that was the most brutal loss in years.
Pedro Martinez was brilliant for seven innings — but the game is NINE innings. I know times have changed, and managers are now ruled by pitch-count rather than the game-situation. But it wasn’t so long ago that the very thought that a guy pitching a shutout would come out of the game — any game – after only seven innings was heresy. To come out when it’s at home, against the Yanks, with 50,000 screaming fans packing the stadium, and a national television audience … I can’t even wrap my brain around that.
Great contrast: the Yankees’ elegant, immortal Mariano Rivera -v- the Mets’ new, $10 million-a-year-Mariano-Pretender, Billy Wagner. There was a big, inane to-do at the start of the season over which team now had the better closer. What a joke — like comparing Rembrandt to the guy who painted my living room.
Wagner, asked only to get three outs in the ninth without blowing a four-run lead, imploded — managing to give up two hits, walk three and hit a guy in his 31 pitches of work. He was pulled. The Yanks went on to tie the game, and finally took the lead in the 11th.
Rivera – who took a tough loss last night because Johnny Damon was playing too shallow to get to a catchable fly to center — closed like the thoroughbred he is: making a one-run lead stand up by striking out the side to end the game.
Verrrry bad for us Mets fans. This is the kind of loss that can send a team into a major tailspin … and Wagner (who is good pitcher even though he’s no Rivera — as if anyone is) is probably praying for a long road-trip. He has lost the home fans for the foreseeable future.
For the Yanks, by contrast, this is a big lift. They have a ton of injuries and they played terribly today: four errors, and their comeback happened only because Wagner was awful, not because they did much to deserve their good fortune (although Damon did redeem himself for last night by running hard on an injured foot to beat out what would otherwise have been a game-saving double-play for the Mets). But the Yanks hung in and toughed it out – which is just what they have to do for a while til they get healthier.