Mets flip script in stirring seven-run turnaround
NEW YORK -- Given the limitations of the Mets' 25th-ranked offense over their first 63 games, a five-run deficit in the fourth inning Sunday seemed all but insurmountable. The Mets had yet to climb out of anything deeper than a three-run hole this season, adding to the league's longest active losing streak -- nearly four years and counting -- on days in which they allowed eight-plus runs.
Yet in the trainer's room during the middle of the game, closer Jeurys Familia turned to strength-and-conditioning coach Dustin Clarke and told him, matter-of-factly, that he was going to pitch and the Mets were going to win. In the dugout, Dilson Herrera stuck Gatorade cups to his ears as a sort of new-age rally cap.
Then a funny thing happened: the Mets rallied. Darrell Ceciliani homered. Herrera homered. Travis d'Arnaud homered. And Juan Lagares homered, his three-run shot capping the Mets' biggest comeback of the year in a 10-8 win over the Braves.
"I don't think anybody ever felt like we were out of it," d'Arnaud said. "It shows the fight and resiliency this team has."
Impotent on offense for long stretches this season, the Mets believe that they are finally rounding into form at the plate. In Ceciliani and Herrera, the Mets possess two young players boasting both pop and presence, each of them forcing their way into manager Terry Collins' day-to-day plans. In d'Arnaud, the Mets finally have the standout offensive catcher they missed for all of May. In Lagares, they have a reigning Gold Glover who has recently been more productive on offense than defense.
Each one of them starred on Sunday, allowing the Mets to forget -- at least for a day -- that they are still playing without David Wright and Daniel Murphy. Even on an afternoon in which Dillon Gee struggled, giving up eight runs over 3 2/3 innings to cast further doubt upon the Mets' "five-man heavy" rotation, the team scored enough to win.
"You've got to play nine innings," Collins said. "You can't cash it in in the fifth or the fourth or any other time. You've got to play nine."
It will, of course, get harder from here, now that the Mets are moving past the sub-.500 Braves. Earlier this week, Collins laughed at a question regarding the Mets' ability to beat up on National League East teams -- now a 23-12 record and counting.
"We've got to win outside the division, too," Collins said.
That measuring stick will move back into their path Monday, when the Mets welcome the Blue Jays and their 11-game winning streak to town as part of a four-game, home-and-home series. Though the Jays stand third in their division, they sport the same 34-30 record as the first-place Mets. Both teams own 11-game winning streaks, but Toronto's is active.
Those are the numbers, anyway, the tale of the tape. What the Mets did Sunday went well beyond numbers, leading them to believe their team is capable of so much more.
"Even from the beginning, nobody felt out of it," Ceciliani said. "Everybody was upbeat on the bench. It was just a good feeling, not going down without a fight."