Last night in Anaheim, the Mets defeated the Angels 7-6 in 13 innings. Extra inning games are fairly common, in fact the Mets have already played 3 of them in the first 11 games of 2014 (posting a 1-2 record). But last night’s game was anything but ordinary.
Apr 12, 2014; Anaheim, CA, USA; New York Mets pitcher John Lannan (32) celebrates with catcher Anthony Recker (left) after defeating the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
The Mets had a 3-run lead in the bottom of the ninth, and the Angels had 2 outs and no one on base. Almost implausibly, the Angels tied the game, when Raul Ibanez launched a 3-run home run off Mets closer Jose Valverde. Think about just how unlikely that is. What happened next is even more unlikely. While the Angels had all the momentum, and the Mets were staggering on their heels as if they had taken a Mike Tyson right cross, the Mets came back and won the game.
They didn’t only win the game, they didn’t allow the Angels another hit over the last 3 and 1/3 innings. Then, Anthony Recker hit a home run in the 13th, and the Mets had a split of the first two games of the series in Anaheim. Gonzalez Germen and John Lannan pitched the hitless extra frames.
As Mets radio voice Josh Lewin would say, in a paraphrased way, “what have we learned so far in 2014”? Well, these Mets don’t quit. They started 0-3 at home, and have battled back to within 1 game of .500. Their much-maligned bullpen has stepped up and pitched effectively since game 4 of the season. The Mets have found ways to win with limited production from their big hitters (Wright-.222, Granderson-.146, Duda- .233, Davis- .222). To use an often overused phrase, this team has shown character.
What does any of this mean going forward (after all, the Mets have played about 7% of their schedule)? It may not mean anything. Or, it could mean that when the offensive production catches up to the team’s character, the Mets may have something fun to watch. It’s not bad thing when one sees pieces starting to come together on a team that has an arsenal of young arms on the way.
Maybe some of this is dreaming (aided by the fact that the last 2 games ended at 2 a.m.). But maybe the Mets aren’t as bad as they looked after the series against the Nationals, and just maybe the team’s character can help produce a fun summer of baseball in Queens.