The Mets undying resiliency has them one step closer to October
Meet the Mets–the team that never says never.
Ever since this club infused talent with the promotion of Michael Conforto and the acquisitions of Juan Uribe, Kelly Johnson, Yoenis Cespedes, Tyler Clippard and Addison Reed starting six weeks ago, the Mets have shown an incredible amount of resiliency, a character trait that was on full display this past week in Washington.
During their pivotal three-game series against the Nationals in D.C., the Mets found themselves trailing after six innings in all three games, including a six-run deficit with two outs in the 7th on Tuesday night and an 8th inning deficit last night with Stephen Strasburg dominating on the mound. Yet, each and every time, and each time with new heroes, this team responded in big ways.
On Monday, it was a collective effort as after Jon Niese allowed a go-ahead grand slam, the team found themselves down after holding an early 3-0 lead.
This team chipped away, though, as RBIs from Curtis Granderson and Travis d’Arnaud–after Yoenis Cespedes forced a balk to get the tying run to 3rd base–knotted the game at five a piece, and the team went ahead for good in the following inning thanks to a go-ahead RBI single off the bat of David Wright, a Daniel Murphy sac fly and an RBI double off the bat of Cespedes. Game one was in the books.
It was Tuesday night when the Mets found themselves in their biggest hole of this series, as they trailed 7-1 with two outs in the 7th in a game that looked all but over. As fans and one particular writer (me) started focusing on a possible rubber match the following day, and even manager Terry Collins began to contemplate taking out Wright and Murphy to give them some extra rest, this team never lost their focus on the task at hand.Following Wilmer Flores‘ RBI single that made the game 7-2, the Nationals bullpen walked the following two batters, including Granderson to force in a run to make it 7-3.
After manager Matt Williams brought in Drew Storen in an attempt to put out the fire, the flames only continued to burn hotter as–guess who–Yoenis Cespedes scorched a three-run double down the left field line, slicing a once seemingly insurmountable deficit to just a skinny run. The Storen meltdown continued as he walked each of the next three batters, the third being Lucas Duda, to force home the game-tying run. On this night, Kirk Nieuwenhuis became the latest hero, blasting a pinch-hit, game-winning home run off of All-Star closer Jonathan Papelbon, and the Mets left the Nationals in complete and utter shock.
After this two incredible comebacks for the Mets and devastating losses for the Nationals, this team found themselves in a 2-1 hole against D.C. on Wednesday night as Stephen Strasburg was at his dominating best, as entering the 8th inning he had struck of 12 of the last 17 batters he faced.
As they have throughout this entire run, though, this team still refused to quit as Kelly Johnson blasted a pinch-hit, game-tying home run off Strasburg and–you know who–Yoenis Cespedes crushed a two-run home run off of the beleaguered Drew Storen that would eventually be the game-winner as the Mets left the Nationals licking their wounds after an incredible sweep.
What has happened to this Mets team has been incredible, and after sweeping Washington in that fashion, it’s got their players as confident as ever that something special is happening.
“It’s definitely got that feeling,” Kelly Johnson told the Daily News’ John Harper. “You feel like everything’s going your way. You hear that all the time from guys who get to the World Series–everything went right, we were meant to win it.”
Right now, the Mets have an incredibly dangerous mixture of confidence, pitching, offense and that never-say-die attitude that has carried them to some incredible wins over the past six weeks.
“Hopefully we’ve got a little of that magic,” Johnson continued to say. There’s no doubt we’re in an enviable position.”
He’s certainly right, there. After the comeback sweep of the Nationals, the Mets now find themselves seven games up on the Nationals with 23 games remaining in the regular season and one step closer to October baseball…