Nationals 8, Mets 3
Is it the curse of Tom Terrific? June 15, 2017 marked the 40th anniversary of Tom Seaver’s departure for Cincinnati, a trade that perhaps many readers of this site are too young to remember, but those in the know have been able to reduce their parents and grandparents to tears by summoning the painful memory.
Maybe the Mets were doomed that summer day. Maybe the Wilpons insulted a fortune teller at a carnival. Whatever it is, the franchise needs to burn some sage and make amends, because until they do, the bodies are going to keep dropping.
Want to make a Met fan under 45 years old cry? Revisit the current disabled list: the middle of the opening day infield is now gone, with shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera on the 10-day DL and Neil Walker out indefinitely with a partially hamstring tear. Reliable bullpen arm Josh Smoker is out with “loose bodies” in his elbow, which sounds both terrifying AND gross. Tommy Milone, who is allegedly a real person who exists, is on the 10-day DL with a knee sprain. The pitchers sitting out provide a Whitman’s Sampler of maladies: Jeurys Familia, 60 days, right arm surgery; Noah Syndergaard, 60 days with a torn right lat muscle; Matt Harvey, stress injury on his right shoulder.
What makes me cry without fail is the clip of Mike Piazza’s home run on September 21, 2001. We all have our buttons.
Oh, yeah, there was a game last night. Gio Gonzalez absolutely loves pitching in Flushing, and tonight was no exception. The SNY cameras seemed to pick up on the Nats pitcher stretching and wincing after an awkward swing in his first at-bat, but it didn’t matter. Pitching through injury or not, he held the Mets to two runs. Mets bette noir Bryce Harper obliterated a Robert Gsellman offering in the first to put the Nats up to a 1-0 lead, and Washington never looked back. Harper tried to extend the lead in the third on a single by former Met Daniel Murphy but was cut down by a laser beam from Juan Lagares. Hold on to that memory, because Juan will not be adding to the highlight reel for some time.
In the fourth, the Mets cut the Nats’ two-run lead in half with back to back doubles by Yoenis Cespedes and Jay Bruce, but the wheels came off in the fifth when Brian Goodwin and Ryan Zimmerman scored on a Daniel Murphy triple. Murphy would score when Anthony Rendon blooped an RBI single in front of a diving Lagares. Later in the inning, manager Terry Collins and trainer Ray Ramirez jogged out to check on Lagares, who would be replaced by Curtis Granderson. The Mets would later announce that Lagares had fractured his thumb.
Rene Rivera hit a home run. Somewhere in the stadium, a couple decided it would be best if they started to see other people. A corporate lawyer checking his emails on his phone between innings realized he had grown up to be exactly the kind of lawyer he swore to himself, during all those late nights in the law library, he never would become.
Coming out of the bullpen, Josh Edgin surrendered an unearned run, and Rafael Montero pitched three scoreless innings with three strikeouts. While Amed Rosario continued to serve the organization best by staying in the Pacific Coast League for reasons only known to the Ministry of Truth (War is Peace! Ignorance is Strength!), Mets fans did get a peek at Gavin Cecchini, who struck out in a pinch-hit appearance. Wilmer Flores hit a home run. Tyler Pill started against Sacramento for Las Vegas, wondering what must one do to get another chance at a major league start for this organization, whose roster looks like the end of The Iliad.
Happy birthday to Dusty Baker, who turned 68 years young. He is the second youngest manager in major league baseball, behind Terry Collins, who is emotionally 900 years old.
Photo credit: Noah K. Murray – USA Today Sports