The Mets have had a heck of a week so far. After dropping five straight at home to the likes of the Reds and Braves – no shame in that; the rest of the National League has been doing the same – the Mets took the final game against Atlanta, then three straight vs. the Yankees. For anyone who’s followed this team all year long, this is incomprehensible. All year, this has been the gang that couldn’t shoot straight. This is the team that has a sub-replacement OPS+, as a whole (89). This is the team that’s had a tough time running a competent pitcher not named Matt Harvey out to the bump every day, and has had a bumbling bullpen to go with it. This is the team that has been the second funniest joke in the National League – the Miami Marlins hold that title – and has been disappearing from the grid of New York City relevance.
Some late inning magic certainly helped win the first three. David Wright and Daniel Murphy – the two most competent cogs in the lineup at the moment – carried the days, with surprise contributions from slump-ridden Ike Davis and clutch swinging Lucas Duda. The real outlier, though, was the pounding the Mets laid on the Yankees in the first game in the Bronx. The Mets’ offense hadn’t looked this relentless since Opening Day. In the first, they pestered and harassed David Phelps with such a fusillade of walks, base hits and good fortune, that he was only able to register one out. They then did what was most unthinkable: they kept tacking on runs and slowly pulling away after their first inning five-spot.
And for all that, the Mets’ fan base still couldn’t exhale until the final out. Their opponent was still the New York Yankees and the setting was still the bandbox with the short acreage in right field. Like the old Metrodome in Minnesota, like Wrigley Field when the wind is right, like Houston in July, no lead is safe until out #27. So when Brennan Boesch hit one that would have been out of anywhere — including Citi Field – to bring the Yankees within 8-1, a collective gulp could be heard across Mets Nation. And when Boesch and Jayson Nix combined to fashion a couple of runs in the sixth, any Met fan could feel the popping of the sweat and the slight grind of the molar. And in the ninth, when a combo of defensive indifference and weird happenstance conspired to give the Pinstripers their final run, there were many tortoise v. hare references peeking out all over various game chatters and Twitters. Such is the lot in life of the Mets fan, it seems. Fans are never comfortable enough to say, “We got this.” Nothing’s ever in the bag, nothing assured, except the fact that at some point, there will be head-shaking and groaning. Fans are so unaccustomed to good news, they can’t trust it when it arrives.
The Mets have had a heck of a week. No, Davis still hasn’t figured himself out. Yes, Duda continues to stamp himself as this generation’s Ron Swoboda, especially on defense. Yes, Ruben Tejada is still given to infuriating vapor-lock during the simplest of plays, and now he’s hurt. No, the offense still is not potent.
But boy, have the last couple of days been fun. Most of us had forgotten what that was like.
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