Who says the Mets don’t have any fight left in them? Hits and runs are another matter, of course, and few of either were produced by the home team across an unlucky 13 innings Thursday night at Citi Field.
This was the one with the three-minute rain delay that never made it to the tarp stage. The one with few commercials and many SNY gimmicks, the best of them Kevin Burkhardt joining the grounds crew (pre-rain) for a drag of the infield, not to be confused with this drag of a game. The one that featured Niese and Kyle Lohse mowing down each others’ teammates, which was probably a more impressive feat for Niese, considering he wasn’t the pitcher permitted to face the Mets. The only obstacle Jon Seether couldn’t overcome was his fireplug of a manager leaping out of the dugout with two out in the eighth to remove him when he was in full cruise mode.
Niese came out despite his well-earned objections (1 R, 6 H, 1 BB, 8 K), Jeurys Familia went in and the 1-1 status quo remained intact. Extra innings rolled around, not unlike the tumbleweed that presumably blew through the Promenade food court. The Mets still didn’t hit. The Brewers still didn’t hit. The commercials still didn’t air as SNY got in touch with its inner public-access self. The rain still didn’t stop but there were no more microdelays. All bullpenning from both sides proved impenetrable for the longest time, though Brandon Kintzler needed a little help, first from his Roenicke-rigged five-man infield, which cut down a run at the plate, and then from a one-man dispenser of vigilante justice who would never be tolerated in civilized society.
The bases were loaded with Mets in the eleventh — you could already guess that wasn’t going to end well, but still. Anthony Recker worked a two-two count before taking the world’s first low, outside strike…as called, of course, by Angel Hernandez, truly an innovator in the art of creative officiating. Recker was so disgusted that he didn’t get the chance to strike out honorably like most Mets that he furiously and instantly informed Hernandez of the myriad shortcomings he displays in his chosen profession. Giving Angel Hernandez an excuse to eject a catcher in extra innings is like giving an ape a banana. Of course he’s going to take it and stuff it in his umphole. So no, Recker shouldn’t have gotten himself thrown out, what with Collins’s bench down to Taylor Teagarden and splinters, but it’s Angel Hernandez in the eleventh. Who among us could resist vocally assaulting let alone bodily harming that arrogant piece of inaccurate dreck for one mist-soaked second if he was standing inches away…or closer than “strike three” was?
Anthony Recker: player of the game. Well, him or Burkhardt. We’re gonna miss that entertaining young man when he’s gone.
After the Mets allowed Angel Hernandez his chance to get the Brewers out of that jam (though, to be fair, they didn’t exactly help their own cause by sucking at hitting), Carlos Torres came in and walked a pretty nifty tightrope himself, stranding a pair of Brewers in the twelfth. Whereas Collins couldn’t help but pull Niese, he also couldn’t help but leave Torres in, and Carlos the Workhorse finally paid the price for overuse, getting clobbered in the thirteenth and then commencing to clobber himself. Trailing 5-1, the Mets proceeded to go down to characteristically efficient Francisco Rodriguez, 1-2-3, which, coincidentally, was the total crowd by the time the game was over.
Abandoned stadium. Lineup cobbled together from minor league callups. Manager and ballclub playing out the string. It was just one of those all-too-familiar late September evenings at Citi Field. Too bad it took place in the second week of June.