Over the last two days, there’s been a lot going on. I’ve coached a little league team to an upset victory over the number one seed, I’ve reunited with old friends and played some very interesting frisbee in Sheep’s Meadow, I’ve seen “The Nice Guys” for the second time, and I’ve — don’t ask me why — written a 3000 word essay on Taylor Swift.
What I’m saying is, ordinarily, I would have given plenty of my time over to the Mets. But in two soul-crushing losses, there just wasn’t much to drag me in.
I’m not a complete lunatic, however, so even with all this going on, I did manage to watch both of this weekend’s games in their entirety. And…well…ugh, we suck.
You’ve got to have some perspective here, which is why I’ll mention that we were missing our starting catcher, first baseman, second baseman, third baseman, shortstop, and left fielder, all to injuries ranging from a day to two months. I should also add that all day long — and, really, all season long — we were absolutely bashing the ball, and it just couldn’t stop landing in the gloves of the Brewers, especially — goddamn this guy — Scooter Fucking Gennett.
So really, we didn’t play that badly, at least on offense. Defense was another story: we were — to put things extremely nicely — completely horrendous. Watching Wilmer Flores miss a ball — just completely miss it, as if he was graciously stepping aside to let it pass — that rolled to Alejandro De Aza, who threw about forty feet wide of second, where James Loney was failing to back up, was punishment enough. Then we watched Kelly Johnson inexplicably miss a Matz throw to first, and another throwing error from Wilmer, who frankly is getting on my nerves more than I had anticipated.
So really, here’s my question: why the hell do we have to be so bad? What makes it so that our team, which should in theory be composed of serviceable, not-too-bad offensive players, is just so awful?
Alejandro De Aza, for one. Last year, he batted .262/.333/.422. For his career, he’s at .265/.328/.402. Well, now he’s a Met, and he’s batting .181/.234/.264.
Or Kevin Plawecki, former first round pick. Kevin Plawecki, who batted .305/.390/.448 in 2013 and .309/.365/.460 in the minors in 2014. Now he’s a Met, and he’s batting .204/.302/.274.
Or Michael Conforto, who just can’t seem to find himself. 2014: .331/.403/.448. 2015 in the minors: .283/.350/.462. This year: .234/.306/.453 — which isn’t even that bad, but it’s not where he should be.
I would mention James Loney, but he has absolutely mashed the ball. Every at-bat, or so it seemed, he would hit a hard line drive, or scorch a grounder, and I would sigh resignedly, knowing that it was destined for a fielder’s glove and thinking that it was a damn shame to waste all that hard contact on ours, and seconds later, sure enough, I was proven correct. Loney, if no one else, will come around.
And meanwhile, we’re just stuck. I said it at the beginning of the year: the only thing that could stop this team was sudden, inexplicable failure. Well, Matz has gotten hit around for three straight starts. Harvey has got it now, but for a long time, he didn’t. Familia hasn’t been nearly himself. Wright, Duda, and d’Arnaud have gone down. Now Walker needs a day off for injury that you gotta goddamn hope doesn’t get any worse.
So why the hell do we pick right now to start getting unlucky? I’ll tell you why, unsatisfying as it may be: baseball isn’t fair. It’s a cruel game, and luck isn’t distributed by convenience, but as it should be, by random assignment.
But that’s the thing: it’s all random, and it all goes around and comes right around again. One of these days, our luck is going to turn — I can just feel it, and those of us who watch Loney or Conforto or Flores hitting line drive after line drive and somehow making outs can feel it too.
We’re not too good right now, and there’s not much we can do about it but wait. Because eventually, we’ll be on the other side of the luck dispenser. And at that point, Alejandro De Aza will be the least of our problems.