Say Goodbye To 42

Sometimes, you know that luck is on your side, and that nothing will stop you from winning.  Today, that moment came in the top of the third, when David Wright drove a ball over Jason Werth’s glove and out of Nationals Park.  But honestly, I’d felt pretty good from the start.

A few years ago, Werth pulled back Daniel Murphy’s bid for a game-tying three run homer to end a game in the Nationals’ favor.  Now, Werth is two years older, reaching for a ball hit by the only Met remaining longer tenured than Murphy, with Murph himself as a teammate.

It’s a whole mountain of potential symbolism into which I don’t even want to delve.  Suffice it to say, we had all the momentum coming in, and when the captain’s ball cleared the fence, that didn’t hurt either.

It was, for a few batters, the kind of inning you only hear about: hit after hit, barely enough time between batters for Gary and Ron to explain what had happened before the next hitter had reached base too.  It’s the kind of offense we’re capable of, too: we’ve waited until now to demonstrate it, but by our lineup’s numbers, it’s far from improbable.

Meanwhile, Bartolo Colón, after a debacle in his last start, also against the Nationals, took the mound in, as Gary Cohen delighted in announcing multiple times, his last start as a 42-year-old.  Happy Birthday, Bartolo.  The first 42 have been good to you; now let’s make the 43rd the one we remember.

Bartolo gave up a run in the first, as Mets pitchers can’t seem to stop doing.  Then, also in the vein of Thor and Matz, he shut things down.  The fastball was running; the change was sinking; the slider was doing whatever Bart wanted it to.  Honestly, Colón’s pitches, for the most part, defy explanation: they’re not “good” in the same sense that anyone else’s are.  But tonight, they were clearly getting the job done.

Colón gave up three hits in the first inning.  He gave up two hits in the next six.  Uncharacteristically, he walked two, but they came to nothing.  He won his fourth game, and lowered his E.R.A. to 3.44.

Not a bad way to close out one’s first 42 years of life.  Hell, it’s not too bad a way to close out one’s first 22 years of life.  You know it’s that much better 20 years later.

So, Colón was dealing, Wright was homering — which made the day worth it, on its own — and everything was working out fine.  Then, for good measure, Cespedes drove yet another nail into the hearts of Nationals fans, and Walker followed on the next pitch with a nail, albeit not quite as personal, of his own.  Those two bombs iced the win, which, in its 7-1 finality, brought us within half a game of first place, with two more to follow against the obviously beatable Nationals.

“The Mets have been walking Bryce Harper substantially less than other teams,” Gary said at some point during the broadcast.  He didn’t bother to get into why, but to me, it was clear at once.

Bryce Harper is a National.  We’re not afraid of the Nationals.  We beat them last year, and we’ll do it again this year.

Why walk him?  We’re the team to beat around these parts — they’re the ones who should be intimidated.


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