Starts with T. Ends with Y. Can do a lot to change fans’ attitudes. What is it?
First, it’s Two Days. Two days ago, we were coming off a series win against the Marlins, that had looked very promising, with two six-run performances and then seven strong innings from Matt Harvey.
Today, things looked futile, not just because we went down early, but because it seemed like we simply couldn’t win. We hadn’t beat the Pirates since 2014. We’d scored two runs combined the previous two years — sorry, the previous two games, but it seemed like years, honestly. We simply hadn’t been scoring.
So in that sense, showing how much can change in so short a time, it’s amazing what two days can do.
Second, it’s Ty Kelly. With today’s news that Kelly Johnson had been reacquired, Kelly’s — Ty Kelly’s, that is — looked short, or at least, shortening. And then Kelly — Ty Kelly — came to the plate in the fourth, with the Mets down two, tied the game right up.
It was Kelly’s first major league home run, and if we’re honest with ourselves, the first time he’d shown so much as a shade of an inkling of power at the major league level. And it was the first sign of offense we’d shown all series, and opened the floodgates for three and eventually four more runs.
So, in that sense, by changing so much in so short a time, it’s amazing what Ty Kelly can do.
After Kelly tied a game after we’d fallen behind for the first time all series, it was time, finally, for an exchange of offense. The Pirates scored. We tied it. Conforto, to be exact, on a line drive to center that was deep enough to be a sac fly, if not as lazy and soft as they traditionally are. Thor, who had another hit, a line drive off the wall because why on earth not, came home.
They scored two more, on an error by Pittsburgh’s native son Neil Walker, a double, and a sac fly. We tied it up again. For the second time, it was Conforto, and this time there was no sacrifice involved. An absolute shot, one that Conforto was due for and then some, over the right field fence.
Didn’t you get the feeling, once Addison Reed came in, that we just weren’t going to lose?
Reed went two, scoreless as usual. And in the tenth, we scored — not quite as usual, but no less welcome for it.
Single, single — two grounders finding holes, less than we deserved after watching liners finding gloves all season, but enough for today.
And then James Loney, unsung hero, quickly rising fan favorite, refreshingly average hitter breaking a pattern of bench mediocrity. A sac bunt down the third base line. “The greatest bunt I’ve ever seen,” the SNY crew called it. Men on second and third, one out. And then it was Ty Kelly, he of that hot bat and the first career home run.
Well, actually it wasn’t. Because Terry Collins, in his (today, at least) infinite wisdom, decided that he didn’t like lefty Kelly facing the Pirates’ lefty, whose name hasn’t stuck with me. Instead, it was Wilmer.
Wilmer, the former fan favorite whose struggles had seen him fall from grace. Wilmer, the starting shortstop back when we weren’t quite as good. Wilmer, from whom you never knew what to expect.
This time, you got what you expected — and then a few feet more. But it was enough.
Jeurys Familia hasn’t looked quite himself lately. Or maybe, he’s looking exactly like himself. Either way, his control just isn’t there. And it’s more than a little heart-stopping.
Walk. Walk. Two men on. At this point, I’m relatively certain we’re going to the eleventh.
GIDP. After grounding into so many double plays this series that I lost track, finally one happens in our favor. I think we’re going to win.
Another walk. Ball four is in the dirt, inches from being a wild pitch, tie game. I’m not quite sure what’s going to happen.
And then suddenly, Familia finds himself. And David Freese takes a slider that he had not a shadow of a chance at hitting, and we’ve got ourselves a 6-5, ten inning win.
All in all, I’d say, the series didn’t go too well. But a win is a win. A Ty Kelly home run is just plain fun to watch. And I’ll take Thor on the mound any day of the week.
In short: bad series, good day.