Mets Sweep a Twin Bill Winning Their Fifth in a Row By Rich Coutinho/TheNYExtra.com
When the Mets began this homestand this week they were 20-22 and after losing that first game versus the Rays they fell to 3 games under 500 behind 3 NL East teams in the division–The Braves, Marlins and Phils. Here we are 5 days later and the Mets are winners of 5 in a row and stand 2 games over 500 having passed the Phils and Marlins in the standings cutting the Braves lead in the NL East to a much more manageable 5 games.
When you think about how the Mets won these 5 games in a row–coming from behind in each contest with 4 of those 5 comebacks coming in their final at bat–you know even a Hollywood scriptwriter could not have penned a better story, As I have said all week, this team really believes in each other as home runs and big hits have come froma plethora of sources. On this day the long ball came via Starling Marte in the opener that gave the Mets the lead for good and in the nightcap, Francisco Lindor smacked the game-tying home run.
Earlier in the week, it was Pete Alonso or Brett Baty or Francisco Alvarez who catalyzed a run scoring inning but the point here is it was a different hero every game. On this day, we also saw the greatness of Max Scherzer who threw six shutout innings while Justin Verlander did something no Met pitcher has done all year–pitch 8 complete innings and in those frames allowed only 1 run and 3 hits.
As for all the experts that said the Mets were in deep trouble, maybe they can explain to me how that is true. If the season ended today, the Mets would be in playoffs as the third wild card. Now I know the aspirations of this team are far higher than that but my point is that the Mets did this with a hot 5-1 week and if those experts actually looked at this roster, they should have realized as I kept saying, this Met roster is loaded and it was just a matter of time before it played better.
I know that I sound like the old man on the block when I say things like that (and I am 62 years old) but in this sport the cream in time always rises to the top. I think the experts failed to recognize that the Met farm system had players ready to help this year and had no idea how deep this Met bullpen is even without Edwin Diaz. My case on that is once again (much like Drew Smith did earlier this month) Brooks Raley saved the nightcap of the twin bill helping not to overwork the arms of Adam Ottavino and David Robertson.
That is what winning teams do–they get contributions from everyone on the roster and Buck Showalter manages that better than anyone I have ever seen because he believes in all of his players not just with words but with actions. He is never afraid to use them in tough spots and more times than not they respond because his confidence pushes them to high levels of performance. And because of that, these players all root for each other even for guys they may lose playing time to because team first is the mantra they live with both in front of the media and behind closed doors.
It is inevitable in sports that players begin to emulate their coaches and managers and you can see that on this Met team. The manager believes in his players no matter what the social media noise pollution sends out and because of that the players believe in each other. That is what kept the Mets minds in a positive framework even when things were not going so well. They believed in the process and never got caught up in the nonsense. And like I said, players emulate their managers and that is what we saw this week in Flushing.
After a day off on Monday, the Mets play 3 at Wrigley Field and then 3 in Coors Field. They will need to have power bats in this lineup percolate to beat 2 teams that score runs. Of course, the Met pitching will try to curtail those lineups beginning Tuesday Night at Wrigley when Kodai Senga gets the start.