It's the last week of the season, the Mets are fighting for their playoff lives, and I almost couldn't even bring myself to watch the game tonight. Pedro was mostly terrific, but once the Mets fell behind by three runs and proceeded to flail away uselessly at pitch after pitch from the dried up husk of Joel Pineiro's career I really grew tired of watching their little routine. I've been a Mets' fan since birth and will likely be one until such time as I cease to exist but I have become so incredibly bored with this team that I almost can't bear to watch.
It would be one thing if the Mets at least went out there and gave the appearance of trying desperately to win this thing, and if these games were nailbiters, edge-of-your-seat thrillers that you wouldn't dare turn away from. But they aren't; not even close. They go out there, day after day, and they lose, often in sloppy, shabby and disgusting ways. I was so bored tonight that I was watching Norm Abram build a stunning wall cabinet on The New Yankee Workshop instead of what may be the fourth-to-last game of the season.
I haven't given up, but I'm definitely tired. Tired of the crummy pitching and the untimely hitting and the head-scratching managerial decision-making. It's a long ways from over, really. The Phillies beat the Braves tonight in yet another instance of Atlanta sticking it to the Mets, and the boys from Queens have found themselves a dance partner atop the National League East. The Mets have three games this weekend against the Marlins; the Phillies host a three game series against the Nationals. If the Nationals can play the Phillies the way they played the Mets, well, the Mets might just back right into the playoffs after all. I wouldn't count on it, though.
The Mets head into this final series in desperate need of a sweep. Right now, though, I'd settle for a spark, some hint of life in that depressing dugout. Ultimately, if they fail to reach the postseason they will have no one to blame but themselves. The Phillies have played well down the stretch and the Mets have played like dreck, and in the end the better team will be moving on. As of this writing the Padres are leading 9-4 in the seventh, a victory keeping them a game up on the Phillies for the Wild Card and, sadly, a game ahead of the Mets as well. With the Rockies nipping at their heels the Mets no longer have the luxury of that extra playoff spot; chances are stiff that the only playoff team to come from the East will be its champion.
So what's next? The projected starting pitchers for the Marlins series are as follows:
Friday: Perez vs Kim
Saturday: Maine vs Seddon
Sunday: Glavine vs Willis
It'd be really nice to win those first two and see Philly drop at least one of their first two against Washington, because I don't feel particularly comfortable going into a do-or-die, last-day-of-the-season game with Tom Glavine pitching against Dontrelle Willis. The Mets hit Dontrelle pretty well last week but he almost always finds a way tos tick it to this team. Too, Glavine was dreadful against the Nationals on Tuesday and I don't have much confidence in him right now. Then again, I can't say I have much confidence in anybody the Mets send to the mound right now. Dan Scotto tells me that, not counting Pedro's effort tonight, Mets' pitchers have been brow-beaten to the tune of a .331/.388/.519 since September 13. That's the equivalent of every opposing batter hitting like Lance Berkman. Needless to say (though I'll say it anyway) it's tough to win ballgames when the opposing team fields a lineup of Berkmans.
It's weird. I feel like I should be more upset right now, but more than anything I really feel nothing at all. I guess a part of me knows there is still some baseball left to play and there's no telling how things will shake out when Sunday's games have completed. It's an old and tired sports cliché, but the Mets have to forget about everything that has happened up until now. The season starts tomorrow, and after three days one team will likely move on and the other will go home. Right now it doesn't really matter what atrocities were committed in games one through one-fifty-nine, and I hope Willie Randolph is telling his team exactly that.
They've played like complete shit for two weeks now, but they have an opportunity to make everyone forget about that by going out there and sweeping this series. Enough scoreboard watching; I don't really care what the Phillies do from here on out. You'll rest in November or, better yet, you'll rest when you're dead. Just do something to make us care again because, frankly, I haven't seen much worth watching in a while.