A game this weird really demanded to be played in the middle of the night.
The Mets had 20 baserunners, putting guys on in every inning except the sixth. They turned that into a total of two runs, which came on a leadoff homer by Ruben Tejada (of all people) and a bases-loaded fielder’s choice by Jordany Valdespin in the second. And then, well, it was time for the funhouse ride to begin.
Here’s hoping we don’t see a run of futility like this one again any time soon:
In the third the Mets had first and second with nobody out. Jason Bay — who had another miserable night — struck out. Mike Baxter then struck out on a questionable pitch with the runners in motion, meaning Ike Davis was thrown out by approximately 85 feet.
In the fourth the Mets had a runner on second with two out, and Valdespin lashed a Matt Cain offering over Gregor Blanco’s head in center field for a sure RBI. But Blanco dove and just snared it in the webbing as he crashed to the ground, making a catch you’ll see on highlight shows as long as there are highlight shows.
In the fifth the Mets had David Wright on second with one out, and Daniel Murphy grounded a ball to Marco Scutaro at third. Wright, for some ill-advised reason, tried to go to third and was tagged out by a probably startled Scutaro. Emboldened, Murph then got thrown out trying to steal second.
In the sixth, somehow, nothing happened to the Mets. 1-2-3 inning.
In the seventh Tejada walked with one out and Valdespin hit a sure-fire double-play ball to Ryan Theriot at second. Theriot, apparently auditioning to be a Met, let it go between his legs to put runners at first and second. Wright walked to load the bases, so Ike obligingly hit into the double play.
In the eighth the Mets loaded the bases with none out thanks to two walks and a Victorinoesque HBP by Baxter, who got away with it. Josh Thole grounded to Brett Pill at first, who fired home for one out. Buster Posey’s throw to first hit Thole in the shoulder, sending Mets scampering homeward — but Thole was called out (correctly) for interference. Justin Turner walked to reload the bases, so of course Tejada grounded out.
In the ninth, the Mets had the bases loaded with one out and Bay hit a rocket right back to Brad Penny, who doubled off Murph for the double play.
Meanwhile, Jon Niese was looking good — but he was also Jon Niese, whom I refuse to trust despite his obvious talent. Niese’s body language is reliably terrible when things don’t go his way, which is something I should really get over, as there’s no column in the standings for Deportment. More tangibly, Niese has a bad habit of letting ill luck and lapses snowball, creating disastrous starts where everything caves in and he waits for someone to end his suffering.
A 2-0 lead turned into a 2-1 lead in the sixth when Posey cracked a hanging curve off an ambulance parked behind the fence, but Niese hung in there, bad body language and all. In fact, he pitched a pretty great game before departing after seven (aided by several nifty plays from Wright) and leaving things in the rather iffy hands of Tim Byrdak and Jon Rauch.
Byrdak and Rauch emerged unscathed, so the Mets handed the ball over to Bobby Parnell, who’s a magnet for weirdness and ill fortune even when it isn’t befalling his teammates in each and every inning.
So what did Parnell do? Pitched a 1-2-3 inning for the save, of course.
Baseball. Good luck outthinking it.