Ah, the Mets. Once our most hated of rivals, now the laughing stock of the division. Even more so than we are now, just because of how far they’ve fallen. I mean, the Phils were pretty bad out of the gate, but up until a little over a month ago, the Mets were still in it. Hell, the NL East battle looked like a three-way standoff for quite some time. Then, fast-forward to August 13th, and the Mets now sit a mere 2.5 games ahead of the Phillies in the standings, 16 games out of first place.
Now you may be wondering, how did this happen? Well, it’s 4:30 in the morning and all I want to do is laugh, so I won’t give a monthlong play-by-play. But if this weekend’s series against the Braves was any indication, it should be abundantly clear just why they fell off so hard.
Let’s start with Friday night. The Braves won the game 4-0, with half their total runs scored in the first inning. The Mets mustered just three hits in the game against Paul Maholm, who threw a complete game shutout and walked none in the process. Saturday night involved Johan Santana coming back from a stint on the 15-day DL…and putting up one of the worst nights of his career in the process, giving up six runs on eight hits over the course of an inning and a third. Two more runs would later be charged to his line as Freddie Freeman belted a three-run homer off reliever Jeremy Hefner, sending the Mets down 9-0 before the second inning was over. Santana has given up 27 runs over his last 14 innings pitched following Saturday’s game. Absolutely amazing. (The final score would be 9-3, by the way.)
Skip ahead to yesterday’s game. Despite the Mets pulling out a victory in the end, they tried so hard to lose in the ninth inning that I felt it warranted this post being made in the first place. The Mets, in a reversal of Friday night’s fortunes, were leading 6-0 going into the ninth inning due to a brilliant outing by Jonathon Niese. A hodgepodge of bullpen pitchers would then come in and try their damnedest to set fire to the diamond. In between the two outs Josh Edgin managed to rack up, he hit one batter and walked the next two to load the bases, leading to a rather obvious pitching change. Generalissimo
Francisco Franco Frank Francisco then proceeded to…walk the next two batters in, bringing the score to 6-2, before giving up a double to clear the bases and put the Braves within one run of tying the game.
Even at his worst, Chad Qualls was never that awful.
The inning ended as Jon Rauch, third pitcher of the inning, managed to strike Jason Heyward out, but not before one last heart attack for Mets fans everywhere. See, the catcher fumbled the strikeout, and Heyward was almost able to beat the throw to first and tie the game. The score ended at 6-5 Mets, but it’s still one of the best ninth innings I’ve seen all year.
So, yeah. As bad as the 2012 Phillies season has been, just think of it this way: At least we’re not the New York Mets.