Live From Grunge Heaven: Kurt Cobain was the unquestioned king of the revolutionary Seattle music scene of the 1990s, but he was not as big of a sports fan as some of his colleagues in bands like Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam, and the Screaming Trees. But Kurt always sympathized and identified with underdogs and abject losers, and he has apparently become a huge Met fan over the last few years.
We thank another Seattle music legend, Layne Staley, for snapping this photo of Kurt tonight in the VIP section of Grunge Heaven, taken right after Hunter Pence’s game-winning homer crossed the left field wall. Layne had been citing the Mets’ bottom five standing in the NL in BA, OBP, SLG, OPS, H, HR, ERA, and BB, H, and HR allowed, and when he mentioned that the Mets would be 1-8 at home after tonight’s soon-to-be loss, Kurt let out his feelings about the Met 2011 season.
Summary: The bottom of the 1st and the top of the 2nd seemed to quickly illustrate the difference this year between the Mets and other major league teams. The Mets loaded the bases in the bottom of the 1st on a crisp Reyes single, a Wright walk and an infield hit from Beltran. Ike then struck out and Pagan flied out to strand three.
In the top of the 2nd, the Astros had two men in scoring position, and first cashed in a run on a wild pitch followed by weak throw from Thole. Pitcher Bud Norris then singled in a run, followed by another RBI single from Michael Bourn.
Jose Reyes led off the 3rd with his second sharp single of the game, and was driven in by a double to left-center by Beltran. Pagan finished off the inning by leaving his fourth and fifth men on base of the night, prompting him to suggest that WAR be reconfigured to more heavily consider men LOB.
A Murphy single and a Beltran double was all the team could muster in the 4th and 5th, while Dickey settled in and kept the Astros off the board. After turning double plays in the 5th and 6th, Daniel Murphy continued his strong campaign for more playing time with a 2-run homer to tie the game after a Willie Harris double.
The surprising defense continued in the 7th with another double play, but the Mets wasted a leadoff walk to Wright in the bottom of the frame.
Hunter Pence did what pretty good hitters do to pretty bad pitches by blasting a homer to left to lead off the 8th. Dickey did not have his best knuckler, and his command was also not ideal, but he battled as he always does, and made quick work of the Astros to finish off the 8th.
Pagan worked out a walk to begin the bottom of the 8th, and was moved to third by a perfect opposite-field hit-and-run single by Murphy, his third hit of the game. The Mets then managed a classic recent Met play-Justin Turner attempted to pinch hit and struck out, and the ball dribbled not too far away from the plate; Pagan raced home and was tagged out. Yes, it was an aggressive play which we need, but a strike-em-out, tag-em-out-at-home DP to end the 8th? Seems like another only-the-Mets moment.
And another of these moments was to come – the game effectively ended after Jose led off the 9th with his fourth hit of the game, and Thole’s attempt to bunt was caught and fired to first to double off Reyes, who continues to show that his head is still far behind his body when it comes to instincts. Wright flew out to end the game.
Quote of the Day: “We have to stop telling ourselves we are a better team than this – we might not be.” –R.A. Dickey
Bright Spots: Dickey did battle, and threw a decent game without his best stuff…He remains one of this team’s few positives…Murphy turned double plays, hit a huge HR, singled to left on a hit-and-run, and looked head-and-shoulders above his very mediocre second base competition…One can hope that Collins will soon just put Murph at 2B one day and leave him there…Jose Reyes had four hits, and was not hitting the ball in the air; he appears to be getting into another nice groove…Despite clearly decreased speed and mobility, Beltran’s bat looked fast and dangerous tonight.
Causes For Concern: David Wright is lost when he swings the bat…He did draw two walks, but his inexorable drive to the Mendoza Line continues unabated; he struck out twice and is now hitless in his last 19 AB…Josh Thole’s offense and defense have been clearly diminished of late; let us hope this is temporary.
Next Game: The Mets try to salvage the last game of the series with J.A. Happ taking on Chris Capuano at Citi Field at 7:10 PM tomorrow night.
Author’s Note: This post was inspired by the unparalleled work of GraveDiggerHebner, who had an inimitable way of bringing laughter after even the worst losses. The author’s hope is that this may be one-tenth as good as an average Grave post, and that if Grave is out there, that he approves of the author’s humble effort to put his tiny feet in Grave’s gargantuan orange-and-blue footsteps.