Jacob deGrom was lost for the season, one day after it was announced that he would be starting on Sunday. This isn't good, but as I've said, I'd rather have the Mets go to the whip with healthy arms that might lack pizzazz as opposed to trying to force someone who's hurt to come back and risk him pitching ineffectively or, worse, injuring himself further. So if nothing else, and if you can believe it I'm taking the silver lining route here, we have a real, legitimate answer to what's been ailing deGrom, and also no false set of expectations that he'll at some point be back. It's a drag, but then again, just about everything that's happened this season injury-wise has been a drag.
And yet the Mets as a team continue to process this information and go out and win games anyway, and they do so in all sorts of strange ways. They already won a game this week when a guy hit his first Major League Home Run in extra innings. Last night, the Mets won because Curtis Granderson came up in the 11th inning with the Mets down a run and hit a Home Run to tie the game, and followed that up by coming up in the 12th inning and hitting another Home Run to win the game, so, you know, why not? Why not get a pair of Home Runs from the same guy in back-to-back extra innings?
Seth Lugo, whose general M.O. has basically been to eat innings while keeping the Mets in the game, did that again. He wasn't at his best; he seemed a bit wild early, but outside of a 3rd inning Home Run from Eddie Rosario he allowed the Twins nothing of consequence over his 5 innings of work. This was fortunate, because the Mets were doing nothing against Ervin Santana. Santana continues to toil away for a woefully overmatched Twins team and, well, the Mets saw a bit of him back when he pitched for Atlanta that time and it seems he hasn't changed much. Santana had the Mets stopped cold through 7 innings and only in the 7th did they pose a credible threat, and even then Santana struck out Michael Conforto to end the inning and finish out his night.
And, of course, as soon as Santana left the game, the Mets tied the score. Ryan Pressly, who I suppose is posing as Minnesota's setup man (if you asked me who their closer was I probably wouldn't be able to tell you), gave up a first pitch hit to Jose Reyes, wild pitched him to 2nd and then Reyes moved to 3rd on a Cabrera ground out. And that brought up Cespedes, and for whatever reason teams continue to pitch to Cespedes in opportunities where he can beat them. Miami did it and it wrecked their precious little season. Minnesota did it and ended up getting beat as well, as Cespedes just flicked a 3-2 pitch over the 2nd baseman's head for the tying hit.
And, so, it then became a bullpen fest. The Mets had already burned through Josh Smoker, Fernando Salas, Jerry Blevins, Addison Reed and Jeurys Familia by time the game moved to the 10th, and so the game was turned over to Hansel Robles. The Twins countered with several pitchers you've never heard of, unless you're somehow related to J.T. Chargois or Alex Wimmers. Robles moved to the 10th, but in the 11th he was burned, and I mean legitimately burned, by Byron Buxton, who may be starting to get his sea legs under him. Buxton hit a Home Run up into a part of Citi Field where it seems only people named "Miguel Cabrera" or "Cespedes" can reach and the Twins not only had a lead, but a chance to use their closer and for me, a chance to see who their closer actually is.
Brandon Kintzler, said Twins Closer, came in to try to close things out in the last of the 11th and of course gave up a Home Run to Curtis Granderson on his 2nd pitch to re-tie the game at 2-2. Kintzler then appeared ready to just end things right there, giving up subsequent hits to T.J. Rivera and Brandon Nimmo, which brought up Kevin Plawecki—remember him?—for his first At Bat since June or thereabouts. Plawecki had a hard time up here earlier in the year and this time just hit into bad luck as his line shot glanced off Kintzler's glove and right to Brian Dozier, who threw him out. Kintzler then hit Matt Reynolds with a pitch, and then struck out Jose Reyes, which meant that after all that crotch-grabbing, we were just going to play more baseball.
Josh Edgin pitched the 12th inning for the Mets without incident. Michael Tonkin entered for Minnesota and retired the first two batters, then was subsequently removed by Paul Molitor in favor of Ryan O'Rourke—you know, the great Ryan O'Rourke. I'm not sure why at this point Molitor felt he needed to play matchups, but Granderson had one of those At Bats that Cespedes usually has, where he starts fouling off pitch after pitch and eventually gets something he can handle, and he did, and he hit it down into the little slip of seats in the Right Field corner for the game-winning Home Run and the Mets had won this absurd mess of a game 3-2.
And, of course, shortly after the Mets won, the Cardinals won, coming back on the Giants to win and knock the Giants back into a tie with the Mets for the first Wildcard. Can you believe this? The Mets played the Giants about a month ago at perhaps their worst point in the season, and now they're not only tied but because they hold the tiebreaker, the Mets are, in fact, in position to host the Wildcard game. But, they're not there yet. They have to keep winning these games against teams that are clearly overmatched.