The air is getting cooler and the days are getting shorter as the horsehide is being replaced by the pigskin. It sure felt like football was in the air at Land Shark Stadium in Miami Saturday night. The Dolphins’ end zone was visible near the right field warning track (prompting Gary Cohen to exclaim “he hits it to the end zone…Touchdown, Francoeur!”). The Mets also gave up a touchdown to the Marlins in the fifth inning to turn a lead into a deficit. In the end, the Mets fell short by a field goal, losing to the Marlins by the final score of 9-6.
For anyone who hasn’t been watching the Mets this season, the recap of the fifth inning is all you need to know how this team has been doing. That inning was a microcosm of the 2009 baseball season.
After David Wright gave the Mets a 3-2 lead with his latest “just short of a home run” double, he failed to hustle on Jeff Francoeur’s base hit. When Francoeur was thrown out trying to stretch his single into a double, Wright had not yet scored the potential fourth run. Despite the fact that there were two outs at the time and David should have been running hard as soon as Francoeur made contact, Wright assumed he would score easily on the play and trotted home from second base. Still, the Mets had the lead as John Maine took the mound for the bottom of the fifth inning. That lead was very short-lived.
John Maine labored through the first four innings. After the first inning, he appeared to have some kind of discomfort but continued to pitch and kept the Mets in the game. Then he decided to play butler to the Marlins in the fifth inning by serving up fat pitches on a silver platter.
Maine gave up four hits and a walk in the fifth inning. The final blow came off the bat of Cameron Maybin, a three-run homer to left field that gave the Marlins a 7-3 lead. Interestingly enough, Maybin would not have been in the game had Maine not hit Cody Ross with a pitch in the fourth inning (the first of two consecutive hit batsmen by Maine in the inning). When Ross was forced to come out of the game, Maybin came in as his pinch-runner. Somewhere in the Marlins clubhouse, Cody Ross must have been smiling.
Elmer Dessens didn’t fare much better when he replaced Maine after the Maybin homer. After walking Brett Carroll on four pitches, Dessens finally found the plate. Unfortunately, he found too much of it. He followed the walk by giving up back-to-back doubles to Brett Hayes and Chris Coghlan. The latter two-bagger produced the last of the seven runs scored by the Marlins in the fifth inning.
The Mets tried to rally late in the game against the Marlins as they did in Friday night’s victory. It started with Carlos Beltran’s long home run in the eighth inning and was followed by a two-run error on a ball hit by Luis Castillo. Those plays cut the Marlins’ lead to 9-6. However, David Wright and Carlos Beltran struck out to end the rally and the game.
One run taken off the scoreboard in the top of the fifth inning was followed by seven runs put on the scoreboard in the bottom of the fifth. That one inning summed up the Mets season. Bad baserunning, bad pitching, bad results. Are you ready for some football?
Before we completely switch over to football, there’s still a week of the season left. Tomorrow’s pitchers for the 1:10 PM start will be Pat Misch, he of the one career victory as a starter. He will be faced by Josh Johnson (15-5, 3.12 ERA), who owns a 7-0 career record against the Mets with a 2.30 ERA. Good luck, Pat.
Update on Sunday’s starters: Josh Johnson will not be facing the Mets as I originally stated. He has been scratched from his start because he has the flu. Methinks he just wants to catch some football on the tube. Chris Volstad will take his start. In three career starts against the Mets, Volstad is 1-1 with a 1.86 ERA. My original sentiments remain the same. Good luck, Pat.