Yesterday, I spent most of the day at one ballpark or another. I was rewarded with a 4-0 Mets loss in Queens and a an 8-2 Bears loss in Newark, but at least I got to spend time with friends and see a nice fireworks show after the second game.
Game 31: Atlanta 4, Mets 0
When I left for the ballpark, it had just started to rain and the forecast for the afternoon wasn’t very promising. But by the time batting practice was over, we’d seen the last of the wet weather and the sun even put in an appearance before the game was over.
I wish I could say the same about the Mets’ bats. The team managed four hits against Tim Hudson, and none at all against the Braves bullpen. That level of production makes it tough to win.
Poor pitching, combined with the lack of offense, is a recipe for losing baseball. Remember when we were all talking about Mike Pelfrey’s chances for making the NL All-Star team? It makes more sense to talk about how much longer the Mets should leave him in the starting rotation. For the third time in a row, Pelfrey failed to get out of the fifth inning. For four innings, he managed Houdini-like escapes by stranding eight Atlanta baserunners.
The high point of the game came when Pelfrey got out of a bases-loaded, nobody out situation in the top of the fourth without a run scoring. Wayne Hagin started talking about momentum, and how strong efforts by the defense can shift things in their team’s favor. Howie Rose quickly shut down that line of thinking by bringing up the example of Endy Chavez’s catch in the 2006 NLCS. While that remains the best catch I’ve ever seen, the boost it provided only lasted until the Mets wasted an opportunity to score in their half of the inning.
Sure enough, the Mets offense failed to do anything in their half of the fourth and Pelfrey’s magic tricks ran out in the top of the fifth. Of course, that wasn’t the worst part of yesterday’s game.
Jose Reyes looked tentative all day, hesitating on plays in the field and looking uncomfortable batting from the wrong side of the plate against Hudson. He made one nice play to throw out Troy Glaus from short left field, but he aggravated his strained oblique and had to leave the game. I was not in favor of bringing Reyes back while he was still favoring the injury, but was all know how these things seem to go with the Mets. Maybe this time they’ll leave him on the bench (or DL) until he’s fully recovered.
I only stayed through the seventh inning – I hate to leave a game early, but I had promised to meet some friends over in Newark for the Bears game. So I missed seeing Billy Wagner in one of his final appearances in New York, but I also missed seeing the Braves celebrating their win.
Game 32: Long Island 8, Newark 2
I was able to keep up with the Bears game while in transit, thanks to the Twitter updates from @NewarkBears. Unfortunately, Newark was losing 3-0 before I ever got out of Manhattan. As the train pulled into Broad Street Station in Newark, I saw that the game was still 3-0 after three innings. A Bears’ comeback did not seem out of the question.
As I was walking over to the ballpark, Robinson Cancel hit a three-run homer. That was pretty much it for the Bears. I got inside and met up with my friends. Brian Barton provided some reason to cheer when he hit a solo home run to put the Bears on the board.
It wasn’t a good night for Newark, though. I saw them commit three of five errors on the night, and they probably could have been charged with a couple more by a less charitable official scorer. Lately, it’s been my experience that the home team doesn’t do well on fireworks nights.
The fireworks show was the highlight of the evening. I’ve been to far too many games and seen too many shows to be easily impressed by fireworks, but I thought that the Bears did a nice job last night.
I plan to get to at least one game during the Bears’ series with Bridgeport this week, but I think those might be my last until August. I’ll have some Mets baseball cards to show off this week, and maybe some virtual Newark Bears baseball cards since there won’t be a real team set again this year.