I haven't seen more than a few episodes of the X-Files in my life, but as a long-suffering but die-hard fan of the New York Mets, I identify with the series tagline, "I want to believe." No matter how badly the Mets play, no matter how many new ways they invent to lose a baseball game, deep down I always think they can find a way.
Last night did nothing to dissuade me of that belief. The stage was set for another tough luck Mets loss, as the team was down to its last strike in the ninth inning. A phenomenal start from Kodai Senga, who struck out 12 while making the Diamondbacks look silly all night, was a pitch away from being all for naught. Then Francisco Alvarez showed up.
Inject that home run trot straight into my veins, stat. That makes two straight games that Alvarez helped the Mets erase a late deficit with a clutch homer, and my love for the unofficial captain of the "Baby Mets" only grows.
One smart guy wrote last week about three Mets that needed to break out if the team had any chance of fighting back this season. Two of those three were Kodai Senga and Francisco Alvarez. Don't look now, but after the heroics of those batterymates, the Mets have won four straight against quality teams, their longest unblemished run since mid-May.
Maybe it's the adrenaline talking, but are the Mets back?
Entering Thursday's series finale in Arizona, the Mets are 6.5 games behind the Phillies and Giants for the final Wild Card spot, which only makes their rubber game implosion in Philadelphia 11 days ago hurt all the more. Like Mark McGwire though, I'm not here to talk about the past.
I'm here to talk about what's to come this season. There are still 76 games to go, people! If Mark Canha screaming "LET'S GO" after slugging a go-ahead triple doesn't get you excited, I certainly can't help you. If David Robertson slamming the door doesn't have you counting the hours until the next day's first pitch, don't ask to sit next to me on the bandwagon, seat's taken.
This win probably ranks second only to the one against the Rays when Pete Alonso hit a walk-off homer, but that seems like ages ago. The Mets (and their fans) suffered through another desultory June that saw them sink like a stone in the NL East, which necessitated an emergency "state of the franchise" press conference from team owner Steve Cohen.
Perhaps it took a few days to sink in, but the Mets seem to have finally woken up. Tommy Pham is raking, so much so that Buck Showalter has moved him up to the second spot in the lineup. Brandon Nimmo has enjoyed a newfound power surge.
The starting triumvirate of Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, and Kodai Senga is pitching better than it has all season, and even David Peterson is back and contributing. Mets fans haven't felt good in over a month. Don't you want to believe, too?