Games do not get more crucial than the stretch the Mets are in from now until the last day of the regular season. At least three teams, including the Mets, are holding tightly to whatever hopes they have of getting a wildcard place for the playoffs.
It has not been an easy road for the Mets in 2016. Players are falling like dominoes starting with their captain. Things did not get better yesterday when they received news about injuries to Neil Walker – back – and Steven Matz – shoulder.
The good news? Despite the injury plaque, the Mets are within 2.5 games of the wildcard. Help came from the bench and a pitcher just looking for some experience in the majors.
At least one veteran player has found a way to contribute in a different role.
Curtis Granderson was not a starter Tuesday (8-30) night against the Marlins. As a pinch hitter, the struggling Granderson smacked two home runs to bring his total to 22 on the year.
Another player is hurt, but making that sacrifice because he wants “to be there for the team”.
The Mets quickly fell behind the Miami Marlins 2-0 in the first inning. One swing from a hurting Asdrubal Cabrera in the first inning brought the Mets back into the game 3-2. Doubles by Jay Bruce, Wilmer Flores and Jose Reyes contributed to a 7-4 victory.
Seth Lugo, originally a reliever but is proving to be key as a starter, gave the Mets six solid innings. He hit a bump in the road giving up two runs in the first. Those two runs would be the only runs he gave up. Lugo settled in giving up a total of five hits.
After the game, Lugo spoke about his performance:
“It’s going to help me get some experience at this level and give me a little bit of confidence.”
Lugo is not the only one gaining confidence. Revamped third baseman Jose Reyes says the whole team is gaining confidence. It is this confidence and one more key ingredient that can keep this team in contention. The secret ingredient? According to Reyes, consistency.
“We have to continue to be consistent all the way into September.”
Consistency and contributions. One player does not win games. A manager does not win games. It takes an entire team.
It does not matter how often the roster changes. With so many players on the disabled list, the roster has changed at least a dozen times. Minor league players have more travel miles than the entire team. Despite this, the Mets have come together and are winning games. Injuries has not stopped them. They have found themselves and it could not come at a better time.