Who expected, eight games in, that we’d be looking for such a player?
“We need someone like Logan Verrett.”
It sounds like a sitcom, a badly written movie where the comedy comes from saying things that simply don’t make sense. But today, it was absolutely right.
We needed someone like Verrett. We needed someone outside the normal ebb and flow of the team, someone not caught up in its prior-to-today downturn and what we very much hope will prove to be a post-victory upswing. We needed a Mets outsider, a pitcher who hadn’t been afflicted by the Metsian bad luck that seemed to have plagued us early on. And in Verrett, we found our guy.
Verrett went six scoreless, and should have gone seven, but I’ll leave the managerial decisions to the man paid to make them, since whatever else you can say, a win is a win. He was better than Harvey, better than Matz, and, purely in terms of runs allowed, better than deGrom. He gave us, in short, exactly what we needed.
Did you notice what was happening, as we suddenly shed ourselves of our four-game burden? We didn’t pull together and start working as a team. We didn’t all miraculously perfect our swings. We didn’t discover some new well of energy that drove us on and helped us win.
No, we played just as badly as we’ve been doing, and still got a win. That’s what happens when bad luck turns to good. Seven hits, all but three wasted. We ran ourselves into outs, walked the bases loaded, and struck out nine times in the first six innings. We got a win. We didn’t play well at all.
Nor did the Marlins, but then again, were they really any worse than they were yesterday? They got some guys on base. Got seven hits. Loaded the bases once or twice. They just didn’t score. We’re better than the Marlins, and here’s the ultimate proof: even playing far worse than they were, we pulled out the win.
Sure, there was some luck involved. But there always is. That’s how baseball works: when you have seven fielders to patrol a roughly quarter-circular patch of grass with a radius of more than 400 feet, sometimes they’ll find themselves in the right place, and sometimes they won’t. Today things went right for us. They’d been going wrong for the better part of a week; maybe we’ve got a few games of good luck coming up.
But even more, look how we did it. We did it with Duda and Conforto on the bench, Granderson starting against a lefty, with a spot starter on the mound, a tired bullpen, and a closer who’s pitched three days in a row with the flu. Of the entire series, if we’re honest, this was the one we should have lost. We’re not hitting yet, and factors were lined up to take this game away from us: they failed.
Now, imagine if we can get going? We’re only two games under .500 — it’s not like the season was a lost cause and this win was a rare bright spot. We’ve got a legitimate team here. We can get Walker going, Cespedes and Wright, Granderson and Conforto, d’Arnaud and Duda. Asdrubal Cabrera will be solid. We’re off the schneid with a win: now, if we can, let’s look back at the team we’ve got, and consider how good we can be if — when — we start playing well, as opposed to this festival of offensive incompetence we’ve seen so far.
Luck can change in a hurry: our win today, based largely on a single well-placed ground ball, is visible proof. We’re going to Cleveland, a beatable team. Hell, every team is beatable. If you’ve forgotten, it wasn’t so long, roughly six months ago, that we were playing in the World Series.
It took Logan Verrett to get us going, and now, we’ve got an off day and then Bartolo Colón, the unpredictable, incalculable Bartolo, who cannot be analyzed and can even less be accurately predicted. We thought he’d get shelled when he pitched in cold weather; well, he didn’t. Now he’s got the Indians, and we’ll just have to see what happens, but somehow — and maybe this is just the victorious Mets fan in me talking — I don’t see anything more or less than a stellar outing coming our way.
We can win. In suffering four losses in a row, it seemed like some of us had forgotten that. But now, we’re back, and ready to go. So let’s stop with the hand-wringing nonsense, and look at things like they really are.
Our team is good. We were unlucky. We weren’t unlucky today. Maybe, just maybe, things our turning in our favor.
So, let’s go off to Cleveland. We’ve got a series to sweep and a .500 record to reach and overcome. If we start hitting, or even if we hit and pitch like we did today, we’ll do so, and easily.
We were just in the World Series, and sometimes, League Champions start 2-5. But that doesn’t mean it will last the season. We can win. We just won. And we will win some more.
And now that we’ve finally seen it firsthand again, it’s time to stop fooling ourselves and start believing it.