When Jacob deGrom left Thursday night’s game, and social media was immediately swamped with reports that he had retreated to the clubhouse and brought Ray Ramirez with him, the doomsday predictions immediately began. But I looked at things slightly differently.
“We’ve been winning a game and losing a player every night,” I said to myself. “I guess we’re going to win.”
But most of Mets fandom, judging from twitter, wasn’t quite so cavalier about the loss of the third of our alleged four aces. I couldn’t tell for certain whether the concern sprang from deGrom’s having a problem that necessitated Ray Ramirez’s attention, or the fear that Ray Ramirez would somehow exacerbate the otherwise minor condition (hey, it ain’t exactly unprecedented), but either way, we had some trouble on our hand.
Mets fans always do this, don’t we? The minute everything goes wrong, we convince ourselves that the end times are upon us; we swear up and down that everything always goes wrong for us; we shout to high heavens that no one else has luck as bad as we do. Now tell me, why on earth would we do that?
Ok, so maybe — again — it ain’t exactly unfounded. Which is what deGrom said after the game: it’s a mechanical issue, nothing wrong, no drama to report here, now move along. Is that what Matt Harvey said? Yes. Is it also what Steven Matz said? Probably. Is it what we’ve always heard from Mets pitchers the day before they announce that they’ll be out 12-18 months? Indeed it is.
So is there cause for alarm? I don’t know. Ray Ramirez is involved, so by no means can we rule out the possibility. But maybe deGrom is being absolutely straight with us: maybe there’s no problem at all.
deGrom got 14/15 of the way through a very good start before it all came undone. A grounder that barely evaded a barely mobile Wilmer Flores, a base stolen barely successfully, then two doubles. That’s not even to mention the two single but not quite double plays in the third inning, or the pitches around the plate all day on which Jake wasn’t getting the calls. If the dice fall differently, we’re triumphant right now, congratulating deGrom on a well pitched, albeit short start, and celebrating a mere 1.0 game wildcard deficit.
And speaking of cause for alarm, Jay Bruce got two hits — is that allowed? One of them was a homer; the other also drove in a run — is this stuff that you could call “offense” or “hitting” going to be something that Jay Bruce does regularly in the future? Jose Reyes had two more hits, frozen ropes the both of them, and is batting .295 — are washed up old guys allowed to do that? Asdrubal Cabrera hit another home run — isn’t it alarming that he’s having, out of nowhere, what looks like a career year? Can’t we also be alarmed positively?
Returning to the formula of win a game, lose a player, it all — for now — seems to have worked out just as planned. We didn’t — yet — lose a player. We lost a game. At least there’s something we didn’t lose.
There’s always at least one win when you — that is, I — go out to Citi Field for a game: I win for getting to watch my ballclub play. Everything else is just a bonus — and maybe not losing Jacob deGrom after seeming to most definitely lose Jacob deGrom is a bonus not quite on par with winning, but certainly up there.
I can’t help be reminded of that classic episode of The Office, entitled “Conflict Resolution,” wherein Michael attempts to become a mediator and must learn the different styles of resolution. He wants everyone to win, obviously: don’t we all?
He brings the parties together in the conference room, and starts the mediation process: what kind of settlement do they want to reach?
Michael: Okay, this is important. The first style is lose/lose. Oscar: What's the next one? Michael: Just hold on, please! Okay, if we do lose/lose, neither of you gets what you want. Do you understand? You...you would both lose. Now I need to ask you: do you want to pursue a lose/lose negotiation?
As I headed for the subway after the loss, I wasn’t sure yet: would it be a lose/lose? Would we blow the game and lose deGrom’s arm?
But then Michael moves on to other, much more palatable resolution options.
Angela: Can we just skip to whatever number 5 is - win/win or whatever? Michael: Win/Win is number four, and number five is win/win/win. The important difference here is with win/win/win, we all win. Me too. I win for having successfully mediated a conflict at work.
But the news came soon enough, and until further notice, it’s what I’m going with: deGrom had mechanical issues, nothing more, and will be fine and dandy on his next turn in five days.
It didn’t look like the best of days, Mets-wise, at the outset. But then we pull back to the big picture. Jay Bruce may have gotten going. Cabrera is still slugging away. Reyes is hitting like he’s 24. Despite our injury-a-day program, we’re two games out with 28 to play, going up against a Cardinal team that frankly doesn’t appear all that threatening, compared to Cardinals teams of years past. And what’s more, I had one more chance to get out to Citi Field, sit under the New York sky, and watch my guys play one last time.
Win, win, win.
And hey, Thor goes tomorrow. There’s another win right there.