….he might prefer something other than this t-shirt. Of the sorta-kinda-almost recovered New York Mets, the Sun’s baseball columnist writes, despite 3 consecutive wins in Miami, “they seem less than the sum of their parts, and even when they win, sometimes it’s like they’re going down without fighting.”
Yesterday, for instance, with the Mets down by one, Willie Randolph brought in Guillermo Mota, who these days is giving up more than a run per batter faced. He managed to not give up a run, and in the Mets’ next turn at bat, they managed to score four, with Carlos Delgado getting a much-needed big hit. Since Mota had managed not to blow things, it was clear someone else would, and of course he did: Aaron Heilman walked the first two batters he faced and hit another while giving up two. Then, Billy Wagner surrendered a home run to the first batter he saw.
A team that wins after playing like this has not so much won as not lost. The Mets did the same on Friday, when they scored eight unearned runs in a game they won by three. Every good moment seems a bit tainted. Yesterday, David Wright scored a game-tying run, speared an eighth-inning line drive to get out of a jam before Heilman imploded, and drove in the game-winning run to cap a series in which he’d gone 9-for-18. All of this, though, just made up for Thursday’s game, in which he inexplicably threw away a routine grounder that should have ended the game, which the Mets went on to lose. Saturday’s win, behind a brilliant Oliver Perez start, was a great one. But then the Mets went out the next day and blew up once again.
It’s been a long time since the Mets won a World Series. Babies born the day Bill Buckner booted the famous ball are just a month away from legal drinking age. Ever since then, every Mets team has been under enormous and increasing pressure. Years of frustration are starting to weigh on the fans. Still, it’s almost as if everyone has forgotten the team’s whole history. Every time they fall apart, they somehow come back stronger. Wright throws away a ball to blow a game. Then he goes out, and for three days proves that he deserves the MVP award. It’s a perfect Mets story. One more win, and they just might get to be likable again.
Phillip Humber, rather than Diabolical Dave Williams, will start for the Mets against the Nationals on Wednesday night. While queasy persons who may or may not look like me contemplate a postseason roster spot being wasted on an injured El Duque for the second year in a row, Rickey Henderson would like to assure us that if activated, “I could outrun the guys on my team. They’re fast but they ain’t that fast.”