Entering Tuesday, the Mets had been outscored 36-24 over their previous four games … in which they secured three victories. Nothing like a 23-5 blowout (that could have been much worse) to debit the RS/RA ledger. The Sunday blowout and serious injury sustained by Noah Syndergaard overshadowed the undeniable fact that the Mets were on a good stretch. Scoring at least five runs in five straight games lends hope to an offense without Yoenis Cespedes and Lucas Duda — particularly when the list of opposing starting pitchers in those games read Dickey, Scherzer, Strasburg, Ross and Teheran.
MEANWHILE, Matt Harvey couldn’t fool the Braves. He struggled to allow six runs and couldn’t finish the sixth inning in a 9-7 Mets loss.
The history of baseball drinking stories is itself storied. There’s the one about Wade Boggs consuming 100 beers on a cross-country flight. The tale of Mickey Mantle hitting an inebriated home run, then telling his teammates that if they thought hitting the dinger in his condition was hard, they should have tried running the bases.
Upon learning he’d be benched against R.A. Dickey, noted restaurant owner and gourmand Curtis Granderson led a Mets expedition to the craft brewery annexed to the new Braves stadium complex. They’re literally brewing beer that’s aged on chips from Mizuno baseball bats.
Granderson reportedly brought a few Mets coaches to the Braves’ taproom to play the BP drinking game with the copy of Baseball Prospectus 2017 that he carries with him at all time. Granderson had to explain the rules to the novice Mets staff — you read a player comment from the annual, omitting the player’s name and identifying information. If your opponent can’t guess the player, he or she must drink. Having memorized the entire 2017 PECOTA database, Granderson was able to remain stone-cold sober in preparation for a potential pinch-hitting appearance.
Mirror-image first innings for Dickey and Matt Harvey left the score tied 2-2 after the first inning. Michael Conforto led off with a walk and Mets MVP Jay Bruce hit his eighth home run of the season to drive them both home. Similarly, Harvey allowed a line-drive single to Brandon Phillips in the home half of the first, then Freddie Freeman parked one on the party deck in right field, tying the game. That’s seven home runs allowed for Harvey in just 5.1 innings pitched, pulling him even with such luminaries as the Rockies’ Tyler Chatwood and Miami’s Tom Koehler for third in the league behind Rockie Tyler Anderson (9) and slowballer Jered Weaver (10). Not to be left behind, Dickey allowed a second round-tripper to Asdrubal Cabrera to tie the game at 3 in the third. Dickey’s now allowed six himself.
Harvey fell apart in the fourth inning. He allowed a single by Adonis Garcia, beaned Kurt Suzuki, and walked Dansby Swanson. Dickey pounded a chopper onto home plate and high into the air. Had Dickey not been suffering from a quad injury sustained in his last start against the Mets, he would have beat it out. Instead, it was a fielder’s choice and run batted in. Braves leadoff hitter and rising Mets Killer Ender Inciarte lined another single to plate two more. Harvey might be healthy but he’s not helping the Mets improve the third-worst ERA in the National League.
Mets fans were treated to a vintage Juan Lagares performance in a losing effort. He glided under more than one long fly ball, and he threw out Dansby Swanson at the plate on a perfect one-hop strike that saved another run against Harvey’s record. Until Cespedes and Nimmo return, and unless Granderson gets going, Lagares will get every opportunity to reestablish his value as a defensive wunderkind who can hit enough to be more than a fourth or fifth outfielder.
I can’t say anything better about Jay Bruce’s second homer of the game than what David Roth eloquently tweeted below.
Jay Bruce truly became a Met in the moment when he hit a grand slam with two outs in the ninth inning of a game the Mets were losing by six.
— David Roth (@david_j_roth) May 3, 2017
“They called the old Fulton County Stadium ‘The Launching Pad.’ This place puts that one to shame.” — Gary, on SunTrust Park
“This is like a little kids’ park for all the big giants out here.” — Keith, wishing he didn’t play his entire career in pitchers’ parks
“And so the uphill climb continues.” — Gary, on a potential ninth-inning comeback, but really about the 2017 season
With Syndergaard and Matz injured, and Harvey and Gsellman struggling, the … sigh … last-place Mets turn to Jacob deGrom to provide quality innings tonight against a favorite former Met the team sure could use right now.
Photo Credit: Brett Davis – USA Today Sports