Tuesday, May 13, 2014
It CAN Get Worse, But I Wish It Wouldn't
But the opening of the four-games, two-ballparks Yankees-Mets series may have been the worst regular-season game in Yankee history. We've had postseason disasters that were worse -- the 2012 ALCS, Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS, the last 3 games of the 2003 World Series, the last 2 games of the 2001 World Series, the last 3 games of the 1995 ALDS, and the last 4 games of the 1981 World Series come to mind -- but as regular-season games go, this one will be hard to top. Or, is that "bottom"?
The Mets got a run off Hiroki Kuroda in the 1st, but the Yankees tagged former Yankee (and Indian, and Angel, and Red Sock, etc.) Bartolo Colon for 4 runs in the 2nd. Three straight singles by Brian McCann, Alfonso Soriano and Yangervis Solarte loaded the bases. Colon struck out Kelly Johnson and got a lineout from Brian Roberts. But then, in one of those things that makes John Sterling say to Suzyn Waldman, "You know, Suzyn, you just can't predict baseball," a grand slam was hit -- by Brett Gardner. It was his 2nd home run of the season.
One does not simply blow a three-run lead. It is folly.
Travis d'Arnaud, the catcher the Mets got from the Toronto Blue Jays who was supposedly making the R.A. Dickey deal tolerable, homered in the 5th. David Wright led off the 6th with a single. And then came a slap to the face. Curtis Granderson, who left the Yankees, signed with the Mets, and followed up his talk about how he'd been told that "true New Yorkers are Met fans," but until recently hadn't been able to hit sand if he'd fallen off a camel, hit one out to tie it up. 4-4.
The Yankees made the Mets pay for that in the bottom of the 6th. With one out, Soriano doubled. Solarte singled him home. On Twitter, I said, "Best 3rd baseman in New York," a reference to Wright being overrated. Johnson, who tends to either hit a home run or nothing at all, hit a triple, scoring Solarte.
Roberts grounded to short, and Johnson was thrown out at the plate, but Roberts reached 1st. Gardner singled him to 3rd. Derek Jeter -- showing Met fans how it's done since 1996, although he didn't do much in this at-bat -- was up. Joe Girardi ordered a double-steal, and d'Arnaud's throwing error to 2nd allowed Roberts to score. Shades of Mike Piazza, whose defensive liabilities canceled out his steroid-aided hitting. (Excuse me, his alleged steroid-aided hitting.)
7-4 Yankees after 6.
One does not simply blow two three-run leads in a single game. It is worse than folly.
Then Girardi made a really stupid mistake: He took Kuroda out of the game, and put Alfredo Aceves on the mound. In 2009, Aceves was a key figure in Title 27. Suffice it to say, if the Yankees rebound, and win Title 28, it will be in spite of Aceves, not with his help. He allowed a leadoff walk to d'Arnaud and a home run to Eric Young Jr. (the Piscataway High School graduate and son of former Met, Rutgers University and New Brunswick High star Eric Young). 7-6.
John Ryan Murphy -- pinch-hitting for Carlos Beltran, an injury to whom would be a big problem -- got to 2nd base with 1 out in the bottom of the 7th. He didn't score, partly because Strikeout Soriano struck (out) again.
Matt Thornton was on the mound to start the top of the 8th. Probably because the Mets had lefthanded hitters coming up. Is he destined to become the new Boone Logan, the lefty pitcher who gets called on to get lefty hitters out, only to find he can't, thus invalidating his purpose in the major leagues?
He got Granderson out to start the inning, and got 2 strikes on Eric Campbell. But Campbell hit a sharp liner off Solarte's glove, sharp enough to be scored a hit instead of an error, and it went for 2 bases. Lucas Duda (who couldn't hit the broadside of a barn going into the game) singled Campbell home. 7-7.
Girardi compounded his bullpen-choice mistakes by bringing in Preston Claiborne. Who allowed a game-winning home run to Chris Young.
Solarte led off the bottom of the 8th with a single, but Johnson grounded into a double play to eliminate him. Roberts singled, but Gardner struck out. How do you get 2 hits off the Mets bullpen in the 8th inning and not get a runner to 3rd? The 2014 Yankees found a way.
There was hope in the bottom of the 9th: The Mets brought in their closer.
Not a Darn's Worth.
Surprising no one, Jeter led off with a walk. Tying run at the plate.
We can do this, people.
Well, yes, we can -- and, no, we didn't.
Jacoby Ellsbury flied out. Mark Teixeira pinch-hit for Murphy, and singled Jeter over to 3rd. Girardi then pinch-ran Brendan Ryan for the injury-struggling Teix.
Runner on 3rd with less than 2 outs? Tying run on 1st? Winning run at the plate? Against Kyle Farnsworth?
I liked our chances.
McCann grounded into a double play. Game over.
Mets 9, Yankees 7. WP: Jenrry Mejia (4-0). SV: Farnsworth (3). LP: Thornton (0-1).
A team hitting as badly as the Mets did over the first 6 weeks of the season should not be scoring 9 runs and getting 14 hits, including 4 home runs, off you in an entire series. The Mets did it to the Yankees in one game.
That is unacceptable.
And now, we go into tonight's game, with Vidal Nuno starting for us, against Met "ace" Zach Wheeler.
As Bill Cosby taught us, Don't ever say, "It can't get any worse." It can always get worse.
But I wish it wouldn't. A Yankee win tonight, considering how many factors are against us, could be the spark that lights the season. It could also be a shock to the Mets' system, sending them back into the abyss, which would be a nice bonus for us.
But we can't consider what it would do to the Mets. We have to be concerned with our own team.
Considering that egg it laid last night, very concerned.