Friday, September 25, 2015

Up Off The Matz

I'd surmised yesterday that maybe more than anything else, the Mets needed to go on the road and get the hell away from all the people and the talking and the distractions and just get back to business. Being at home can sometimes be the worst thing for a team, particularly if they're not playing well, because of media distractions, and fan displeasure and for the Mets it's been particularly magnified as they try to erase some of the ghosts of pennant races' past. Look at what being at home has done to Washington. The Nationals have played 6 road games this month and the rest at home and they can't get out of their own way right now.

The Nationals poor fortune, of course, has been the Mets gain as they managed to weather their poor play without losing much, or really any of their lead. And now they've gone on the road, knowing Washington had already lost to the Orioles, and they came away with a much-needed win over the Cincinnati Reds to knock another two digits off that ol' Magic Number, making it now lower than the Mets have been able to make it since 2006.

Though I was out most of the evening and didn't actually see any of the game until around the 9th inning, I was apprised on what was going on by a few outlets, including text messages. I knew that Steven Matz, in his first opportunity to face a team for the second time, didn't hold the Reds down quite as well as he did the first time around, but nonetheless held the line. He had his usual 1st inning problems when his nemesis Brandon Phillips drove home an early run, but after that he settled down. The Mets got him a lead in the 3rd inning thanks to key hits from Daniel Murphy and Lucas Duda against Josh Smith, who oddly also opposed Matz in that first game. But Matz tired in the middle innings and the Reds started to hit him around a little bit, so that by time he'd departed the game after 5.2 innings, he had allowed 10 hits and the game was tied 3-3.

But once again this seemed to matter little to the Mets. Facing Manny Parra in the 7th inning, the Mets bounced back and scored another quick 3 runs, with the same cast of characters writing the script. Daniel Murphy, who after so many seasons of playing on losing teams combined with the fact that he's Daniel Murphy looks like he's about to jump out of his skin every time he gets a hit, drove home the lead run with a triple. Yoenis Cespedes, who seems to be coming back to life, singled him home. Later, Lucas Duda, who also seems to be coming back to life, doubled home Cespedes. 3-3 then very quickly became 6-3. Although Hansel Robles had a bit of a Jay Bruce problem in the 8th inning and a fellow by the name of Jumbo Diaz struck out the side in the 9th inning, Jeurys Familia notched his 42nd Save with a clean 9th inning, the Mets won the game 6-4, and coupled with the Nationals again being unable to solve their own problems, everything was once again right with the world.

In 2007, I did a Magic Number count here and stopped after 7 because things were getting out of hand and I felt I needed to do something to try to reverse the karma. That didn't work. This year, I and I think most Mets fans have been too nervous about jinxing something. I haven't counted down anything, I think I've barely said the "P" word and the one phrase that I think Mets fans have been saying almost on autopilot has been "I don't want to get ahead of myself..." But, at this point, it may be too late to turn back now. The Mets have 9 games left and need to win 3 of them in order to wrap this up, or, some permutation of wins and Washington losses that totals 3. Odds are this is going to happen now. But I'm still not too comfortable with admitting that just yet.

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