Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Fish Food

The date was September 18, 2006. The place was Shea Stadium. Josh Willingham hit a Billy Wagner offering to left field, where Cliff Floyd squeezed it for the final out of the game. The Mets had just shut out the Florida Marlins to win their first division title since 1988 and they were dancing on the field while the hapless Marlins watched.

Since that memorable night, the Mets haven't had much to celebrate when playing the Marlins. In fact, it's been the exact opposite.

Do you think the Marlins say "nom, nom, nom" when they see the Mets on the schedule?

In 2007 and 2008, the Mets faced the Marlins during the final weekend of the regular season, each time with a postseason berth at stake. New York had great pitching performances by John Maine in 2007 and Johan Santana in 2008, but they lost the other four games in each season-ending series, falling a game short of the playoffs both times.

Their late-season failures against the Marlins carried over into the following seasons, as the Mets went 7-11 versus the Fish in 2009 and 6-12 against them in 2010. Now, after dropping the first two games of their latest series with Florida in excruciating fashion, the Mets are 3-7 in 2011 against their division rivals.

Excruciating is the perfect word to describe the Mets' performances against the Marlins over the past five seasons. It's one thing to be blown out by a team. It's another thing to drop so many games to the same team in close fashion.

Yeah, this celebration took place against the Mets.

Since dropping the final game ever played at Shea Stadium to the Marlins, the Mets have played 47 games against the Fish. Their record in those games is 16-31. Of the 47 games, 28 of them have been decided by two runs or less. The Mets have claimed victory in only nine of those 28 contests.

Let's put it this way. Since the Shea Goodbye game, the Marlins' overall record is 223-212 (.513 winning percentage). They're 31-16 against the Mets (.660 win pct.) and 192-196 against everyone else (.495 win pct.).

The Mets are the main reason why the Marlins have been "winners" over their last 400-plus games. The Marlins were also instrumental in preventing the Mets from being winners in 2007 and 2008.

Face it. Until the Mets can figure out how to beat the Marlins, they will continue to be fish food for them. It's a reality that becomes harder to swallow with each tough loss.

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