Shea It Ain’t So

It was just over a month ago that we last saw the New York Mets who rode into Chase Field as one of the favorites to win the National League East. During that three game weekend series the Mets as usual beat up pretty good on the Diamondbacks winning 2 of the 3 games and outscoring Arizona 17-14. The overall score is skewed by the fact that Arizona scored 10 runs in their 1 win. The other two games they were only able to squeak out 2 runs per game. Basically, the Mets owned the Diamondbacks as they have for several years. I remember thinking at the time that I wished the Diamondbacks were done with the Mets this season as I just could not deal with much more of a beating. Here we are now with the snakes limping into town on a 2-5 road trip so far. Micah Owings scheduled to pitch game 1 of the final regular season series they will ever play at Shea Stadium. I had my fingers crossed that their luck might have changed.

The game started with Arizona scoring in the top of the first to give Micah the lead. “That’s awesome, tonight is going to be good” I thought to myself. The Mets then proceeded to score 3 runs in the bottom of the first to take the lead. They added another 2 runs in the second inning and were up 5-1. Owings lasted just 4 innings leaving in the fifth having given up 8 hits and walking 3 in addition to the 5 earned runs. Things looked pretty bleak. It was like déjà vu all over again.

Then in the fifth inning things started to get really weird. Arizona scored 2 runs on a home run by Orlando Hudson to cut the deficit to two runs. They followed that up in the sixth inning by scoring 2 more runs when pinch hitter Augie Ojeda singled to right field scoring Mark Reynolds who had walked and Justin Upton who had been hit by a pitch. Suddenly what was a 5-1 deficit was now a tie ballgame with 3 innings to play. As if the Mets night was not going bad enough, the winds picked up blowing debris all over the field. This wind was followed by torrential rain and lightning. The umpires stopped play and the tarps were placed on the field for an hour in hopes that the rain would subside and allow the teams to complete the game.

When play resumed in the seventh inning both teams looked a little lethargic. It was as though they were playing not to lose rather than to win. The Diamondbacks fortunes took an upward turn when catcher Chris Young planted a ball over the left field wall to break the tie. Watching the body language of the players on both sides was like seeing two extremes. The Mets looked defeated as though they could not recover. The Diamondbacks could not wait to get to the plate turning out hard hit after hard hit. The flood gates of heaven had opened earlier pouring rain onto the field. Now the flood gates of the Diamondbacks bats rained baseballs onto the field. The Diamondbacks scored 3 more runs in the ninth inning giving Arizona a 9-5 lead. Brandon Lyon came in and finished the game and giving one to the good guys. Throughout the end of this game the Mets looked like a team who had given up. Clearly they had rolled over and were not motivated at all. I was reminded of a similar scene at the end of the Diamondbacks 2000 season when they went from a playoff contender in 1999 to third place in 2000. It was clear that changes were going to be made to that team and shortly after the season ended manager Buck Showalter was fired. I would not be surprised to see a similar decision made with Mets manager Willie Randolph during this series. The next two games don’t get any easier for the Mets. Tomorrow they face Brandon Webb who has a lifetime ERA of 0.34 at Shea Stadium followed by Dan Haren who likewise pitched well against them at Chase Field last month. The Mets have lost 5 in a row and could possibly be looking at a sweep here. Things are not good in Mets land right now.

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