The essence of the 2016 Mets could be seen in the first two games of this Cardinals series. On Tuesday the Mets produced one of the gutsiest performances of this season when starter Jon Niese left with a knee injury after getting just one out forcing the bullpen to work 8.2 innings.
After the game manager Terry Collins said how impressed he was with rookie Robert Gsellman. Great defense, timely hitting and superior relief pitching; it was the ultimate formula and something we haven’t often seen.
Unquestionably, the victory was one of the Mets’ most inspirational, and one they could build on. After all, it was their third straight victory, something they hadn’t done since before the All-Star break.
However, instead of building off that with Jacob deGrom, their best pitcher, the Mets responded with another egg in an 8-1 loss to the Cardinals.
It didn’t get off to a good start when Matt Carpenter lead off the St. Louis first with a homer off deGrom, one of five runs and 12 hits he gave up in his second straight bad start.
Offensively, the Mets had just four hits as they fell back to .500 and 4.5 games behind the Cardinals for the second wild-card berth.
Not only did they show no signs of life and have to be concerned with deGrom – who has given up 13 runs on 25 hits in his last two starts – but Jay Bruce left the game in the second inning with a cramp in his right calf. In addition to Bruce, Yoenis Cespedes still looks gimpy.
It is widely considered 87 victories could be enough for the wild card, but for that to happen, the Mets must go 24-12 in their remaining 36 games.
The math says it is possible. Logic says it is not.