On Monday night, the Mets got not quite enough of what they needed and a bit too much of what they didn’t. While that may sound like a description of any given one-run loss, this one struck me as quintessentially Metsian. I know I’ve seen it before, again and again.
Their starting pitcher could have gotten out of the first relatively unscathed, but didn’t.
Their first baseman could have gotten out of the way of a baserunner, but didn’t.
Their slumping slugger could have delivered a key hit, but didn’t.
Their myriad fly balls that jumped off their bats could have traveled farther, but didn’t.
Their uplifting three-run home run could have completely turned the tide, but didn’t.
Their starting pitcher who righted himself after his rough first inning could have translated his momentum into a great overall outing, but didn’t.
Their perfectly placed bloop between second and center could have fallen in and sparked a rally, but didn’t.
Their relievers working out of potential trouble in tops of innings could have set the stage for redemptive bottoms of innings, but didn’t.
Their manager could have argued an umpire or two into more favorable calls or at least an agreement to seek help from other umpires, but didn’t.
Their last chance against a flamethrowing closer who had recently struggled could have paid off, but didn’t.
This is the Mets loss I saw in 1975 or 1983 or any number of seasons that didn’t — and were never going to — add up to much despite my youthful protestations to the contrary. The difference between now and then is I’m not considerably younger and don’t come away from 4-3 losses like this one to the Reds convinced that we should have won; that by coming close we sort of accomplished something; that because the likes of Shaun Marcum and LaTroy Hawkins pitched somewhat admirably and Marlon Byrd briefly evened the score and Rick Ankiel hit two home runs last week and Ike Davis hit 32 home runs last year and Brandon Phillips couldn’t possibly catch that kind of dying quail again and we really hung in there against Cueto and the umps kind of screwed us when we weren’t screwing ourselves and if only we had a Phillips or a Votto or a Bruce, that, no, the Mets are really good — why does everybody say they’re not?
They’re not. I’m older now and age has granted me the wisdom and insight to recognize the Mets for what they are when they’re not much.