Mets Win, Losing Streak Ends

We won! Mets 2, Marlins 1. The four-game skid is over.

I was asked to write about reliever Hansel Robles in today’s poem, since manager Terry Collins put him in a bases loaded, none out situation. Robles, a righty, struck out two before lefty Dee Gordon (a legit threat) came up to the plate. Collins took out Robles and put in our left-handed specialist Blevins, who got the out with a shallow fly ball that Cespedes caught on the run, although Gary Cohen on SNY was so excited for the out that he said it was Conforto, not Cespedes. Either way, I’m sure Robles wanted that out more after those first two Ks.

The New York Post even wrote about Collins’s “full-throttle” bullpen strategy for this game and his effort to end the losing streak. GM Sandy Alderson said that it’s not something we’ll likely see again.


 

The Tenth Mind on the Field

 

World Series, game five, ninth inning, and Harvey

wants to finish the shutout. No way!

Harvey says to Collins, no way am I coming out!

So Collins lets him back in, and Harvey

sprints to the mound, the crowd cheers

and chants his name, and then he walks one

and gives up a double. Collins throws

his lineup pad, storms into the corner

of the dugout to swear off-camera.

It’s a choice he’ll wish he never made–

he could’ve lost his job because they lost.

He should’ve brought in the closer, Familia,

‘cause Harvey was gassed. So, next season

Collins goes full-throttle, rifling through his bullpen

after days of short rest and high pitch counts

and tired arms, just to win one game,

to not make the same mistake again.

Robles came in, bases loaded and none out

and struck out two, then Collins

yanked him and put in the lefty reliever

to face the lefty batter. He got a close out,

shallow fly to left where the fielder caught it

on the run, but Robles deserved

that third K, and Collins is stuck between heart

and brain and gut. He’s the tenth mind on the field,

the one that sees everything, that has to choose

who stays in, who gets yanked, and who

has the best chance to win.

Matz Tanks

Mets 3, Marlins 10. I turned on the game in the top of the 2nd. Nobody on, nobody out. Five minutes later, it’s 7 to zip and Terry Collins yanks young Steven Matz after he gave up a nail-in-the-coffin two-run homer. In baseball, it’s amazing how quickly a good batting order can unravel a pitcher when he doesn’t have his good stuff.


 

A Pitcher’s Mind

 

Two on, nobody out, the 3-2 pitch

and it’s a walk, then another,

then a single and a run scores,

then the pitcher is spitting and mumbling

to himself as the manager trudges

to the mound. They cover their mouths

with their mitts, and who knows

what’s said at those meetings—

the famous scene in Bull Durham

where they talk about a cursed mitt

and misaligned chakras

while the batter taps his cleats

and waits. The pitcher’s mind unravels—

he’s thinking of his pregnant wife,

or his parents in the luxury box

who flew all this way to see him tank

but really came to wait for the moment

of birth. He shakes off the next sign

from the catcher, throws a fat hanging curve

that the batter pounds over the fence,

and the manager’s back out, a slap on the ass

and the pitcher’s done, and he sits

on the bench and spits sunflower seeds

and watches his team lose with a blank,

sweaty face, with a mind that’s anywhere

but here. He’s waiting for that call, the ride

to the hospital, the birthing room,

the first cry of a newborn

that’ll make all those losses disappear.