Strange ball games can be fun, but not when you come out on the losing end. Things started off great. Asdrubal Cabrera got us off to an early lead with a two run-home run in the first inning and Rene Rivera added a solo shot in the fifth to give us a 3-0 lead that seemed secure. The ageless wonder, Bartolo Colon, pitched six dazzling innings before being greeted by former Mets catcher Anthony Recker with a two run-home run in the seventh inning. After Colon surrendered a single to put the tying run on first, Terry Collins made a gutsy move to turn to the back of the bullpen early. Addison Reed came in to get a strike out to end the inning and then came back out to pitch the eighth. He appeared to get Ender Inciarte to ground out but first baseman James Loney made what proved to be a very costly error allowing for a lead-off base runner. After getting the next batter out, Collins replaced Reed with Josh Smoker to pitch to red hot Mets killer Freddie Freeman. A bit of over-managing here if you ask this writer; Reed’s been the most dependable arm on the team all season. Naturally, Freeman got a hit. Told you so. Enter closer Jeurys Familia an inning early to put the fire out.
Collins, sensing the game on the line, wasn’t wrong to make this move, but sadly, it didn’t pan out. Inciarte and Freeman completed a double steal to put runners at second and third and Matt Kemp promptly drove in the tying run with a sacrifice fly. Familia escaped the eighth inning with the score tied 3-3. In the bottom of the eighth, Yoenis Cespedes hit what he thought was a tie-breaking home run, but Matt Kemp dropped it as he nearly caught it at the top of the wall. Cespedes, who should have turned it into a triple was busy admiring his shot and settled for a double. He and Curtis Granderson, who intentionally walked, performed their own double steal setting up second and third with one out. TJ Rivera promptly struck out and, following a series of chess moves with the managers swapping out relievers and pinch hitters (September baseball can be very annoying), and intentionally walking Eric Campbell to load the bases, Kevin Plawecki came up with a chance to be a hero…and went down swinging at bad pitches.
Familia came back out to pitch the ninth and coughed up another run courtesy of a seeing eye single, a sacrifice bunt, a bloop shot and a ground out that drove in the run. Down 4-3 entering the bottom of the ninth, the Mets were still in this. Brandon Nimmo reached first on a lead off single and up came the struggling Jay Bruce who…drum roll…struck out. Travis d’Arnaud walked, Cabrera flied out, and, for the second night in a row Cespedes came up with a chance to win it…and he very nearly did. The Lion King hit what appeared to be a walk-off game winning home run, but Braves center fielder Ender Inciarte had other plans. Enciarte ran like a deer, tracking the ball to the wall, leaped over the wall and robbed Cespedes and Mets fans of what would have been a spectacular win. Instead we again got swept at home by the Braves.
Didn’t the Braves make us cry enough in the late 90s and early 2000s? This is supposed to be our turn. The good news is that the Cardinals lost and, as of this writing, the Giants were down as well. If that holds up we won’t have lost any ground in the wild card chase. Next up we get four games at home against the Phillies.
If you’re reading this that means you’re a Mets fan. You’ve been here before. It’s never easy. Tomorrow is another day. Go get some rest. You’ve earned it.