The Subway Series and "Lost" both came to an end tonight. In both cases, fans who had invested years of caring about the main characters hoped that they would not come away disappointed.
With the Mets seemingly having the game well in hand, I thought I'd be able to relax and enjoy the final adventures of the passengers of Oceanic Flight 815. But just as "Lost" was reaching its long-awaited conclusion, the Yankees came to life in the ninth like a malevolent Smoke Monster. As Sawyer would say, son of a bitch! I had to pause the finale and put on Howie Rose (ya think I'm stopping "Lost" for Miller and Morgan?).
I haven't enjoyed too many finales in recent years. "The Sopranos," "Battlestar Galactica" and the 2006, 2007 and 2008 Mets all let me down. Now the "Lost" finale, which I thought had been going really well, threatened to be ruined - by the Mets bullpen.
Fortunately, as in the waning moments of "Lost," characters living in an alternate reality suddenly remembered their earlier experiences:
- Johan Santana, all too human over the last year, remembered that he's an ace.
- Jason Bay, with one home run on the season, remembered that he's a power hitter and blasted two homers off of one of the best pitchers in baseball, CC Sabathia.
- Alex Rodriguez, who became Mr. Clutch last season, came to bat as the go-ahead run with two outs in the ninth and struck out to end the game.
- The Mets remembered that they were a contending team just two seasons ago, and took a series from the World Champions.
On Friday, I made the following prediction for the Subway Series:
The Mets will get good starting pitching and will have leads in the sixth inning or later in two games, but the Yankees will rally late against the Mets bullpen to complete a sweep of the three-game series.
I was mostly right - the Mets got great starting pitching, allowing only 2 runs in 19 2/2 innings, an ERA of under 1, and did have leads in the sixth inning or later in two games. And the Yankees did rally late against the bullpen, in the seventh inning on Friday, the eighth on Saturday and the ninth on Sunday. The Met bullpen was lit up for 7 runs in 7 1/3 innings, almost a 9 ERA.
What I didn't predict was that the offense would wake up enough to make the Mets leads big enough that the Yankee rallies were not enough to catch up. I certainly wouldn't have guessed that Bay would triple his homer output for the season while going 6-for-6 over the last two games.
What makes the Met outburst that much more satisfying is that it came against Sabathia and Phil Hughes, who looked on his way to becoming an ace this year before his games this week against the Red Sox and Mets.
Some Yankee fans have been crowing this season over the Bombers holding on to Hughes rather than trading him a couple of years ago for Santana. While I do think the Yankees were wise to hold on to Hughes, this weekend showed that he's not quite ready to move ahead of Johan. (What the Yankees should have done was trade overhyped Joba Chamberlain for Santana).
One big difference between the final "Lost" and the Subway Series weekend was in the enthusiasm of the reunions. Most of the interviews I saw with members of the 2000 Mets were underwhelming. Mike Hampton looked like he was just waiting for someone to ask him about the Colorado school system. But the "Lost" characters were thrilled to reconnect with each other (probably none happier than Juliet, Charlie and Penny, thrilled for another chance to do intelligent sci-fi after suffering through "V" and "FlashForward").
In the end, both "Lost" and the Subway Series turned out the same for me. I really enjoyed the "Lost" finale, even if I didn't fully understand it. And I really enjoyed the Subway Series, even if I didn't fully understand how the Mets managed to take two of three from the Yankees.