I am happier than anyone with how the Mets have been playing lately.
The team is getting offensive production from unlikely sources, the bullpen has been miraculous and Mike Pelfrey seems to be getting back on track.
However, all of a sudden, shades of the 2009 injury plague have crept back to the team. David Wright and Ike Davis are out, forcing the team to reach into its minor league system to pull up able bodies.
Though the team has managed to stay afloat so far, last night’s loss could be the initial dagger in the Mets hearts.
Pelfrey was tasked with keeping pace with arguably the best pitcher in the NL in Josh Johnson, and he did just that.
All the Mets needed was one run, and the rain soaked game would come to an end.
The team had a golden opportunity in the bottom of the ninth, after a Hanley Ramirez error put Justin Turner on second base. If Jason Pridie could get down a bunt, the winning run would have been 90 feet away with one out.
Pridie had been doing all the little things perfectly, but his failure to get down the bunt cost the Mets in the end.
Fast forward to the bottom of the tenth, when the Mets once again threatened. Turner stepped to the plate with first and second and one out.
In one of the most bizarre plays I’ve ever seen, Turner hit a hard ground ball to short that handcuffed Ramirez and looked like it would set up a bases-loaded situation with Carlos Beltran due up.
However, the ball deflected off Ramirez’s shoulder right to Omar Infante at second base for the first out. Infante barehanded the deflection and threw onto first to complete the double play. Side retired.
As if things couldn’t get any worse from there, Burke Badenhop delivered the go-ahead RBI single the next inning…BURKE BADENHOP! The guy is a middle relief pitcher! He should’t be getting clutch hits with the game on the line.
The funny thing is that he was allowed to hit because the Marlins wanted to get at least another inning out him, but once he delivered this hit, he was lifted for Leo Nunez.
Though Jon Niese gave Mets fans a brief glimmer of hope with a triple, Jose Reyes struck out after a good battle with Nunez, who has been virtually unhittable this season.
This game is the type of loss that can really mangle a team’s confidence, especially now that some key players are on the disabled list.
Winning last night’s game would have given the the Mets the realization that they are capable of gutsy performances, even without some of their stars.
Tough losses happen to every team during the course of a season, but the real competitors are made apparent by how they bounce back the next day.
If the Mets come out with fire tonight, they will avenge the loss and hopefully get back on track. The team had won 7-of-10 games before last night, and will need these types of stretches to keep pace in the division.
I’m looking forward to seeing how the team responds. The young guys trying to make a name for themselves (Turner, Pridie, Ruben Tejada, Nick Evans, Daniel Murphy) would be wise to show the passion and energy that got them to the bigs in the first place.
Follow me on Twitter @JMMancari.