|Jose Reyes celebrates single in first, but Mets are booed at Citi Field as shortstop is pulled. (NYDailyNews.com)|
Jose Reyes' bunt single in the 1st put him 2 points ahead in the race for the batting title, and Miguel Batista pitched one of the finest games of his 17-year career, as the Mets closed out the season with a 3-0 win over the Reds.
The Good Stuff:
- With the entire Citi Field crowd of 28,816 on its feet, Jose Reyes led off the 1st inning with a beautifully placed bunt single. And that was all she wrote. Reyes was pinch-run for with Justin Turner, finishing his 2011 season with a .337 batting average. If Ryan Braun does not hit better than 3-4 tonight, Reyes will win the first batting title in Mets' history.
- It turns out that this was all pre-arranged: Jose asked Terry Collins if he could simply bunt his way on and come out of the game. While fans in attendance were disappointed that they only got to see #7 hit once, I say this was the right decision. First, remember when Jose said that he wouldn't be able to sleep last night, thinking about that batting title? Turns out he didn't actually sleep. The pressure was clearly getting to him. And while some people even told him he shouldn't even play today, I suspect Reyes wanted to give the fans at least one more thrill before "riding off into the sunset" of the off-season. Second, what if Terry Collins had left him in the game, and he'd gone 1-4 or 1-5 and lost the title? It's a lose-lose situation either way, but considering Jose's request and the daunting shadow of history, I think this was the way to go. Besides, the fans stuck around to see him after the game anyway, and what a game they got to see.
- 40-year-old Miguel Batista has played for 10 teams since his career began back in 1992. If this is his last game in the majors, and it very well may be, he took a heck of a final bow. Batista methodically retired Red after Red after Red, delivering an out-of-the-blue, complete-game, 2-hit shoutout, his first in 5 years, walking 2 and striking out 5 on 123 pitches. He may have been an emergency starter when we called him up, but he almost single-handedly gave Met fans a smile as the sun sets on this season. Thanks, Miguel.
- Nick Evans drove in the game's first run in the 4th with an RBI single that scored Willie Harris. Then in the 6th, Queens native Mike Baxter launched his first career home run over the soon-to-be-extinct 'Mo-Zone, putting New York's final runs of 2011 on the board.
- We'll know by 11:00 tonight whether the batting crown fits on Jose Reyes' or Ryan Braun's head. If Braun wins it, that'll go under Bad Stuff. If Jose wins it, disregard this last section. I can't think of a better way to end the 2011 season than with what we just saw (well, I can think of one...but we'll have to wait until at least game 7,969 to see that).
In this season of ups and downs, the Mets finished on a big up. They may have lost the final series, but the final memory of this year will be of a W. Keep this in mind: 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2010 all ended with painful losses. This year may not have been the best, but it ended with a win. What more could you ask for on the final day of the season?
And there it is. 162 games in the books. The Mets finished the 2011 season 77-85, but to really appreciate all that's happened this season we have to dig deeper than just wins and losses. Some really Good Stuff happened this year, as well as some really Bad Stuff. Which is why while this is the last game of the season, this will not be Midwestern Met's last post in 2011. Over the next few days, I'll be writing a comprehensive summary of the season, complete with the Good Stuff and the Bad Stuff, as well as taking a look back at some of the more memorable individual games of the season. So check back this week and relieve the last 6 months with me so that we don't go into the off-season with just 77-85 in our heads.