As the dismantling of the NY Mets continued over the weekend, two additional former players found themselves smiling all the way to the playoff bound bank.
Curtis Granderson and Rene Rivera were sent packing to the NL West and NL Central leading teams leaving behind a ball club in the midst of a massive rebuilding.
After starting pitcher Chris Flexin failed on Friday, an unlikely hero emerged on the mound on Saturday in the form of Rafael Montero (2-8), who held the Marlins to a run on half a dozen hits in six innings of play.
With Jacob deGrom on the hill, there was hope that the Mets ace could curtail a loss in what has seemed like 700 long suffering Sundays.
But his counterpart Adam Conley contained the Mets, striking out a career high 11, allowing a mere solo shot from Yoenis Cespedes, dashing deGrom’s golden opportunity to plate a pair in the second with runners on second and third by getting the good hitting pitcher to whiff on a 1-2 count.
The Mets defense let down deGrom with mental mishaps. Cespedes’ careless attempt on Christian Yelich’s fly ball to left that fell through his glove, later resulting in a run, along with Amed Rosario’s rookie double clutch of the speedy Dee Gordon’s routine ground ball for an infield single rattled the righty. With runners on the corners, Carlos Stanton uncorked deGrom’s first pitch, a 92.8 mph fastball, over the wall for a three run blast.
deGrom acknowledged that despite needing to make a better pitch in that situation, Rosario’s misplay messed with his mind on how to approach Stanton.
“I was trying to go in there, trying to get a ground ball, trying to jam him,” deGrom said. “He didn’t get it that good. He just happened to get enough. He’s strong enough to get it out of the park. Gotta tip my cap to him there.”
The Mets offense came alive off of Marlins relief pitching, as they closed the gap in the eighth to within two. Brandon Nimmo smacked a leadoff pinch-hit double to right, and after Michael Conforto drew a walk, Cespedes sent Nimmo home on his two bagger to center field, ironically off the glove of Yelich. Wilmer Flores’ sac fly plated Conforto, Travis d’Arnaud’s single scored Cespedes, but the rally fell short when Rosario struck out swinging.
“We made it a game at the end, and I think it’s one of those things that shows you that these guys aren’t throwing in the towel,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “They’re playing all nine.”
Sunday was another too little too late in what has become a microcosm of the Mets disappointing season. With the loss of veteran players, especially the likes of Granderson, and Jay Bruce, leadership in the clubhouse is at an all time low. So for now, the roster filled with a handful of rookies will look toward the future to help make the Mets contenders once again.