Sunday, June 11, 2017

Many Happy Returns

The Mets, on Saturday, did not follow prior history on Saturday by continuing to lose games in Atlanta in June, in spite of Saturday's Day-Night Doubleheader (my favorite!) at least partly being played on one of those painfully sunny Atlanta days where the temperature looks to be no less than 115˚.

But the Mets did not lose the sunshine game. In fact, they didn't lose either game. They won both games and kind of looked like a cohesive team in doing so. It was a little more like another day-night Doubleheader they played in Atlanta (which oddly was the last time they swept a doubleheader of any kind) a few years ago that proved a harbinger of things to come—or perhaps of a time the Mets are trying to recapture.

I was out most of the afternoon, which shouldn't be of much surprise to anyone who's read this blog with any regularity, and as such I didn't see much, if any of the early game. But I did follow along on my phone as I was able, such as the case may be, and so I saw the Mets hanging on to a tenuous 1-0 lead throughout most of the afternoon. The Mets scored an early run off of Sean Newcomb, a lefty making his Major League debut—one of those things that has a tendency to bedevil the Mets—but he was matched for the most part by Robert Gsellman, who kept the Braves off the board altogether. I checked back later to see the score was 2-1 in the 8th; to that point both Mets runs had involved Wilmer Flores, who was busy quietly putting his stamp on a pretty memorable afternoon all things considered. Fortuitously, I found myself in a store with some televisions on around the 9th inning, when the Mets had the bases loaded and Yoenis Cespedes at the plate, so I saw what transpired there as Cespedes hit a Grand Slam to give the Mets a 6-1 cushion and, you know, provide the team with that little something extra that had been missing these past six weeks.

I was still out when the nightcap started at the rather odd time of 6pm, which I guess was done to accommodate a postgame concert, although they have a habit of throwing in some bizarre start times in Atlanta (I seem to remember there being a game scheduled for 5pm on Sunday of all hours some time ago), so I didn't see the early innings of the game, which essentially involved Steven Matz welcoming himself back into the fold by providing that little something extra that had been missing from the starting rotation all season and, you know, pitching economically without giving up any runs. Unfortunately, Matz was matched by Matt Wisler, who hasn't pitched especially well in general, except when he faces the Mets, and he subsequently turns into John Smoltz. So it was scoreless into the middle innings, but the Mets rallied in the 5th and Jay Bruce hit a 3-run Home Run to break the ice and more or less ice the game. Matz threw shutout ball through 7 and reminded everyone that when he's healthy, he's really good (now if only he could stay healthy). The Mets then tacked on more runs, most of them involving Wilmer Flores, who banged out 4 hits in the 2nd game to finish the day 6-for-9, and the Mets coasted home with an 8-1 victory to give the Mets a sweep of the Doubleheader at a point when things seemed to be at their most grim.

These reinforcements are nice and kind of underscore why people were so optimistic about the Mets at the outset of the season, or, more appropriately, why the spate of injuries is so infuriating. If the Mets could stay healthy...If, if, if, to the point where it's all kind of hollow. The reality is that it happened and the Mets have dug themselves a pretty major hole. I'm not certain if it's altogether too late for them to claw themselves out of it. however, stranger things have happened...

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