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Mets Fail to Completely Screw Up

The Mets played two baseball games on Monday and they were both pretty terrible, even by the low standards of fans who are staring six baseball-free months in the face and would normally take extras with no questions asked.

The first game muddled along without too much horror until the middle innings and then fell apart [1], becoming both embarrassing and unwatchable, with a side of endless. Chris Flexen [2] pitched OK until the third trip through the Braves’ order, when he undid all his work by walking everybody. (This is a wordy way of saying he didn’t pitch all that well.) A parade of Mets relievers arrived to annoy and dishearten those scattered among the acres of empty seats. Bad Mets defense and harebrained Mets baserunning compounded these problems and did little to improve the mood.

Seriously: it was bad, y’all. After the first game, if you’d used a Ouija board to entreat the spirit of Ernie Banks [3] to wander out of a cornfield (don’t do this, it’s rude), the great Cub would have said “actually let’s just play one” and vanished back into the green to get doused with Roundup and let bugs hop around on him.

Instead of sitting in the clubhouse quietly and thinking about what they’d done, the Mets inflicted another game on the paying customers. It wasn’t much better, as the Mets once again showed zero aptitude for running bases or doing the things with gloves that prevent the other team from running those bases. I mean, Travis Taijeron [4] was deked by Ender Inciarte [5] waving his glove at a ball 25 feet over his head, like some mean-spirited mad scientist was trying to make an entire team out of post-homer Hansel Robles [6]es. On our couch, Emily and I laughed at Inciarte … until a replay revealed that this lame gambit had actually worked.

That sums up the 2017 Mets season pretty well, come to think of it.

The Mets were saved, this time, by the fact that the Braves managed to play worse baseball. It was a race to see which Brave would hurt himself first trying to field: luckless left fielder Lane Adams [7] or highly temporary first baseman Rio Ruiz [8].

Even then, the Mets tried their damnedest to give the game back, with Jeurys Familia [9] botching a grounder in the ninth and Dominic Smith [10] (who’s not enjoying his steady diet of offspeed stuff, by the way) inexplicably turning a 3-4-3 double play into a fielder’s choice. Somehow they survived [11] anyway. The day’s positives: Travis d’Arnaud [12] continuing his flurry of games in which he looks both uninjured and offensively capable, Juan Lagares [13] getting right with the BABIP gods, and the hardy little crowd browbeating the Citi Field tech folks into belatedly raising the apple for d’Arnaud’s homer.

That last bit made me laugh, and the show of scruffy Met fan resilience even heartened me a little. Maybe it wasn’t much, at the end of too many hours of careless, slapstick baseball and a season even the most devout among us will be happy to see come to an end. But you take what you can get, even after you’ve endured more than you can take.