As soon as Brett Gardner lined the ball down the right field line in the top of the 8th, I thought the game was over.
A mix of hostility towards the evil empire met a bout of sports depression with the certainty that the Mets were about to be swept away at home by the damn Yankees.
Where the hell did the offense go? Ivan Nova, Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia shut the Mets down? Even without Reyes that seems a bit improbable and inexcusable.
In the bottom half of that 8th inning, the Mets drew two walks with two outs. False hope again, I was certain. And I was right.
To the bottom of the 9th we went, and once again the Mets had their first two retired. As if it weren’t difficult enough to face David Robertson and his 1.05 ERA, now the Mets had to mount a two out, two strike comeback with nobody on base against the greatest stopper the game’s ever seen.
But Mariano hurt himself. He opened the door by walking Jason Bay, who looked like he had no business at the plate in a situation that called for a long ball. He had homered once against Mariano before, but unless Mariano was studying a 2009 scouting report, there was no reason to walk him. But he did.
I then told Midwestropolitan (Jason, the owner of this blog, who I’ll refer to as Midwestropolitan to avoid confusion) that Lucas Duda would be jammed on a cutter to end the ballgame. Well, I was right about him getting jammed. Fortunately he fought it off into right center field. Bay moved to third.
At that point the most fragile part of my psyche was revealing itself – we’ve come so far, I just can’t take another tease, I can’t. I’m practically pleading.
Then Mariano delivered a pitch I was certain would be called strike three. The game could have easily been over and I’m not sure Paulino would have had a legitimate gripe. It was a pitch too close to take, and perhaps the umpire was as fooled by the backdoor cutter as Ronny.
With new life on 1-2, Paulino smacks one into right to tie the game! You have to be kidding me! He was looking away, trying to go to right, and Mariano placed it perfectly for him to do that.
I love you Ronny Paulino!
But, the inning ended with Lucas Duda getting thrown out at the plate. I was not going to settle with being happy if the Mets lost just because they showed a lot of fight. Enough with the moral victories, we have to have this game. It’s not an option.
Fast forward to the bottom of the 10th. The bases are loaded, thanks to the fielding woes of my new favorite player, Ramiro Pena.
Then, Jason Bay! Jason Bay?!?
I don’t know that I can be happier for another Met as much as I am for Jason, a guy who has had a miserable year and a half. At least for a day he’s going to be adored for knocking a clean line drive into right center field and helping the Mets avoid a catastrophic sweep at the hands of the Yankees.
Midwestropolitan and I did the air claw and I breathed a huge sigh of relief.
There are problems to address and players to be healed, but as a fan it almost felt like it wouldn’t have even mattered had they not won today. I don’t know if the win “saved the season” because the Mets are still 6.5 out of the Wild Card, 10.5 out of the division and seriously banged up and undermanned. But after all of the effort it took to get above .500, a home sweep to the Yankees just wouldn’t have been ok.
The Mets caught a lot of breaks – Pena’s error in the 10th, the called ball in the 9th among others – but they cashed it in. I don’t care about style points – not today at least. Today the Mets just had to win. Tomorrow they can fix their problems. I really hope they do.