OK, admit it. Which one of you thought that the Mets had gotten out all of their weirdness over the weekend in Pittsburgh? Huh? Fess up. The longer you keep believing that the Mets have it in them to be a normal baseball club, the longer they will keep proving you wrong. Coming back from a first-inning 6-0 deficit caused by a lengthy argument over a fair ball on Sunday might have been a bit odd. But it had nothing on their seven-homer, four-error performance in a 15-11 win in 11 innings against the Cincinnati Reds on Monday.
Enough happened in this game to make for an entire exciting month if you were, like, the Seattle Mariners. It was 4-3 after one inning. It was 7-3, Reds, after two! The Mets hit back-to-back dingers twice. Edwin Diaz blew a save with two outs in a 9-8 game. A Mets relief pitcher named Anthony Banda, who was making his first appearance in the Majors all season and got the win, had to work out of a jam with the winning run on third in the 10th, and then needed to bat with ducks on the pond and one out in the 11th. (He hit into a fielder’s choice at home.) And Nick Castellanos, coming off the bench in extras, got me back to the edge of my seat by hitting a long drive deep to right field with runners on as the Reds were trying to salvage things at the very end.
On top of that, poor Luis Guillorme couldn’t figure out how to play shortstop.
And James McCann, on an RBI single in the tenth, hit the ball twice in one swing!
And amid all this, Mets announcer Gary Cohen got in some sick burns at the expense of a Cincinnati delicacy.
Fitting, because this whole game was the baseball equivalent of five-way Cincinnati chili: sloppy, overstuffed, and impossible to take seriously. To even call it “baseball,” would be about as misleading as calling spaghetti with sewer water “chili.”
“The concession stands must have made a whole lot of money tonight,” interim manager Dave Jauss joked about the 4-hour, 45-minute affair. (Oh yeah, he had to manage the whole thing because of Luis Rojas’s “excessive arguing” on Sunday.)
Wherever you think the Mets season is going to go from here, just stop. Empty your sweet little head. According to Baseball Reference, every division leader in MLB currently has a 90 percent chance or higher of making the playoffs. Except the Mets. And it’s not like New York’s favorite team is sitting solid at like 87 percent, either. No, despite their 2.5-game lead in the NL East right now, the computer still only gives the Mets a 25.2 percent shot at extending their season. (And that’s an improvement! Just yesterday it was 18.4 percent.) Whereas a team like the White Sox or even the Astros can apparently afford to exhale a bit as they play out the second half, the 49-42 Mets project to still be in for the fight of their lives down the stretch, as the Phillies, Braves, and Nationals (who won 18-1 last night) all look to pose a legitimate threat to their current division lead. I bet none of those three can figure out how to be this weird, though.