By Lenn Robbins
Let’s stay in the real world. The Mets chances of making the playoffs remains somewhere between improbable and miraculous.
After Saturday night’s 7-5 stirring come-from-behind win against the Pirates in Pittsburgh, the Mets remain four and one-half games out of the final Wild Card with 52 games remaining. They are tied with the Arizona Diamondbacks at 54-56 and have five other teams ahead of them for that last spot.
Those of us fortunate enough to have been on that Amazing ride in 1969 know miracles were possible long before Al Michaels told us so at the 1980 Olympics.
Those of us lucky enough to have an older friend or relative to recount the tales of that miraculous August, September and October wonder if they would ever see such magic for themselves.
So when the 2019 Mets went on a spurt before, and now, after the All-Star break, there was some folly musings that this could be 1969 all over again. Then the Mets went all contrarian on the baseball world and GM Brodie Van Wagenen became a buyer instead of seller, acquiring starter Marcus Stroman.
“We both feel like we can win and go on a run and get into this thing,’’ manager Mickey Calloway told reporters.
This was a head scratcher that only a rake could sate.
“Get into this thing?!”
The Mets? Get into the playoffs? Lol. Lol. Lol.
Yet after Saturday night’s win, it’s not insane to say, ‘Maybe.’
The 7-5 victory came on the heels of an 8-4 loss to the Pirates that snapped a seven-game win streak. After a 12-game stretch in which the Mets starters were 1969-like superb, Steven Matz turned in a subpar performance and SNAP went the streak.
“Let’s just start another streak,’’ Calloway told reporters, as if starting a streak in baseball is as easy as snapping a Selfie.
The baseball gods have been irked over less flippant statements.
We won’t know for a few games if the Mets are streaking in the direction but we do know this: The Mets won a bounce back game in come-from-behind fashion and the bullpen didn’t blow it.
“Tonight was elusive to us in the first half,” Callaway acknowledged to reporters. “It was tough to stop the bleeding, and I think we understand we have to do that. I don’t think we’ve ever given up, but we just have to get it done.”
The Mets got it done. Stroman made his first start for the Mets and was uneven as was to be expected. He hadn’t pitched since July 24th and making a debut for a team that believes it can be in the postseason can give many a pitcher pause.
Yet the Mets overcame a shaky start, rallied from down 3-1 and Seth Lugo, pitched a scoreless eighth inning. The blemish on this game was Edwin Diaz who surrendered a two-run home run in the ninth.
If you need more reason to seriously think about reinvesting your heart and soul in the Mets, consider this: Lugo was named NL Reliever of the Month. Yes, a member of the Mets pen won Reliever of the Month!
Baseball hardly is the sport to point to one game and declare it the most important of the season. Picking one of 162 is like picking the moment when a teenager started acting like an adult.
Maybe, just maybe, the Mets are starting to act like winners.