning the double play. That incensed Keith and Ron, to the extent they were still capable of it, and led Gary Cohen to grouse about optics. Then a few seconds later the game was over and it was time for Bobby Ojeda to yell and point.
After finishing up with the Nats, the Mets head to the west coast — not a prospect any sane fan looks forward to at the end of July when their team is playing well. Buyers? Ha. The Mets ought to have the decency to warn the Marlins and Phillies about the deadweight plummeting toward them.
To answer Amazin’ Avenue’s question more seriously, I’m sure the 2012 Mets can win around 50.