Friday, January 02, 2009

Worst Losses of 08

If you ask me, any time the Mets lost by blowing a save or to a team with a winning percentage BELOW .500, it was unwarranted, and for the most part, preventable. (Though I am a reasonable man and it was not 100% preventable).

Bill Price of the NY Daily News posted an interesting column the other day where he cited the top 10 losses. I would have to put the LAST game of the season as the #1 Worst loss. I was there. Trust me. It just ripped at all of us...

So, Bill, take it away...

December 31, 2008
Ten worst Met losses of 2008
Sorry I haven’t blogged in a while, I took some time off to spend the holidays with the Bitter wife and kids.

I was going to end the year with a blog stating the Jet collapse was 10 times worse than the Mets collapse, but Jet fans have been through enough.

Actually, I think Bill Cowher pulling out is actually a good thing for Jet fans. You don’t want a coach to come here just for the money. I think Steve Spagnuolo would be a great fit. He’s young, hungry and knows his stuff, so you can expect the Marty Schottenheimer press conference any day now.

Anyway, to end this year, I will put a final cap on the 2008 Mets season by ranking my 10 bitterest defeats of the year. Oh, there were plenty, but to me, these were the most gut-wrenching, season-killing ones they had. Enjoy reading and have a great 2008.

10. April 1: Marlins 5, Mets 4: The euphoria of Johan Santana’s debut doesn’t last long as Pedro Martinez gets hurt after throwing just 57 pitches the next day. It’s a sign of things to come for Martinez and the Mets, who, believe it or not, see the bullpen lose the game when Matt Wise - remember him - gives up a game-winning homer to Robert Andino.

9: June 27: Yankees 9, Mets 0: If you need one game to sum up the 2008 New York Mets, this was it. Just hours after pasting the Yanks, 15-6, at the Stadium, they are a complete no-show in the nightcap of a two-stadium double header. Sidney Ponson throws six shutout innings and Martinez and the bullpen are hammered by the Yanks. Instead of building on the momentum of Carlos Delgado’s huge game earlier in the day, the Mets seem happy with the split.

8. May 20: Braves 6, Mets 1: Riding a huge Sunday night win over the Yankees at the Stadium, the Mets head to Atlanta for a day/night doubleheader and get fading ace Tom Glavine in the first game. They look ready to hammer their old teammate in the first, especially when Luis Castillo homers with one out. The Mets load the bases off Glavine, but Moises Alou lines out to third and Delgado flies out on a deep shot. The Mets never threaten again while John Maine, in a sign of things to come, doesn’t have it. Things get much worse in the night game, when Ryan Church bangs his head into Yunel Escobar’s knee trying to break up a double play. It’s the start of season-long head problems for Church. It also starts a stretch where the Mets lose 7 of 8, putting Willie Randolph on the hot seat.

7. May 15: Nationals 1, Mets 0: In their final tuneup before a three-game set at Yankee Stadium, the Mets - with the SNY crew broadcasting from the upper deck - fail to show up, with the exception of Mike Pelfrey, who takes a no-hitter into the seventh. But Jason Bergmann, with the help of a great catch by Willie Harris and some awful base running by Jose Reyes, gets the win. Afterwards Billy Wager takes his perceived shot at the Carloses with his rant to the press. “You should be talking to the guys over there. "Oh, they're not there. Big shock." The loss concludes a 3-4 homestand against the woeful Nats and Reds.

6.August 11: Pirates 7, Mets 5: I know this was about 6 weeks before the end of the season, but this one was perhaps the most brutal defeat of the year. With the Pirates in town for a one-game makeup on a Monday afternoon, Martinez is brilliant, handing the Mets a 5-1 lead after six innings. But the gritty, gutty Pirates score three times in the seventh and three more times in the ninth to stun the Mets. Joe Smith, Pedro Feliciano, Aaron Heilman and Scott Schoeneweis team up for the collapse. The Mets respond by winning 10 of their next 11, but the writing is on the wall.

5. June 8: Padres 8, Mets 6: Coming off three straight 2-1 defeats at Petco Park, the Mets put up three runs in the first, but Martinez gives the three right back in the bottom of the first, setting the stage for a wild one. The Mets take a 6-4 lead into the eighth, but Willie Randolph, now fighting for his managerial life, brings Wagner into the game with two outs in the eighth, runners on first and second and lefty hitting Jody Gerut at the plate. Gerut singles and then Tony Clark delivers a three-run bomb to center field, completing the Padres’ 4-game sweep. "I don't know what to say," Randolph says in San Diego, one week before he’s fired in Anaheim. "I'm not usually at a loss for words, but what do you say? We finally score some runs and Billy's been pitching lights-out. It's frustrating."

4. September 14: Braves 7, Mets 4: The Mets see their lead over the Phillies cut to one game in one of their most disastrous losses of the season. Leading 4-2 entering the ninth, Jerry Manuel sends Luis Ayala - now filling in for the injured Wagner - to end the game. Instead, he allows a three-run homer to Greg Norton, which sparks a five-run ninth for the Braves. The Mets drop two of three at home to the Braves, and do the same thing the following weekend in Atlanta. The collapse is in full swing.

3. July 22: Phillies 8, Mets 6: Johan Santana earns his money - sort of - allowing just 2 runs over eight innings and the Mets lead 5-2 going to the ninth at Shea. But with Wagner unavailable due to an injury, Santana doesn’t start the ninth. Duaner Sanchez does, and he implodes as the Phils score 6 times to win it. The big play comes when Jose Reyes fields a ground ball with the bases loaded, but instead of flipping to Damion Easley at second, tries to take it to the bag himself. He misses the base and a hustling Shane Victorino is safe. It’s a depressing glimpse into a future without Billy Wagner. Mets do take the next two from Phils to go a game up in the standings, but this one really hurts.

2. September 28: Marlins 4, Mets 2: In what would become the final game at Shea Stadium, the Mets are eliminated once again by the Marlins on the last day of the season. With the game tied 2-2, Schoeneweis and Ayala serve up back-to-back homers and the Mets never recover. The loss casts a serious pall over the Goodbye Shea ceremony, which is somehow held after, and not before the game. It’s a fitting way to conclude 44 mostly miserable seasons of baseball at Shea Stadium. It’s not, however, the bitterest loss of the year.

1. September 24: Cubs 9, Mets 6: Yes, the Mets were still alive after this loss and yes, they didn’t officially blow it until the last day of the season, but any real Met fan knew it was over after this brutal loss. In case you need a refresher course, this was the game were the Mets took a 5-1 lead on a Carlos Delgado grand slam only to see Oliver Perez give the lead right back. And then, with the score tied in the ninth, the Mets get a leadoff triple from Daniel Murphy, but can’t get him home as David Wright - trying way too hard - whiffs. After intentional walks to Carlos Beltran and Delgado, Church hits into a fielder’s choice (Murphy out at home) and Ramon Castro whiffs. Aramis Ramirez caps the game with a two-run bomb off Ayala in the 10th. If any Met is capable of hitting just a sac fly, the team wins the game and likely the division. It doesn’t get any worse.

Well, there you have it.

I know I left a few off, like the game in Philly where the Mets blew a 7-0 lead, but they did rally the next night in Philly, so that’s sort of a wash. There’s also the game in Florida where Aaron Heilman walked in the winning run, but the Mets responded with a four-game win streak after that. Actually, you could look at any loss - especially in a season where they missed the playoffs by one game - and count it as a disaster. This is just my list, I’m sure you guys remember other losses being worse.

Anyway, hope you - in a sick way - enjoy the list and have a Happy New Year. Who knows, maybe we’ll have Derek Lowe in the fold in the near future.

By the way, when do you stop saying Happy New Year to someone? Let's say you have a friend and you don't see him until next Wednesday, do you still say "Happy New Year," even though it's January 7? Just wondering.

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