Here is something you would prefer not to lead the league every year: sarcastic joy.
Now, above all, the sarcastic joy is impressive. It is found mainly in baseball, and occurs mostly when a pitcher loses the plate and finally throws a strike and the restless inhabitants of the stands are released with a thunderous and thunderous applause. From time to time, the restless acclamation may remind you that attending a game is actually supposed to be something fun, regardless of the score.
On Sunday, the 40,681 fans inside Citi Field were unleashed with no less than five sarcastic applause at a baseball game that lasted 3:42, and just that looked like This was shorthand for 3 weeks and 42 hours. The Nationals took a 12-1 lead because Zack Wheeler and his friends could not find the strike zone with a GPS and a search team.
The final was 12-9 because the Nationals have a bullpen full of pitchers wearing kerosene suits (the same outfit preferred by many of the Mets relievers, too) and there was actually a late buzz in a game for lost cause because Pete Alonso and Michael Conforto hit a pair of three-run homers, and that will bring legitimate applause no matter when or where.
"Welcome a bad day," said manager Mickey Callaway, and while he spoke mostly of Wheeler, there were also many others who fell under that umbrella. Happens. If you play 162 of these, you will find some banana peels.
What he told us most about the weekend, and about the first 11 days of the season, is that we saw in the microcosm precisely what he will be dealing with most of this season. The Mets had six initial looks at the Nationals and won half of them, and that's right. The idea was that the East of the National League was going to be four teams that beat each other and joined the helpless and helpless Marlins.
So far that is also correct. Nothing in the first week and a half of the season should alter that. The Mets and Nats are 3-3 against each other. The Phillies and the Nats are 1-1 against each other, and resume their blood race in Philadelphia this week; The Mets get four early looks at the Braves in Atlanta next weekend.
And there we go.
"One thing I've taken from my team so far," said Callaway, "is that we're not going to back down, even when we were down today we're still coming back in. I feel like we can play with those guys, they have a good lineup and they have good starting pitchers, but ours are just as good, we'll keep fighting. "
Now, look: before you feel obligated to climb into your attic so you can find a dusty copy of the old book about Bill Parcells, "There are no medals to try it," to present it to Callaway, understand that Callaway was as important as frustrated while you watch the eternal slogan of Sunday afternoon in Citi.
Moreso, in fact. The release is in his blood. It is what he knows. It is what he preaches. And Callaway knows better than anyone that every pitcher is hit from time to time, even the big ones. Hell, the Mets scored four of Max Scherzer. One of these days, Jacob deGrom will be removed from the box after an entry and a third.
But it's the walks that move their gears, and for a time it seemed that the Mets could threaten the record of 15 teams that remained since September 16, 1972, when Tom Seaver and four others pbaded 15 Cubs on a violent day. in Wrigley Field. And there were other things too, especially the fact that J.D. Davis did not run to the second with a ball that he thought Keon Broxton had false; The result was your double daily game -em-out-2-5-6 that ended the most promising threat from the Mets against Scherzer before the game got out of control.
There was the late burst. There was Brandon Nimmo's best at-bat of the season so far. There was hope for an entry by Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo. And after a week, there's exactly what the Mets need: balance against good clubs, care for business against the Marlins. A bad day does not erase that.