|Mike Piazza, the star catcher for the 2001 Mets, led Sept. 11 first responders onto the field for a somber pregame ceremony. (NYTimes.com)|
The Mets left the bases loaded in the 9th and 10th, then imploded spectacularly in the 11th, allowing the Cubs to steal the Sunday Night game, 10-6, on the emotional 10th anniversary of 9/11.
The Bad Stuff:
- The Mets tied it in the 8th and had the goahead run on second with 2 outs, but Jose Reyes popped out harmlessly to the catcher to end the threat. In the 9th, New York had runners on first & second with none out, and eventually loaded the bags with 1 out, but couldn't score. Same thing in the 10th: bases loaded, this time David Wright couldn't bring a run across. Jason Pridie would eventually hit a 2-run homer in the bottom of the 11th, but it didn't matter in the slightest after what happened in the top of that inning.
- Up to this point, September callup Josh Stinson had been virtually perfect on the mound. Last night, he was more than a bit less: Stinson surrendered 4 runs without getting an out. Most of those runs were let in by Ryota Igarashi, who was responsible for two more runs himself while only getting 1 out. 6 runs, 1 out, 11th inning. Those kinds of numbers would sink even the best of teams.
- Miguel Batista was less than stellar in his start as well, allowing 4 runs in 5 innings.
- All-in-all, the Mets went 4-15 with RISP and stranded 15 men. Individually, Wright came up shortest, going 0-5 and leaving 7 men on himself.
- In between Batista's & Stinson's run-fests, the rest of the bullpen served up 5 solid, scoreless innings. That brigade consisted of: DJ Carrasco, Tim Byrdak, Pedro Beato, Daniel Herrera, and Manny Acosta. Those five guys deserve credit for keeping the game going as long as it did.
After an emotional pregame ceremony that honored the victims and first responders of 10 years ago, including a first pitch from John Franco to Mike Piazza, one Met legend to another, the perfect storybook ending would have been a Met win for New York City. The New York Jets were able to provide that ending. The Mets were not. It's just too bad.
What's also too bad is how New York lost this series to the hapless Chicago Cubs. It drops them 4 games under .500 with 16 to go. The Mets will have to go 11-5 the rest of the way to finish 2011 as a winning ballclub. Four games against the Nationals will help that cause; indeed, a sweep will get us to the .500 mark. But after that the stretch is potentially brutal: 3 games in Atlanta, 3 in St. Louis, hosting the Phillies for 3 more, and wrapping up the season at home against Cincinnati. These guys have been never-say-die all year, but these last two and a half weeks, they're gonna have to be more than that.