I often have wild premonitions about what's in store for me when I go on a road trip to see the Mets. For example, when I went to Tampa last season, I had a strange thought that I had to go down there … needed to go even … because if I didn't, then R.A. Dickey would throw a no-hitter and I will have missed it. (He threw a one-hitter, but you know how I feel about that.)
The "vision" I had for this trip, a quick two game set between the fourth place Mets and the fifth place White Sox, was that Lucas Duda was going to drop a fly ball to lose the game for the Mets. I wasn't sure if it was going to be an easy one, a screaming liner, or something in between, but it was going to happen. And then Lucas went to first base. And then he went on the disabled list. So much for a vision. But usually premonitions aren't quite exact to your specifications. And far too often, people use up their innate psychic powers on stuff like this instead of saving it up for a few years and then nailing something important like winning lottery numbers.
But Gordon Beckham dutifully played the part of Lucas Duda and sabotaged what should have been the final out of the game by slamming into his Conor Gillaspie and allowing David Wright to score the tying run on Tuesday night on Daniel Murphy's pinch hit pop-up.
I'm not going to say that I saw it coming, because I didn't. But something didn't look right about that from the outset … starting with Addison Reed standing there as if he was abducted by space aliens. Still … holy hell! But of course, the Mets gave it right back as LaTroy Hawkins completed the daily double of giving up hard hits and not being able to field sacrifice bunts. That, along with a two out hit by Alexei Ramirez (which he wouldn't have gotten if Hawkins could have just fielded a freakin' sacrifice bunt) will kill you every time.
So in reality, the only thing Beckham's Bender accomplished was to save Zack Wheeler from coming away with a loss he probably deserved. (And also cost Chris Sale a win, which he really deserved with his 13 K's in 8 innings.) Wheeler gave up four runs in five and a third, only striking out one in the process. But he was still throwing hard and as he gave up the tying and go-ahead runs in the fifth inning, they were driven in with outs instead of hits, which told me that even in a bad situation he stiffened up somewhat. Strikeouts, of course, would have been optimal. But that this guy in his second start didn't turn a tough inning into a complete dumpster fire as so many pitchers who have come through these parts have done is a feat on to itself.
And big ups (that's right, I said big ups … I've been awake since 7AM ET, leave me alone) to Carlos Torres and Josh Edgin for shutting the door and making Beckham's Bender, and by extension LaTroy's Louse Up possible. They should be commended for their part in this night. The people who shouldn't be commended: the people running the White Sox scoreboard, who first spelled Zack Wheeler's name "Zach", and then brought us White Sox Trivia: Did you know the only players to wear the number 41 for both the White Sox and Mets were Tom Seaver … and Philip Humber???
But that was the exception to the rule that Chicago is fun. And surreal. The Magnificent Mile, which is near the very hotel room I'm in now, looks like a cross between Lexington and Park Avenues. Diversey Parkway, where you'll find the excellent burgers at Kuma's Too, looks a hell of a lot like Queens. And the buildings that litter your commute on the CTA's Blue Line from O'Hare has a very Bronx feel to it. In other words, this city feels almost like home to me. It's like New York except without everybody you know.
Also, White Sox fans? If you respond to their "Let's Go White Sox" chants with a very high pitched, shrill "Let's Go Mets" chant, they will egg you on until you lose your voice. So maybe it's for the best that the Mets lost in the ninth inning, or else I might have had to go to a doctor. Bad enough I've acquired the Mets luck in weather for this trip (the plane ride to Chicago was delayed by about an hour because of terrible weather in Chicago, which supposedly will make its return to this area for Wednesday's game), I don't need to go see Ray Ramirez with strep throat because I was screaming "Let's Go Mets" at the top of my lungs while Hawkins was letting all hope of a miracle win slip through his fingers. I'd never talk again.