The Mets arrived at CitiField today knowing they were getting ready to play a twin bill which was the first of many they would be forced to play this season due to early season postponements. And the character of this team rose up and ripped a win out of the hands of the Phillies inserting it in their win column.
First there was Taijuan Walker who has rediscovered his fastball and used it striking out 8 hitters in just 4.1 innings of work. He left the game in the 5th inning and Miquel Castro, who has become a “circle of trust” hurler for the bullpen of Luis Rojas got the ball to Edwin Diaz in the ninth inning of a tied game.
The game was knotted at 2 after Dom Smith had given the Mets a 2-0 first inning lead with a 2 run homer and we headed to extra innings which in the 7 inning doubleheader is the eight frame not the tenth inning. And Trevor May surrendered a run on a Didi Gregorious RBI single but held the Phils to that lone run giving the Mets a shot in the bottom half of the inning.
And this team took full advantage getting an RBI single from Pete Alonso followed by a game winning hit off the bat of Jonathan Villar giving the Met fans their second half walk win of the season. But this win did more than that. The critics were swarming all around the Mets after dropping 3 of their first 5 games. And it was obvious to me this game proved how tight this team is in terms of caring for each other.
That evidence took place in the sixth inning when Phils pitcher Jose Alvarado decide the throw one pitch up and in to Michael Conforto and then hit him with the next pitch which appeared extremely intentional to me and most of the Met players. Dom Smith began jawing at Alvarado from the bench and Luis Rojas had a chat with the umpires. That pitch seem to wake the Mets up because from that moment on they played with an energized spirit prompting the win.
This clubhouse is filled with players who care for each other and it does not matter who is out there–they treat each teammate like family. That is why Jacob deGrom never takes his teammates to task for lack of run support. That is why they have accepted leadership from a brand new player in Francisco Lindor and why each of them is supporting Michael Conforto even while he struggles at the plate.
You often hear cliches in this sport like “we win as a team and lose a team” but for the Mets it is more than a cliche–it is in the chromosomes of their baseball souls. It is the reason Marcus Stroman is pitching the nightcap of a twin bill with only 1 day of full rest. It is about what teammates do for each other. I do not know how many wins this team will amass but I did label them a 90 plus win team before the season. I did that because the talent is deep on their roster but more importantly they know there is no I in the word team. They live it every single day and that is what made this walk off win so special.