The other night my friend Tim and I were sitting in the subway deep in Crown Heights when I noticed that the MTA had gotten around to adding one of the countdown clocks that can be found on the L line. That was cool to see, but all it actually did was let us know we'd be sitting in the station for 18 minutes until a 4 train showed up. So yeah, the MTA is still an unmanageable, deficit-ridden monstrosity, but hey, clocks! Similarly, the Mets are making some kind of stride towards mediocrity, but you'd never know it from all the other horrible things going on around them.
For instance, if you told people that Mike Pelfrey would be the team's MVP 12 games into the season, they would probably guess you meant it in a bitter manner and that the team had a losing record. They'd be only half right though, since Mike Pelfrey looks genuinely good. He's also been the only starting pitcher to end both of the Mets' losing streaks and has more saves than K-Rod. He's also batting .500.
In the grasping at straws category, there's Oliver Perez, who earned a big fat ND through no fault of his own. For the few innings I saw Perez, he at least looked like he knew where the ball was going and in one confrontation with Albert Pujols, he looked like a real major league pitcher. Of course all of his good work was undone when Jerry Manuel decided to play manage out of the Dada playbook again and have a righty pitch to a lefty and his LOOGY pitch to a switch hitter. I'm not going to lie, despite the fact that this team has ground down my enthusiasm, I was able to summon up a vile torrent of curses to scream while I watched the bullpen implode as it protected its first small lead of the season.
All of this comes back to something that's been on display on national television for the last two nights: the Mets just plain can't hit. That's funny in a way that's actually not funny, because on Opening Day Keith Hernandez posited that the Mets would have no trouble scoring runs but would have an enormous amount of trouble keeping other teams from doing the same. Instead they...can't do both? I guess balance is important, but when balance means Jason Bay striking out like his life depends on it and Jonathon Niese giving up a lead just for the hell of it, I start wondering about the NFL Draft. Like, is it always on 4/20 or does the NFL just figure a few more people will be sitting around at home on that random Tuesday and they'll turn on the draft? But I digress.
I should probably keep digressing though, otherwise this blog is going to have to be renamed "Gary Mathews, Jr. Will Drive Me To Suicide" (I wouldn't be shocked if someone took that Blogspot name already). I can't laugh about 20 inning games if the team plays like shit and loses the next night, because despite the eternal length of a baseball season, every one of these losses feels worse and worse. This is still a team with no direction, with tonight's proof shown in Jerry Manuel only turning to his "8th inning guy" after a crappy long reliever gave up a double to the opposing pitcher. You either have a set up guy or you don't. Saying you do and then not treating him like one is confusing and a little insulting to a fanbase that knows what the fuck the set up man's role is. Mike Pelfrey might finally be putting it together, just in time for the rest of the team to lose it. Don't give me clocks when the only thing they do is remind me of how long I'll be stuck.