What a kick in the ol’ Brian Bohanons that was Monday night in Atlanta. Three pitches in, the Mets lead on a Curtis Granderson home run. Three innings in, the Mets are ahead, 3-0. Zack Wheeler isn’t sharp but he isn’t exactly shaky, either, at least once he gets going. The Mets, per usual, stop hitting, but Zack expertly nurses a 3-1 lead into the seventh. He is succeeded eventually by Josh Edgin, who exterminates a creeping first-and-second terror when he flies out Shea Freeman, a.k.a. Son of Chipper.
What could possibly go wrong from there?
Turner Field is what could go wrong. Can you believe the Braves wish to depart this House of Horrors? Did a Mets fan infiltrate their board of directors? Is torturing us such old hat that they decided it wasn’t worth the upkeep on the oversized video screen and cola bottle?
After everything that could possibly go wrong went wrong and the Mets aided and abetted Atlanta in turning that 3-1 edge into a three-error, four-run home eighth en route to a sadly predictable 5-3 loss, the Mets’ all-time record at Turner Field fell to 52-96. That’s regular-season only. If we throw in the delightful road results from the 1999 NLCS, it’s 52-99, which means that after 18 seasons of visiting the pit presumably on or near Peachtree (everything down there is on or near Peachtree), the Mets sit on the cusp of losing 100 games in that one particular ballpark.
You know where Monday’s loss — the one in which Jeurys Familia fired a double-play grounder straight into the dirt in front of second base, Juan Lagares overran a single and a chopper (of all Tomahawk-tinged things) ate up Eric Campbell — ranks among the 99 to date in terms of pain delivery system?
Probably not even in the Top 20…or Bottom 20, depending on how you score these matters. Maybe if this were September 1997, when the hell was fresh; or July 1998, when it was codified; or the stretch drives of 1999 to 2001, when it carried genuine competitive consequences; or some more recent campaign more blatantly stripped of hope and dignity, it would have truly stung. Maybe if this were last June, even, when Freddie Freeman was rebranding himself as Larry Jones for a new century.
But this? The Mets taking the wrong message from the World Cup and showing us what experts they’ve become at flopping? They’ll have to do better than give away a highly winnable game if they want to simultaneously impress and depress us. We’ve lived through nearly a hundred of these Turner Field debacles.
What’s one more?