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Simply Marvelous

Don’t bother, Mickey [1],” I wanted to tell the beleaguered manager of the New York Mets after his club dropped and I do mean dropped its second consecutive extra-inning game [2], this one on a patently unbelievable albeit hauntingly familiar defensive misplay, “we didn’t touch home plate, either.”

One sometimes forgets when the bullpen falters or the left fielder is psyched out by the presence of the shortstop and an opposition baserunner scampers 270 feet to decisively break a scoreless tie that, oh yeah, it was as scoreless on our end as it was on theirs. Had the Mets been determined or destined to win Friday night’s ad hoc sequel to Thursday night’s extended debacle [3], they might have thought to put a run on the board somewhere between frames one and ten. Maybe they thought about it, but they didn’t come close.

To be fair, neither did the Giants. The Giants couldn’t do anything against Jacob deGrom [4] for seven innings, which put them in the company of the entire universe from 2018 and more lineups than not of late in 2019. And going for the Giants, doing such a deGrommian job of stymieing the Mets? Not Madison Bumgarner like the night before or so many nights when Bumgarner has been impregnable to all manner of Met attack, compiling a 1.50 ERA in 72 regular-season and ahem postseason innings against our lads. Not Juan Marichal, who posted a 2.13 ERA in 342.1 innings against the Mets as part of his Hall of Fame ledger.

No, Tyler Beede. Or, yes, Tyler Beede. Either way, Tyler Beede.

It’s not fair to compare Beede to Bumgarner or Marichal, though it appears the Mets can’t tell any of the three apart, for the Mets couldn’t touch Tyler Beede. The most they could make was incidental contact, totaling three hits in eight innings. It was the twelfth MLB start lifetime for the 26-year-old righty. Perhaps someday Beede will be remembered by San Franciscans with the same reverence reserved for the likes of the Dominican Dandy or MadBum (nicknames used to be so much better). Or, just maybe, the Mets, as the Mets will, elevated some run-of-the mill starter to the ranks of the immortal for one evening.

The Mets didn’t hit Tyler Beede, they didn’t hit Will Smith and they didn’t hit Sam Dyson. Ten innings, no hitting to speak of. Definitely no scoring. Thus, after deGrom gave it the Full Jacob; Luis Avilán [5] chipped in a scoreless inning; and Jacob Rhame [6] surprisingly didn’t implode the second his foot made contact with the pitching rubber, it was nothing-nothing. And you know what Billy Preston said [7] about nothing from nothing.

Thus, in the bottom of the tenth, with nothing yet lost but absolutely nothing gained, it goes down like this: Rhame walks Alex Dickerson. He strikes out Brandon Belt. He strikes out Austin Slater. He elicits a presumably catchable fly ball to left from Pablo Sandoval. The eleventh inning and the promise of more nothingness beckons. The Mets seem slated to keep going and do little while the seagulls flock to whatever it’s called this year stadium and commence their midnight snacking.

In left, Dominic Smith [8] charges in to make the catch. From short, Amed Rosario [9] tracks back to make the catch. Where have we seen this exercise in physical comedy play out before? Why, at Citi Field, in another game against the Giants [10], less than a year ago. This version was a lighter on the pratfalls but generally true to the classic slapstick form. Shortstop and left fielder, both celebrated in the same paragraph for their emerging offensive talents [11], reached a mutual conclusion that Sandoval’s ball should not be caught. Or if somebody’s gonna catch it, it ain’t gonna be accomplished in the first-person.

“You got it!” proves as ineffective this July as it did last August. The ball eludes the glove closest to it — Smith’s — and trickles away. Dom turns to retrieve it. Dickerson, that rascal, runs, runs and runs some more. He rounds second. He rounds third. Smith picks up the ball and fires it to Todd Frazier [12]. Frazier receives Smith’s throw and directs a perfect strike to his imaginary teammate, catcher Ramos Wilson, not to be confused with actual catcher Wilson Ramos [13], who was standing on a different side of the third base line from the one to which Frazier threw. A relay aimed properly at a fellow fielder probably nabs Dickerson, provided it’s caught. Then again, catching isn’t necessarily a core fielding competency of these Mets, not even for the catcher.

However you choose to apportion DRNS (defensive runs NOT saved), the Mets still lose, 1-0, in ten. They lose in what even we who adore them in spite of themselves and defend them to the death to the outside world would have to admit was extremely Metsian. And they did it late it at night, threading the needle between keeping us from falling fully asleep while they played and leaving us agitatedly awake once they were done. A simple fly ball dropping to the grass is what we see in our insomniac visions. What we don’t spot is any Met producing any run.

Which is to say, rest easy — the Mets were probably gonna find a way to not win this game even had Smith caught that presumably catchable fly ball.