The New York Mets were feeling pretty good about themselves this year, with the first no-hitter in franchise history highlighting what had been a season of overachieving. That has all come crashing down in the last week, with the New York Yankees, to no one’s surprise, landing some painful and perhaps fatal blows.
In the first game of this year’s Subway Series on Friday, the Yankees treated Mets ace/no-hitter extraordinaire Johan Santana like their personal punching bag. Then the Mets could not get much going against a resurgent Phil Hughes apart from a couple of solo homers en route to another loss. Finally, a comedy of errors on Sunday (actual errors, not metaphorical ones), led the Mets to waste a 3-0 lead and ultimately succumb to the Yankees when Russell Martin hit his second home run of the game to lead the Yankees in a walk-off victory, which, FYI, should never be celebrated by leaping onto home plate.
Can the Mets recover from this weekend’s sweep? Perhaps, but the Mets’ weaknesses were exposed for all in the baseball world to see. The Mets cannot hold a lead to save their lives, with an angry Jon Rauch not even waiting until Martin’s ball landed in the seats before walking off the mound in disgust and shame in the bottom of the ninth on Sunday. Their starting pitching has been very good, but it’s not good enough to survive all the errors in the field. And with the exception of David Wright, the Mets just cannot hit consistently.
The Yankees must be thrilled by the sweep of their cross-town rivals, although they would never publicly admit that. The Mets have gotten praise for overachieving this season while the Yankees have been criticized (including by yours truly) for their mediocre play even though the two teams had roughly the same record before the weekend. But the expectations are far higher in Yankee land and the Bronx Bombers are not supposed to struggle for more than a few games in a row. You now get the sense that the Yankees have really started to right the ship, with all elements of their game coming together (if they could only just hit a little better with men in scoring position).
So this weekend’s Subway trip was long and unpleasant for the Mets. They’ll be hoping for a smoother ride in a few weeks at Citi Field.