Let’s assume the Mets find their way into October. If so, they might look at Sunday as a watershed moment to their season.
The Mets outlasted St. Louis 3-1 in 18 innings, but played poorly enough offensively to lose three games. Their hitters struck out 15 times, went 1-for-26 with runners in scoring position and stranded 25 runners.
There was a time this afternoon when I thought Cardinals manager Mike Matheny would better off just intentionally walking the first two hitters of the inning and going from there.
If nothing else it might have cut the time of the game to a brisk four hours.
But, how the Mets responded after losing the first two games of the series – including being pasted Saturday night – to avoid totally limping into Washington tomorrow was essential to their season.
And, it all began with the pitcher the Mets were almost desperate to unload, Jon Niese, who has given up nine runs over his last six starts. He’s also gone at least six innings in each of his last eight starts.
Part of the reason why the Mets toyed with a six-man rotation was to showcase Niese, and he’s pitched like a beast the past two months. He’s as much a reason as anyone as to why the Mets are just two games behind the Nationals.
Sometimes when a team makes a run at a season they need to steal a game like today and have an all-but-dismissed player like a Niese provide a lift.
The Mets seem to have more issues than a dozen years of Sports Illustrated, but they’ll wake up Monday morning in Washington exhausted – but in a pennant race.
And, isn’t that what we all want? And, if it stays that way, today could be the reason.