New York Mets: The Top 5 Best Games of the 2011 Season
The Mets have been an enigma all season. One day they are playing great against some of the best teams in the league, and other days they have some absolutely dreadful games against mediocre teams such as the Marlins.
Despite their inconsistencies, the Mets are one game over .500 for the season at 58-57. They have been a hard-fought, resilient team that has overcome adversity, trades and injuries.
Here are the five best Mets games, up to date, from this 2011 season that's been full of ups and downs.
Bay's Late Inning Heroics
On July 3rd, Mets outfielder Jason Bay helped sparked a comeback against the best closer in the history of baseball, Mariano Rivera.
With two outs and no one on in the bottom of the ninth, I remembered thinking to myself, "Oh great, Jason Bay is coming up. I can't believe we are going to get swept by Yankees."
Down to their final strike, a comeback seemed improbable. Bay was able to work the count and reach on a walk. Our favorite right fielder, Lucas Duda, fought off a tough cutter and muscled it into center field. Ronny Paulino was then able to drive Bay in by lining an opposite field single.
Jason Bay then drove in the game-winning run with a knock off Yankee reliever Hector Noesi in the bottom of the 10th inning. The Mets won 3-2.
This was only Rivera's second blown save against the Mets. The first happened in 1999 when good ole Matt Franco hit that game-winning single.
Anytime the Mets can pull off a comeback against a future Hall of Famer and the "Evil Empire" is a huge win in my book.
Mets Make Another Comeback Against the Padres
The Mets pulled off a second straight comeback against the San Diego Padres on August 9th. The Padres, who have the best bullpen in the Majors, were unable to hold onto their two-run lead late in the game.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau (h/t ESPN), the Mets were able to win consecutive games despite being down two or more runs in the eighth inning or later for the first time since 1965.
The Mets, down 4-2, scored three runs in the bottom of the eighth inning against Padres relievers Chad Qualls and Josh Spence. This included a walk to Mets' shortstop, Ruben Tejada with the bases loaded. That run ended up being the difference, as the Mets won the game 5-4.
This victory was really a team effort. In an eighth inning with a home run, timely hitting and a Lucas Duda bunt, they really exhibited what Mets baseball is all about.
The Mets Beat the Phillies on an Emotional Night
The day of May 1st, 2011 will live in the history of the United States. On a day when the President declared that special armed forces captured and killed Osama Bin Laden, the Mets and Phillies played a game on ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball.
The game was tied at one in the ninth inning when chants of "USA! USA!" flooded Citizen's Bank Park as soon as fans found out about the news via social media, texts or phone calls.
On a very emotional night, the Mets were able scratch out a tough 2-1 victory in 14 innings.
Mets catcher Ronny Paulino had a career-high five hits. His last hit was a double that drove in the game-winning run.
Mets Erase Seven Run Deficit Against Pirates
On June 2nd, the Mets had some serious rally cap action going on against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Citi Field.
Despite being down 7-0 by the middle of the third inning, the Mets were able to scratch and claw away at the Buccos' lead by scoring three in the third inning, four in the sixth and two in the eighth.
This win came after Mets' manager Terry Collins chewed them out for their uninspired play over the weeks leading up to that game. As many started to write them off for the season, they remained resilient.
This was the Mets' largest comeback since June 30th, 2000 when they were down 8-1 against the Atlanta Braves. Of course, Mets fan will remember the memorable three-run HR by Mike Piazza down the left field. The Mets won that game 11-8.
The Mets won this game 9-8. Although this game was not nearly as significant, it was important for guiding a struggling Mets' team in the right direction.
Duda Sparks Mets with Game-Winning Hit
On August 8th, a day after putting key players Jose Reyes and Daniel Murphy on the disabled list, the Mets came back from four runs down and beat Heath Bell and the Padres.
Even though the Mets have been inconsistent all year, they have demonstrated heart and a never-say-die attitude when the proverbial chips seemed to be down.
As the Mets headed to the eighth inning down 8-4, many would presume that they were down for the count because of the Padres great bullpen. But the Mets scored five runs in the final two innings of the game.
Lucas Duda was instrumental in both of these innings. He started the eighth inning rally with a single against Chad Qualls, and he would eventually knock a game-winning two-run single to cap off a three-run ninth inning against All-Star and former Met Heath Bell.
Despite hearing the bad news about two of their best players earlier in the day, the Mets came out to play and ignited this spectacular comeback to help the Mets win 9-8.
What's the Problem?
Although these were very impressive wins for the team, it makes Mets fans scratch their heads in frustration. If they have the potential to battle and make these comebacks, then why can't they maintain this level of play? I understand that they have had numerous bad injuries, but they have definitely not played up to their potential.
You can say that they have over-achieved this year, but when they exhibit signs of greatness on numerous occasions, the Mets need to maintain that—injuries or not.
What ifs annoy me and I despise hypotheticals, so I can't, nor do I want to, explain the Mets' situation. Let's just hope that the Mets can show their fans some more signs of brilliance and grittiness for the rest of the year.