Thor, But Not Complaining

Noah Syndergaard won’t complain, because he’s not that kind of guy.  He’s 23, clearly a stand-up kid in all respects, and too decent to throw his teammates under the bus.  But he’s got more than ample reason to be angry.

Against Jose Fernandez and the hell-bound Marlins, we looked good early.  Then, as the game continued we lost energy almost visibly, deflating every inning until the ninth, down just a run, was a done deal.

We’re 2-5.  No, I won’t panic yet; I’ll tell you when I will.  I’ll panic at 2-8.  Five games under is tough to come back from, six is tougher.  Three is nothing.  We’ve got Logan Verrett going tomorrow, the kind of guy who can do wonders in getting a team going and turning in a hell of a performance, as he showed last year in Colorado.  Then, young Logan, fighting through audible bickering that Matt Harvey was being skipped, held the Rockies to one run in eight innings after the two teams had combined the previous two games to score 46 runs.

Tomorrow won’t be all that similar.  The Mets just need a win.  And Verrett, I think, is just the guy to help get it.

Or maybe that’s just the Mets fan in me talking.  I’m too optimistic; I won’t deny it.  From the start, I thought the Mets were going to win tonight.  Having seen the game, I think we deserved to.

We scored one in the first, and should have had more.  We didn’t score in the second, but should have.  We didn’t score in the third, but Cespedes’ shot should have gone out.  It would have, on any other night.  Then, Jose Fernandez shut us out for two more innings.  Then he left.

I thought we’d score in the sixth.  I still think we should have.  You’re in an offensive rut, you take what you can get.  Put on the squeeze with a man on third, one out.  Take a 2-1 lead.  Maybe Asdrubal Cabrera, who I’m starting to like, if only for being not incompetent, singles up next, and Walker comes around and scores.

But Conforto grounded into a double play.  Grounders won’t keep finding gloves forever: BABIP will go up; line drives will find holes; fly balls to the wall into the wind will go out.  It will happen: statistics works.  It’s the reason we had winning streaks of 7 and 11 last year, and the reason we’ll do similar things this year.  We’re unlucky right now.  We’ll be lucky later.  To claim otherwise is to claim that math is invalid.

We were right at .500 after 80 games last year.  After that, we went 50-32.  Luck changes.  Singles with no one on base and strikeouts with the bases loaded switch places.  Ground balls hit perfectly to fielders that start double plays find the outfield.  You could say that we can’t rely on luck, because the Mets are always unlucky, but that’s the thing: we’re not.  We’re a good team.  All we need is to be luck neutral.

And among all this, let’s not lose sight of Thor’s performance, because it’s not the kind of thing to be taken lightly.  7 IP, 12 K’s, one run that really shouldn’t have been a run at all, seeing as it scored on an infield single, a slow ground ball through a badly shifted infield, and a weakly hit line drive that had no business being a hit at all.  That’s the kind of luck the Marlins are getting.  They got it again when Dee Gordon hit about twelve foul balls then put a pop up into left for a hit.  Then they got two walks on close 3-2 pitches, then Martin Prado hit a sac fly that would have meant the inning had Gordon’s weak contact turned into the out that it should have been.

Please, let’s not keep stewing in the Mets fan mentality that everything has already gone wrong.  We can’t hit with runners in scoring position.  Our bullpen is falling apart.  We strike out too much.  The lineup is put together all wrong.

It’s ridiculous, lunatic, a poorly constructed, hastily thrown-together farce to cover up the fact that sometimes, things haven’t gone wrong.  Neil Walker is not a .214 hitter.  Travis d’Arnaud is not a .105 hitter.  Curtis Granderson is not a .074 hitter.  Unless you think we’ve been stricken by a sudden, inexplicable, team-wide 100 point decrease in batting average, you know as well as anyone else that our offense will come back, and in a big way.

And what’s more, our pitching will be fine as well.  Matt Harvey may not regain his 2013 form, but he’s not a 4.50 E.R.A. pitcher.  Steven Matz, obviously, won’t maintain his E.R.A. of 37.20.  And Thor will be just fine.

No, it’s not fun to watch our Mets lose back-to-back series to the Phillies and Marlins.  It’s even less fun when we’re playing visibly badly while doing so.  But this isn’t football: we could have five or six 2-5 stretches in a season, and still be absolutely fine.  We’ve got 155 games to go; that’s a lot of games, especially considering that last year, we were 13-3 after 16 games, but had fallen under .500 by game number 72.  After 102 games, we were 52-50.  Then we went 38-22.  Again, luck can change.  Sometimes in a hurry.

We’ve got Logan Verrett going tomorrow, due for some luck, against a Marlins team that has no business with half the hits it’s already gotten.  Frankly, we’re due for about five or six wins, and they’ve got to start sometime.

Please — we’re Mets fans, and we should be channeling Tug McGraw, not groveling like Bobby Bonilla.  We’ll be okay.  We’ll be back tomorrow, and we’ll get a win, and we’ll start moving forward again.  And even if we don’t, it’s not the end of the world, or even of the month.

The wins are coming.  Let’s hold ourselves together long enough to enjoy them.


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