It sounds like a riddle out of one of those awful children’s books.
“When you play a baseball game without five of your nine starters, what happens?”
Well, I’ll give you three guesses. And the first two don’t count.
Tonight’s game was nothing short of a festival of awfulness, a display of the nuances of unwatchability, a thriving exhibition of ineptitude and failure. Now, we’ve seen bad teams. We’re Mets fans. But this one was really, really…really…bad.
Whether it was Plawecki making two errors in one inning.
Or Wilmer attempting to catch a foul ball and falling on his back while losing his glove, like some kind of perverse real-world Charlie Brown.
Or Jim Henderson being brought back out for a second inning, which any fan in the stands or any reasonably sentient piece of dirt would advise against, and promptly allowing a two run homer.
Or James Loney and his .240 batting average hitting grounder after grounder straight into the shift.
Or Kelly Johnson forgetting what he’s been taught since little league and letting a ball slide directly under his glove.
Or Alejandro De Aza batting leadoff and failing to anything befitting the position.
Or Curtis Granderson striking out on a pitch that was only thrown by accident.
Or Flores, again, hitting a grounder to short and running like a sloth, the shortstop running around the ball, picking it, taking a look, pumping his fist all before throwing, and still getting Flores, running with a piano on his back, by three steps.
Or Kevin Plawecki, again, hitting three slow ground balls to third, as if attempting to reinforce his image among fans.
My mother, who doesn’t watch much baseball, came into the den at one point, as I was in the midst of one of my multiple complaints about the team.
“But Plawecki’s good,” she said.
I just closed my eyes and shook my head. Plawecki was far from good, and besides, the Mets were batting, so I knew I wouldn’t miss anything.
I can’t help but draw the contrast, watching the Mets play the Pirates. The Pirates’ lineup…just look at it. Oh, there’s a guy batting .311. Hey, that guy’s batting .331. Look at him, he’s hitting better than anyone expected. He may be the backup catcher, but he hits like a starter.
And you can’t help but wonder: where do they find all these guys? And why can’t we ever have nice things?
Walker, the second baseman of reassuringly solid offensive prowess: injured. Conforto, the left fielder of exciting potential and sweet swing; injured, also slumping. Lagares; toothache. Wright; herniated disk. Duda; I don’t even remember, four to six weeks. d’Arnaud; back in a week, maybe.
De Aza; bad. Flores; bad, and slow. Plawecki; bad on both sides of the ball. Loney; dispiritingly bad. Johnson; not good either.
So, we didn’t have much to look forward to, coming in. But did we have to lose so spectacularly?
Yes, there’s another game tomorrow. Yes, Thor is on the mound, which is always something to look forward to. Yes, the guy who the Pirates are throwing tomorrow looked, upon cursory examination, to have an inordinately high E.R.A.
But this lineup…I mean, really?
But hey, ya gotta believe, and as such, I’ve gotta think that things will take a turn for the better. We’re seeing some downright rotten luck, even with the lineup we’re putting out there, and any day, things can change in a hurry.
But man, this lineup sucks. And that I can’t think of a positive to end on should say all you need to know about the state of our offense right now.