The Mets meeting with the Atlanta Braves at Citi Field was, by any measure, a disaster. What goes up must come down. But the team is nowhere done, and the next challenge is on the way…
If the Mets have taught us anything this year, it’s that you can never count them out. Buried in the standings and embarrassed by their performance over the first half, the Mets picked themselves up, put on some new faces like J.D. Davis, a rejuvenated Amed Rosario, and Joe Panik. Some old faces joined in as well, like Jacob deGrom, Steven Matz, Juan Lagares, together with new/old faces like Pete Alonso and Michael Conforto.
Nothing has changed, despite losing three straight to the first-place Braves. These same names and faces will be on hand when the Mets square off against the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday night at Citi Field. All that was missing are the late-inning heroics the Mets have had a knack for enacting. There is nothing that should lead us to believe that within the Mets clubhouse has changed. No, siree.
Mets Lost The “Magic,” Not The Heart
This column is not the refrain of a die-hard Mets fan. It’s the view of a fan and a writer who views the team from afar, with little or any emotion. From this view, the Mets got yet another sterling outing from Steven Matz. Six innings pitched, only two hits and one run allowed on 102 pitches reinforces that Matz has become a premier pitcher in the league, and he has only just begun.
Lifted again by Mickey Callaway, you can be sure there will be question after question – Mickey, why did you yank him? With the benefit of knowing that Paul Sewald came in, promptly giving up a solo home run to Josh Donaldson, this only makes questions like that boring and useless.
Instead, what hurt the Mets more than anything is Dallas Keuchel. What can you do when a pitcher picks this start, following several so-so starts for the Braves, to pitch a gem over seven innings. The sinker was working, and Keuchel retired all but two hitters on ground balls. Sometimes, a team gets outpitched.
And occasionally, an out-of-town player like Josh Donaldson finds a field he likes playing in. He hits two home runs to account for all of the Braves runs, and his total at Citi Field stands at nine with three more to play here to close out the regular season. Go figure.
Pete Alonso, except for his record-setting 41st home run (Video), was all but grounded by Atlanta pitching (2 for 14). Ditto Michael Conforto (2 for 14) and Ahmed Rosario (2-15). These things happen. Timing is everything, and unfortunately for the Mets, the magic decided to take the weekend off.
Mets: Turning The Page
The Mets lost a chance to make a splash in the pool; they didn’t. If it’s any consolation to Mets players, at least they’re not the Braves who fly from New York to Denver for a game on Monday, and from there on to Toronto for another game on Tuesday.
Which reminds me, because it’s essential… The Mets have a decided home-field advantage for the remainder of the regular season. At Citi Field, the Mets are twelve games over .500. Fans are flocking to the ballpark, energy is at its highest, and Jeff McNeil is back. The Cubs are 25-39 on the road as they arrive in New York.
From afar, this is what I see. This column is not dedicated to the Die Hard Mets fans, who will always “Believe” no matter what. This column is for the casual Mets fan and even those who have recently hopped on board.
And in case it wasn’t noticed, the Mets scored one in the ninth inning on Sunday, bringing the winning run to the plate. The Mets are just beginning the fight…
Written by Steve Contursi, Reflections On Baseball
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