The New York Mets have a modest two-game winning streak, but it’s more than they’ve had in a month. The plane ride into the Mile High City to face the Rockies for three games was bound to be a joyous one. Mets fans can honestly hope this is the beginning of the team’s upside this season.
It’s not likely Mets outfielder, Brandon Nimmo, saw or heard about Nick Swisher‘s eternal enthusiasm for the game of baseball and the smile of his face as Swisher pounded one into the upper deck during the Yankees annual Old Timer’s Day ceremonies.
Looking like he was aping Swisher as he rounded the bases following his two-run blast, Nimmo was indeed the kid playing a kid’s game, his smile as broad as ever as he pounded some enthusiasm into a dying Mets team. And no, it’s not an aping and Nimmo’s smiles are genuine every time he dons a major league uniform.
A win is a win, and the Mets will take it as the Diamondbacks aped their version of the recent Mets with two inept plays in the field. The Mets had their version of a bonehead play themselves when Dominic Smith did some crazy awful thing with the ball between his legs leading to a nail-biting finish, but on some days, the Gods be with you. And no doubt, the Mets needed this one.
The struggle to get back to .500 begins tonight in Colorado with eight games to reach that mark. It’s doable if the team can rally themselves with the 25 players they have in the clubhouse, divorce themselves of all the media talk and rumor, and just play ball.
Following the Rockies, who have their own assortment of trouble in the NL West, the Blue and Orange come home to face the Dodgers, a hot team of late, before the schedule cools down with the very beatable Pirates, Marlins, and interleague play against Toronto and Tampa Bay.
Jacob deGrom (5-2, 1.51) opens the series against the Rockies tonight, and usually, that would be a good portend of the Mets to win their third straight. Inexplicably though, the Mets are 5-9 in games deGrom has started, meaning they are 1-9 when he does not get a decision.
It’s not exactly a mystery as to how this has happened, though. The Mets are dead last in runs scored in the National League in June with a total of 25. Even the next to the worst team, the Nationals, have doubled that total.
But when we laid out a blueprint the other day to restore the Mets to respectability, one of the things I talked about is the need for Mickey Callaway to manage as though the team will never score a run. Play like the team did yesterday capitalizing on the D’Backs mistakes, take the home run when you get it, but don’t look or plan for it.
The Mets only need to score more runs than the other team does (duh!). Jose Reyes laid down that bunt yesterday, and he caught a break when the catcher fielded it instead of letting it roll foul. The beginning of the team’s rally – a bunt.
Changes are still needed, and it’s time for Callaway to sit Jay Bruce down for a couple of days with instructions not to go near a bat. No hitting under the stands looking for that lost magical touch, no watching video, just sit alongside me in the dugout and let’s enjoy the game as it’s played together. You don’t send your child into the streets to see if he can beat the oncoming cars in a foot race.
In the same way, Michael Conforto looks like he needs a blow as well, despite the home run he hit on Saturday. Only his departure from the Mets should be in Double-A Binghamton and not in the sweltering heat of Las Vegas, and it should be for an extended number of games. Juggle the lineup any which way Callaway has to, but get it done and behind the team
The Mets season may be lost given the presence of the Braves, Nationals, and Phillies ahead of them. But that doesn’t mean the Mets need to be lost. These next 15-20 games before the All-Star break can be useful and valuable to a team setting the wrong kind of MLB records (the fastest descent from 10 games over to 10 games under .500 ever).
Rocky Mountain high. Let’s see it happen.
And one more thing. Let’s make sure that whatever happens in the next few weeks occurs without Yoenis Cespedes. Hopefully, that needs no further explanation.
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