Lord help us, it's the Colorado Rockies.
I'm so happy there were fireworks again tonight, because if you liked it the last 2 nights as a Mets fan, you surely loved it tonight.
It was eerie how pretty much everything that occurred last night occurred again tonight, only in slightly greater relief.
The early lead, the subsequent inability to make pitches or field like a normal team, the failure to run out hits, the barnacle-encrusted bullpen, and worst of all the general sense that the Mets just "weren't into it" all that much.
The one big mystery tonight was whether we'd see the "good" El Duque, or the "evil" El Duque. The one big difference from last night was that El Duque did not give the lead back immediately, but rather slow-dripped us to death as his own little good v. evil scenario played itself out.
Sometimes baseball games turn on you in an instant. This was not one of those games. It was a steady erosion of an already tenuous position that the Mets had established thanks to an error, a walk and a bomb by D-Dub.
Dub was really the only player on the field in a Mets uniform who, well, I don't want to say he's the only one who cared, so I'll go with maintained his focus. He's the only one who kept his concentration and played like a man worthy of a major league uniform. That's probably why he was only regular Willie pulled from the lineup early. Everyone else had to stay out there and enjoy themselves.
Anyway, this good v. evil El Duque thing - I think it did play out in microcosm in a key at-bat by Todd Helton in the 4th inning. With the bases loaded and two out and the game still tied (and by "still tied" what I mean to say is "El Duque had used up all the rope the Mets handed him"), with El Duque rolling up to 90 pitches or so this was the critical AB of the game, in my mind.
Had ElD been able to get Helton, he could have worked the 5th, and possibly been in line to still get a win. He did manage to get ahead of Helton, but started to lose him, and was battling him (much like Darth Vader vs. Obi Wan on the river of lava at the end of Episode III, ok, Eric, you snarky bastid?) with a 2-2 count.
That's when ElD dropped the Eephus. Helton waited until he could wait no longer and finally took a mighty swing, ticking just enough of the ball to drop it foul at LoDuca's feet.
It was a nice effort by ElD. He did have him surprised by it. He did get a "woo" out of the crowd. Had Helton swung and missed, it's a different ballgame, possibly.
Instead, Helton ultimately walked, leading to a miserable overthrow by Reyes on a ball in the hole, and the game was for all intents and purposes over right there.
If I had his number, I would have called President Bush immediately to ask him to commute the rest of this game. Unfortunately, I don't have Preznit Pretzel's number, so I actually had to sit through the rest of the game, which was downright interminable.
From the moment that Helton walked on the missed Eephus (2nd, much lamer attempt) on the 3-2 pitch, the pitch that even Reyes would have taken last year, the pitch that said, "I have nothing on any of my other pitches, so I'm going back to this well one more time, but both of us know damn well it's not going to work," it was just a long, painful journey through one of those "Games That Would Not End".
Sure, stuff happened after that. Willie had to use "Please Don't Make Me Watch Any Mo" -ta again, after using him yesterday, because he wouldn't let his long man eat the innings a long man is supposed to eat. Is that the reason Mota appeared more Benitez than ever today? I have no idea. But he had no business being in there yesterday, that much I'm pretty sure about.
In fact, Sele came in today to mop up Mota's mess in the role that Joe Smith should have filled, but didn't, because Joe Smith already filled the role that Sele should have filled yesterday. Go figure.
Scott Schowen- "Why Is Willie Doing This To Me" followed with yet another display of craptaculariousness, as did Pedro "I'm Too Good For This" Feliciano and Aaron "This Blows Like Rita" Heilman.
Kaz Matsui spared us another singles clinic tonight but he did giggle like a schoolgirl after stealing 2nd on us with the Rockies already leading by a touchdown. He stopped himself as soon as he could. Probably when he came to his senses and remembered that Alissa Milano is not actually all that into him.
Rockies fans did not turn out in droves with brooms, to their credit, but they did lose multiple levels of cool points by booing the umps lustily when they called a couple of close ones against them even though they were up by 10 runs in the 7th inning and by all rights this game should have been called for darkness of the soul. It was a game that was crying out to just end already and they were booing because someone was called out at first base. Bunch of Toby Keith-loving morons.
Matt Herges got on my nerves by walking guys and generally taking a long time to get out of the 8th inning without giving up any actual runs to us. And Carlos Delgado gave me several different opportunities to mention his Hands of Stone(tm), while the Mets' bullpen made Yorvit Torrealaba look like the second coming of Yadier Molina, but I've decided not to dwell on any of those.
I'm not even going to talk about the 13 pitch AB that Dookie opened up the 9th inning with when all anyone wanted to do was watch some fireworks.
No, I'm going to step back from this series, and say, hey, the Rockies were amped for us, and we were not even plugged in for them. They do have a respectable lineup, and they have posted a 12-3 record in their past 15 home games, I believe. So I'm prepared to just turn the page, get the hell out of here (well actually I'm staying but the Mets can go ahead and get the hell out of here), and thank the powers that be for my health, my friendships and family, the fact that the Mets are still in 1st place, after all, and that life itself provides opportunities to riff on games like this at blogs like this.
It's not perfect, but it's all pretty much good. The fireworks were great again, and the guy did hook me up with an extra level on my mixed ice cream cone that he prepared while Show was busy walking guys he had previously been 0-2 on. So I had that much going for me tonight.