There are summer nights when you sense fall’s coming and you want to hold baseball as tightly as you can.
This wasn’t one of those nights. This was a night when you wanted to shove baseball as far away as possible and run from it.
The Mets started out OK in LA, what with Curtis Granderson clubbing a leadoff homer. But then they proceeded to play like they were using shovels instead of gloves. And then to play like they were using shovels while blindfolded. And then to play like they were using while blindfolded and wearing straitjackets. Wilmer Flores made a bad error, and then another one so atrocious that you feared for his safety out there. Jon Niese benefited from opposing pitcher Dan Haren bunting through a pitch on a suicide squeeze, but the Mets’ inefficient rundown allowed the Dodgers to put a new runner on third, whom Haren then drove in with a single. David Wright made an error that was generously converted to a hit. Lucas Duda let an easy pop-up clank off his glove. Travis d’Arnaud threw another ball into center field.
It went on and on, into the night, while you stared at the TV and stewed.
The Mets are not only not hitting enough to beat opponents; they’re barely hitting more balls than they drop.
The team was right to put Flores at shortstop instead of the profoundly useless Ruben Tejada, but Flores is regressing to the mean-spirited scouting reports about him: He shows no sign that he can handle the position, and no particular sign that he can shake off his defensive shortcomings and hit. Since Flores is basically a DH, this inability to hit is not a positive development, though perhaps he’s just politely refusing to show up his teammates.
Speaking of showing up teammates, nothing that happened tonight was particularly Niese’s fault, and he behaved himself on the mound. But watch him now use this latest catastrophe as license to sulk and suck the next 8,000 times things go poorly behind him. (Is that a cheap shot? Yeah. I dislike Niese – sue me.)
One of the unpleasant side effects of replay review is inexperienced umps who aren’t ready for prime time: add Adam Hamari to the list of umps who don’t have enough experience to handle a big-league game but are out there anyway. Hamari was horrible, particularly on the shin-high strike he called on Curtis Granderson to turn a bases-loaded situation in the top of the eighth into the end of an inning. But one of baseball’s coarsest sayings is also its wisest: When you’re going horseshit they fuck you.
Are the Mets horseshit? On second thought, that seems harsh. Birds derive useful nourishment by pecking through horseshit in search of undigested oats. I’ve pecked through what the Mets left behind tonight and all I feel is nauseated. Horseshit 1, Mets 0.