The New York Mets won last night. This is a good thing. They found a way against their crosstown rivals to avenge a painful loss the night before, but what transpired from the time Justin Verlander threw the game's first pitch until Brandon Nimmo was doused with a barrel of water (or was it Glacier Cherry Gatorade? Inquiring minds want to know) has to be troubling for Mets fans that just want to see good baseball from their favorite team.
I'm never one to knock a win. It doesn't have to be pretty. I don't need home runs, or stolen bases, or 100 mph fastballs that blow the other team away. Winning ugly is kind of my thing. Ask anyone that has played me in anything ever. What does give me pause though, is when my team has spent over 60 games consistently shooting itself in the face, and doesn't seem to be improving in areas that demand improvement.
The Mets were lucky to escape the Subway Series with a split
Lost in the jubilation of a thrilling walk-off victory was a smorgasbord of slop at Citi Field. Not from the weather, which did cooperate after a small delay, but from the Mets themselves, who seemed to win despite their best efforts.
The sloppiness began in the seventh inning, when Jeff McNeil made an errant throw to first as he attempted to complete a double play. Mark Vientos, manning the bag in the absence of Pete Alonso, was unable to keep the ball in front of him, which allowed Josh Donaldson to score the go-ahead run from second. The play was almost a carbon copy of one from the previous inning, when McNeil again yanked his throw left, only that time Vientos was able to make the play.
Had the Mets converted that double play, they would have escaped the inning still tied. Not only did this error put them behind, one batter later Francisco Alvarez's attempt to catch Isiah Kiner-Falefa stealing went into center field, allowing the speedy Yankee to take third base. Not content with only one steal, Kiner-Falefa tiptoed down the third base line like a cartoon burglar as Mets reliever Brooks Raley played the role of the blissfully unaware police officer. Needless to say, IKF stole home with ease.
Have you ever been to a tee ball game where the kids are too young to actually get someone out? That was the Mets' seventh inning. My forehead still stings from three facepalms in such a short time period.
To the Mets' credit, they answered immediately, tying the game against the vaunted Yankees bullpen in the bottom of the seventh. The rally was cut short, however, when Brandon Nimmo committed a baserunning blunder on Starling Marte's tying single, nearly running into Mark Vientos on third after third base coach Joey Cora held Vientos at third. Nimmo scrambled back to second and made a valiant slide attempt, and though replay seemed to indicate he was safe, the umpires, who had what could kindly be called a sloppy night themselves, ruled he was out, ending the Mets' chances at taking the lead.
Nimmo redeemed himself with his double in the 10th inning, but Eduardo Escobar nearly undid the heroics with an inexplicable baserunning gaffe of his own. Escobar severely misjudged Nimmo's hit, staying on second to tag up, a bewildering choice given that there was already one out and getting to third with two outs wouldn't be all that advantageous over being at second.
Thankfully, Nimmo hit the ball well enough that Escobar was still able to score before the throw came home, but it was a reminder that the Mets were fortunate to get out of this one with a win. As we've seen, the margin of error has been very small with this team, so going forward, they won't be so lucky if they don't clean up these mistakes.
Steve Cohen even took to Twitter for the first time since May 17th:
Don't listen to me, take it from the boss himself. The Mets need to clean up their act if there's any hope for this season. For now, we'll take the ugly win.