At some point the Mets are going to run out of minor league first basemen to bring to Queens and let loose on an unsuspecting National League. Until they do, though, it remains one of their surest ways to guarantee a Mets victory.
For the second straight night, it looked like Nationals would snuff out the Mets as Tuesday's game entered the eighth inning. The score was 6-2, the Mets were leaving runners on base in bunches and they seemed content to surrender meekly for a third straight loss. There was nothing remarkable about the situation. The very unremarkableness of the Mets finding themselves in such a spot was, in fact, the problem. Meek losses caused by offensive brownouts are all too common.
And then there was a single, a double, an error, another double and, eventually, Chris Carter strode to the plate as a pinch hitter with the game tied at 6. Carter was summoned from Buffalo to replace Frank Catalanotto on the team's bench -- a second affirmation of Omar Minaya's unimpeachable team building skills -- in hopes that he could capitalize on just these situations. Carter's known as The Animal for his rather frenetic style of pacing around the dugout, wildly gesticulating in the on-deck circle and generally looking like he's got the fire in his belly that the Mets didn't have for the first seven innings on Tuesday.
Carter doubled, the Mets added another run and K-Rod closed the door with an easy ninth with an assist from Ike Davis. Davis made yet another circus catch of a foul pop over the dugout railing, a move that's become his trademark quite quickly. It's not the easiest move to wedge into every game which makes us wonder if we'll get to the point where he's forcing it into the action the way Arnold Schwarzenegger jammed his movie lines into political speeches. It still made us smile but not nearly as much as when they happened organically.
The Mets have been a very odd team this year. They veer wildly from exciting to inert, sometimes within the same nine innings, and that probably means that they can't hope to be much better than .500 when all is said and done. As long as the winning half of the .500 is as exciting as Tuesday night, though, they'll be worth watching.