"This team is cursed."
He said these words tonight, watching as Albert Pujols launched a grand slam, abolishing the Mets' hopes of recovering from yet another decimating loss.
This one was especially tough. Johan Santana gave up five runs in eight innings, but the Mets finally gave him some run support, scoring seven through the first five innings.
But in the seventh inning, it all came apart.
Every game drops hints of a curse. The first hint tonight was Luis Castillo's freak injury. A surprising bright spot for the team this year, Castillo slipped down the dugout steps and reportedly sprained his ankle.
Then Francisco Rodriguez gave up two runs in the ninth, blowing a save in the process.
Then I believed the team's fortunes were turning back into their favor. David Wright walked, and Angel Berroa tapped a hit that squeaked past Cardinals' pitcher Kyle McClellan. But Daniel Murphy ended the threat by swinging at a 58-footer.
The Cardinals loaded the bases in the top of the 10th, and Pedro Feliciano struck out Skip Schumaker. With two outs, Mark DeRosa came to bat. Sean Green came in to relieve Feliciano. Righty verse righty. Advantage: Mets.
At least, on paper. But Sean Green has as much control lately as Rick "Wild Thing" Vaughn before he got glasses. He hit DeRosa on the first pitch making it 8-7 Cardinals.
But Green wasn't done yet. Facing Pujols, he threw the third slider of the at-bat. Same pitch, same location, same speed. Any Major League batter would recognize this and smack one into the outfield.
When you're Albert Pujols, you launch it into the left field seats.
The Mets threatened, but failed to score, in the bottom of the 10th, and moved to six games below .500 for the year.
Sadly, this game is becoming commonplace. Just when the Mets show enough grit to come back, they show that they can implode just as quickly. Sometimes their defense fails them. Sometimes their offense does.
Or, as in the case tonight, it's their relief pitching.
There's no other explanation. The Mets are cursed. For their fans, every game is just another game to lose. It doesn't matter how it happens, they just know it will happen.
Last week the Mets won five games in a row. Things were looking up. A run at the wild card spot was considered a possibility.
Now we're back to square one, just praying for the end of the 2009 season.