Wednesday, June 1, 2011

"Hey, Bucko, Step Right On Me"--Mets Fall To Bucs

Humid. Gross. Disgusting. Pathetic.

Those are the four words applicable to tonight's Mets loss against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

This is normally the time where I'd run down the starting pitcher's stat lines, analyze the good and bad of the game and leave a preview for the next day. Today needs to be more from the heart and less from the politically correct machine.

Chris Capuano(3-6, 5.19 ERA) pitched spectacularly through his 6 innings. His 5 ER is grossly inflated due to poor defensive plays that led way to runs being scored that had no business of being on base in the first place. Following a bobble by Daniel Murphy, a bunt single and a dribbler up the third base line the bases were loaded with nobody out. Those who have been following the team for the year knew the result before hand. As the muggy sunset turned into a black abyss of heat, the team unraveled as the Pirates jumped on the Mets to blow the game open, never looking back. Andrew McCutchen led the offense with a big 3-5 night andBrandon Wood came through with his second RBI hit in as many days.

Flat out, Willie Harris should not have started the game at third base. Terry Collins addressed this during the post game but it was obvious during the pregame. A hot start has allowed Harris to stick around for a month and a half too long. While he has made several fine defensive plays, Harris has ultimately cost the Mets much more than he has provided(-0.8 WAR). Although he hasn't played many games at third base during his career, Scott Hairston has at least provided a spark with his bat in recent games(.333 average through his last 10 games/appearances). While the result may have been futile, it's giving new life to a lineup that needs less Willie Harris.

It's a telling sign that a ball club is in serious trouble when Ruben Tejada, the shortstop-turned second baseman-turned shortstop-turned second baseman again- provides the big RBI hit. He has been fantastic since his call-up both offensively and defensively but there's something to be said that the 21 year old who wasn't even under consideration to make the opening day roster has provided the small spark.

Justin Turner continues to impress and has tied Jason Bay in the home run department. A shot in the 8th inning has given him 22 RBI's on the year. While he's just 1 for his last 8, Turner is the least of the Mets problems.

From base running gaffes(Angel Pagan) to misplayed balls(Daniel Murphy) to failed contracts(Jason Bay) to journeymen who don't belong(Take your pick, but pick Harris)--it's safe to say that while both the Mets and Pirates have a long seasons left to play, both are in the same boat. They're racing for that #1 spot, and we're not talking about division spots--we're talking about draft order.