On July 30, the Mets were ahead, 7-1, in the seventh inning, but went on to blow the game. The next day, they acquired Yoenis Cespedes. Last night, they trailed, 7-1, in the seventh inning, and went on to beat the Nationals and seriously damage Washington's chances of catching the Mets. Ya gotta believe!
My friend David and I were admittedly not believing when we left the bar where we were watching the game after the Nationals went up by six runs.Matt Harvey had gone from being the Dark Knight to giving his disgruntled fans a dark night. As I walked home, I pondered over which trade destination would be most unpleasant for him. Texas? Milwaukee? What about Colorado? Perhaps a Met ace from an earlier time could fill him in on the school system. But at least Mike Hampton helped the Mets get to a World Series. Of course, to do that, you need to pitch in October. Not that I'm bitter.
By the time I got home, the Mets were starting to rally, but it was still only 7-2. The bases were loaded, but there were two outs. Then Curtis Granderson walked to force in a run, and it was 7-3.
And Cespedes was coming up with the bases loaded.
Never mind that Cespedes' error in the previous inning turned a single into a Little League grand slam. Never mind that he is a lot closer than Harvey is to likely be leaving the Mets for a huge free-agent deal elsewhere. Right now, he's a Met, and his OPS since joining the team is 1.014. Sure enough, a bases-clearing double. Now the Mets are within 7-6, and now the Mets are going to win.
Yes it's nice that the Nationals bullpen turned into the Walking Dead, walking three more batters to force in the tying run, giving them six walks for the inning. But what makes this a magical year is that the game-winning homer was hit by a guy who wasn't even supposed to be on the team, just like Wilmer Flores. Kirk Nieuwenhuis was DFA'd, joined the Angels, released, rejoined the Mets, and hit the game-winning homer off of Jonathan Papelbon, acquired by the then first-place Nationals at the trade deadline to help them get to the World Series. Instead, with their postseason in jeopardy, the desperate Nats used Papelbon in the eighth inning, and he blew the game.
Met fans know all too well that a six-game lead is not necessarily safe, but this Mets team is special and the Nationals are a mess. Ya gotta believe!