June 17th, 2011
by Andrew Rizzi

I was supposed to write a recap of the Mets/Braves game Thursday night, and had my ideas all laid out in my head, ready to blog about an unprecedented sweep at Turner Field. A 7-3 road trip was on the horizon, and the Mets were about to be OVER the .500 mark for the first time since the opening week of the year. Even Jason Bay was hitting the ball well! I was in a great mood- there was going to been nothing but positive vibes surrounding the club for the first time in a full calendar year.

Despite falling behind 6-2 early, the Amazins battled back, and tied the game on Scott Hairston’s 3-run bomb. They later took the lead, and added an insurance run, and went into the 9th inning with a seemingly comfortable 8-6 lead.

Then, Francisco Rodriguez, the most reliable closer in the National League the past two months, came in and blew the save in the blink of an eye. Brooks Conrad’s blast off Frankie broke the streak of 19 straight converted saves, and gave K-Rod his first blown save since the 2nd game of the year.

The 10th inning was even worse than the 9th, as the franchise that has found every which way to lose a heart breaker in recent years, somehow found a new one.

I had a bad feeling about it as soon as DJ Carrasco walked the leadoff batter. Odds were at that point  that the Braves had a good shot at scoring the winning run. But I had no idea just how frustrating the ending would be. Alex Gonzalez quelled my fears when he hit into a double play, and just like that there were two outs. With the bases cleared there was no reason for me to be thinking about anything but the 11th inning.

But one pitch later Diory Hernandez laced a double that put the winning run in scoring position in a flash. It was once again crunch time for Carrasco. He had to make a big pitch, as the 4-5 Jordan Schafer came to the dish. Well, as we all know by now Carrasco DID make the pitch, and Schafer hit a weak grounder to 2nd. However, for some strange reason Lucas Duda went 25 feet out of his way to field the ball in front of Ruben Tejada, bobbled it, and the inning continued.

Less than a minute later, while the entire fan base was still fuming at Duda’s debacle, the unthinkable occurred. In comical fashion (unless you’re a Mets fan), DJ Carrasco balked, and the Braves won the game in the most unlikely of ways. Gary Cohen said it best with his call, “UN…FATHOMABLE!”

Just when I thought the Mets had lost in every conceivable way, they are on the wrong end of the rarely seen "Balk-off."

The Mets had a very encouraging road trip. They won the series in Milwaukee against the best home team in baseball, split a tough 4 game set in Pittsburgh against a hot Pirates team, and won 2 out of 3 at Turner Field, where they have a winning percentage under .340. And yet, because of how the last inning of the last game of the trip ended, I can’t help but have a sour taste in my mouth.

When will these excrutiating losses stop happening with this team? I simply cannot believe how the last 2 innings played out, and more than 12 hours later I am still stunned. I want to be positive about the Mets. They have played well for an extended period. They finally reached .500 (for one day). They have had arguably the best starting pitching in the league for the past month. They are 29-20 since the awful start.

But like any true die-hard New York baseball fan, my feelings tend to be based solely on the last game’s results. Right now, no matter how many times I brush my teeth or how many bowls of Cocoa Pebbles I scarf down, I can’t seem to have anything but the sour taste of walks, balks, and misery permeating through my taste buds. No amount of Aqua Fresh can cure that. No, the only remedy for this malady is a win against the Angels Friday night. Hopefully I feel all better by Saturday morning.

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Posted in Atlanta Braves, Major League Baseball, NATIONAL LEAGUE, New York Mets | Comments (1)

One Response to “Sour Taste of Balk-Off Loss Just Won’t Leave”

  1. Peter Says:

    Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me thrice, shame on both of us.

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