By Ernie Palladino
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As is always the case for the 2013 Mets, the glass is always 7/8ths empty.
Sweep the Yanks four games home and home and then get swept in three by the horrendous, last-place, worst-team-in-baseball Marlins. Kind of makes it seem that the silly Subway Series was played in 1948 and not last week, doesn’t it? It also makes it apparent all the more that knocking off the Yankees is going to be the Mets’ highlight of this season next to Matt Harvey’s appearances.
As sad as that is, that remaining 1/8th of the glass, the part that’s at least somewhat moist, is worth talking about here, if only because the Mets’ offense actually put up six runs and showed some pop. Even Ike Davis, ever so slowly emerging from his horrendous start, went 2-for-4 with a two-run homer and three RBIs.
One can easily say it was his best outing of the season. While nobody’s ready to say he’s cured yet, at least the life he showed in going 5-for-15 with five RBIs over his last four games has moved him a step away from the very legitimate talk of a trip back to the minors.
Then there’s Harvey. It’s not like him to give up three runs right off the bat and another in the second. But a look behind those four runs indicates that the arrow remains in an upward position. The Marlins didn’t exactly cannonade the kid in the first. Instead, a bunt single, a seeing-eye hit and a fly ball that the normally-reliable Rick Ankiel misplayed into a two-run triple started the problems. And then a popup double that Omar Quintanilla couldn’t get to brought in the third run.
A single, sacrifice and single scored the second-inning run that put the Mets down 4-1 after Lucas Duda’s solo homer, his 10th, in the top of the inning.
Play a little defense and perhaps it’s a different story for Harvey, who got his seventh no-decision in 12 starts and remained undefeated at 5-0. Still, there was no way that the competitive right-hander was happy with any part of that four-run, 10-hit performance, even as he held the Marlins scoreless over the next three innings.
Even with Harvey looking anything but the young gun who announcers and writers are breathlessly comparing to Tom Seaver, he still left the game after five holding a 6-4 lead.
Wherever that little bit of water went — whether it evaporated like all the momentum that was supposed to come by beating the Yanks — or simply leaked out through some crack, it vanished quickly. The bullpen saw to that as Scott Rice gave up a two-run double to Marcell Ozuna after walking the bases loaded, tying the game. And, unlike the double that brought in the final run of the first inning, there was nothing cheap about this one.
LaTroy Hawkins finished the meltdown when he let up Greg Dobbs’ three-run homer in the eighth, an inning after Ed Lucas’ double off Brandon Lyon gave the Marlins a two-run lead.
So, let’s recap. The Mets lose three straight to the worst team in baseball and get outscored 24-8 in the series. Harvey gets another no-decision, and the bullpen throws gasoline all over the pitcher’s mound against — have we already said it? — the worst team in baseball.
Pretty empty glass right there.
The drinkable portion? Even after getting victimized by a couple of cheap hits and a misjudged fly ball, Harvey kept his team in the game. He remained composed, which is a good sign for him down the road. The offense produced a little with three homers, and Davis took a big step in leaving that horrible slump in the rearview mirror.
OK, it’s not much. But these are the things that Mets followers have to hang onto this year as they strive for the lofts of glass-half-empty-ness. When the net result is three losses to the worst team in baseball — have we mentioned it? — even that is a tough order.
Perhaps someday in the seemingly distant future, the Mets’ cup will runneth over.
Not this year, though. For now, 7/8ths empty is still better than a completely dry flagon.
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