A Few Bad Pitches, A Few Bad Swings…

Cue in the morning after the storm…

The morning after the final chapter in the 2010 subway series has concluded and after all is said and done, the Mets and Yankees have drawn even after six games played.  Looking back on the 2010 Subway Series as a Mets fan, one can only think about what transpired, what may have been, and what effect the recent three game series will have on the Mets success here on out.

The three game series at Citi Field was punctuated by three magnificent pitching performances by Takahashi, Pelfrey, and Santana; that ultimately resulted in the Mets taking 2 of 3 games from the Yankees.  The final three game series at Yankee Stadium may have resulted in the same outcome as the first series at Citi Field but the Mets were not as sharp this time around.  In three games at Yankee Stadium, the Mets would win the first one, but then drop the next two games to the Yankees.  These two losses might have resulted in wins if the Mets were at their best when it counted the most, but unfortunately the Mets on the field for those two remaining games appeared to be a little tired and sluggish.

It seemed like the Mets were a few bad pitches, a few bad swings, and a few miscues away from sweeping the Yankees at Yankee Stadium.  All through the Cleveland series, the Mets had been the benefactors of calls, breaks, and luck of the draw; but why would our luck all of a sudden run out when we entered the eyesore of a building called Yankee Stadium. 

In the Saturday matinee billing between Phillip Hughes and Mike Pelfrey; a bitter duel between two 9-1 pitchers of similar age and talent; Mike Pelfrey was two bad pitches away from winning that game for the Mets.  A bad pitch thrown to Mark Teixeira in the 3rd inning with one man on and one man out, and a bad pitch thrown to Curtis Granderson in the 4th inning with one man on and no outs. 

In the Sunday afternoon game pitting Johan Santana against C.C. Sabathia, another rematch from the first subway series that took place back in May, C.C. would get his revenge on the Mets offense and Jason Bay by holding the Mets to only 4 hits, 2 walks, and no runs over 8 innings pitched.  Johan Santana in an attempt to repeat his previous Subway Series performance of 7 2/3 innings pitched while holding the Yankees to 6 hits, 3 walks, and only 1 run; would eventually make one bad pitch to Mark Teixeira to hit a Grand Slam to give the Yankees their only runs of the game.  Granted, one could argue that Santana made a series of bad pitches allowing two straight singles followed up  by a miscue by the Mets when Nick Swisher laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance Gardner (on 2nd) and Jeter (on first) to set up the bases loaded scenario for Teixeira, but none the less, damage may have been limited if Santana was able to get Mark to hit something on the ground.

The lack of Mets offense in the Sunday game also did not help matters, whether it was due to C.C. being dominant, or the Mets bats being tired and sluggish, the fact remains that once again Johan receives little to no run support in his outings.  I am not suggesting the Mets did not have opportunities to plate runs, they most certainly did, but they were squandered by a few bad swings.

One might think “what if” the Mets were able to make that play on Nick Swisher’s bunt leaving first base open and the ability to walk Mark Teixeira instead of having to pitch to him with the bases loaded.  Then pitch to the struggling A-Rod and get him to hit into a inning ending double play getting the Mets out of the third inning unscathed.  What if Mike Pelfrey didn’t give up home run pitches to Teixeira and Granderson in Saturday’s game, perhaps the Mets might have won both of these games, but instead took the losses.

The 2010 NY Mets are a team that makes it’s own breaks, plays hard, works hard, fights back, and gives 110% everyday; but it seemed like for Saturday and Sunday, perhaps the Mets just didn’t have enough in the tank and were unwilling to fight for those little breaks.

This reminds me of a quote from “Any Given Sunday” said by Tony D’Amato (Played by Al Pacino) and it goes as such  (I changed it slightly to apply to baseball instead of football)…

“You know, when you get old, in life, things get taken from you. I mean, that’s… that’s… that’s a part of life.  But, you only learn that when you start losin’ stuff.  You find out life’s this game of inches, so is baseball.  Because in either game – life or baseball– the margin for error is so small.  I mean, one half a step too late or too early and you don’t quite make it.  One half second too slow, too fast and you don’t quite catch it.  The inches we need are everywhere around us.  They’re in every break of the game, every minute, every second.

On this team we fight for that inch.  On this team we tear ourselves and everyone else around us to pieces for that inch.  We claw with our fingernails for that inch.  Because we know when add up all those inches, that’s gonna make the &$%#*@ difference between winning and losing!  Between living and dying!  I’ll tell you this, in any fight it’s the guy whose willing to die whose gonna win that inch.  And I know, if I’m gonna have any life anymore it’s because I’m still willing to fight and die for that inch, because that’s what living is, the six inches in front of your face.  Now I can’t make you do it.  You’ve got to look at the guy next to you, look into his eyes.  Now I think ya going to see a guy who will go that inch with you.  Your gonna see a guy who will sacrifice himself for this team, because he knows when it comes down to it your gonna do the same for him.  That’s a team, gentlemen, and either, we heal, now, as a team, or we will die as individuals.  That’s baseball guys, that’s all it is.

Now, what are you gonna do?”

Have a Great Monday, day off for the Mets, time to rest, regroup and take it to Detroit come tomorrow!