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The Mets Lost in a Very Mets Way Yesterday

Now, obviously, the Mets' 5-4 loss to the Cardinals at Busch Stadium yesterday afternoon doesn't change the trajectory of their season or anything. They're now seven games under .500 — which isn't all that bad, really! — and the magic number for them to be eliminated from the NL East title chase is now ten. (For the wild-card, it's nineteen. It was 21 before yesterday.) It meant something to the Cardinals, but that's not the Mets' problem. But you still can't blame Mets fans for tearing their hair out anyway, if they had been unfortunate enough to watch.

The Cardinals jumped out to a 4-0 lead and seemed to have the game in the bag but, as we've seen repeatedly (at least until the last month or so) from the Mets this year, they fought back, thanks to two-run homers from Kelly Shoppach and Daniel Murphy. In the top of the ninth, Andres Torres, facing a clearly gassed Cardinals closer Jason Motte, smashed a double into right field. Motte was panting and huffing; Cardinals fans were absolutely convinced they were watching a dumpster fire. (We can personally confirm this last fact.) And then Motte stepped off the rubber, threw to first and ... umpire David Rackley, shockingly, called Torres out, claiming he missed the bag. The Mets then went down with little fanfare, and it was yet another loss.

A few galling aspects to the call:

1. It was wrong. Yeah, you can't tell for certain, but there clearly isn't any obvious evidence that he didn't touch the bag. For the record, Rackley didn't back off his call after seeing the replay. Mets fans respectfully disagree.

2. Who makes that call? After the game, Mets manager Terry Collins was visibly furious, less with the missed call (though he was mad about that too) and more with the fact that the young umpire decided to make the call at all. "Never seen that before," he said.

3. It was all Carlos Beltran's fault. Yep, from the bench, the former Met (who missed the game with an injury) suggested to Cardinals manager Mike Matheny that he appeal the play. "When he hit the ball, [Torres] was running and looking at the ball,” Beltran said. "He never looked at the bag. I saw the sand coming off around the bag area ... It looked like he didn’t touch first base. Normally when you touch the bag you don’t see sand coming off. I told Mike, ‘Just give it a try.’”

We don't know for sure if the Mets would have won the game had that call not been made. But we watched the whole game. (That was not the only time Rackley got air time, by the way.) The Mets had everything going their way. Beltran cost the Mets a win yesterday. Though not as much as that ump did.

Photo: Jeff Curry/Getty Images