Game 19 Recap: The Start of Something Big?
There are those moments in Mets history when you just know. When the team does something that transcends the boxscore, sending a subliminal message that this is going to be a special season. Sometimes, the message comes late in the season. For the 1973 Mets, it was the September “Ball On The Wall” miracle. For last year’s heroes, it was the Wilmer Flores walk off homer over the Nats in August. Sometimes, though, the moment is early.
2006 had Carlos Beltran’s 2-homer game in a 16-inning win over the Phils in mid-May. The 86 Mets had Wally Backman’s diving stop of a Terry Pendleton liner that started a game preserving double play. That game was in late April. When the Mets left St. Louis one day (and more victory) later, the Cards all but ran up the white flag.
Granted, those other wins came against key divisional rivals, something the Cincinnati Reds definitely are not. Although that infamous extra inning affair with them back in 86, when Ray Knight cold cocked Eric Davis and Jessie Orosco played left field, was for me at least, the moment that I knew the Mets where not about to blow the big lead they had in the NL East and that they where going back to the playoffs.
But on a night where they looked as if they had rolled over and died, a night when a patchwork lineup made Reds starter Brandon Finnegan look like Cy Young, on a night when “Big Sexy” showed a few blemishes, two injured Mets starters blasted and blooped the team to an improbable 4-3 win over the Reds at Citi Field. In so doing, they drew within two games of the fast-starting Washington Nationals.
Exhale everybody, Washington won’t run away with it. There will be a pennant race in the NL East after all.
ICYMI, the Mets entered the seventh inning trailing 3-0. With one out, Juan Lagares drew a walk, which was followed by a Kevin Plawecki single. (BTW, I have grown tired of waiting for Travis d’Arnaud, bring on Plawecki). After a dramatic pause, Yoenis Cespedes stepped out of the dugout and strode to the plate to bat in the pitcher’s spot. In a rare case (for him) of successful gamesmanship, Mets manager Terry Collins fooled the Reds into believing that Lucas Duda, rather than Cespedes, would pinch hit. As a result the Reds kept Finnegan in for one pitch too many. “Yo” blasted Finnegan’s first offering 345 feet off the old wall in left, tying the game and turning Citi into an insane asylum. Next, Curtis Granderson tripled and one out later, David Wright blooped a single over third, plating the go ahead run. Addison Reed and Jeurys Familia got the final six outs. Final score: Mets 4, Reds 3.
After a lethargic spring training and a slow first week, the Mets appear to be hitting a good stride. FWIW, I would move Wright out of the 2-hole and instead go Cabrera-Conforto-Cespedes-Duda-Walker two through six, respectively. This isn’t hating on David, as I certainly appreciate all he has done for this franchise, but his power is all but gone and his bat has slowed. I maintain that he will retire long before his contract is up.
The Mets window of contention is wide open right now. As was the case last year, they are looking at some potential key defections in the offseason, so there is (or should be) a sense of urgency to this year. It’s an overused cliché for sure, but momentum in baseball is the next game’s starting pitcher. The Mets have a pretty good one going for game 20. Let’s hope he gets untracked.
Not sure I am 100% for it, but if the Mets do not go to a 6 man rotation, it might be interesting to switch Logan and Don Bartolo. Bring in Sexy for long relief and hand the rotation spot to LV. Bartolo has been great though.
Lets go Mets!
I didn’t realise TC pulled a fast one with Yo PH the other night but that is great news. So was his line-up today. He needs to use all 25 players, and that includes Campbell getting some reps at 3rd so the Captain can rest regularly. FYI Reynolds has been getting lots of reps at 3rd in AAA and I think the Mets want to turn him back into a 3rd baseman per his college days given the abundance of young SS in the system. They need to have a good back up plan given the unfortunate decline of the face of this franchise. It sounds corny, but I’d like to see the Mets win the World Series and then D Wright can retire. Storybook finish for a deserving man.
Whenever Wright’s bat heats up, I think the 2 hole is good for him, as Cabrera is unlikely to keep up his current OBP.
Honestly, the game that excited me more, in terms of being a good sign for 2016, was Sunday’s win over the Braves, when the Mets finally scored the runs they needed without relying on homeruns. This homer-only offense is not going to last, so to see them mix in another sort of win was big in my eyes.