At quarter mark of season, Mets offense clicked at right time
After their game on Saturday was suspended due to inclement weather, the Mets played a doubleheader against the Washington Nationals on Sunday, splitting the twin bill on Mother’s Day and officially reaching the quarter mark of the season with 41 games played.
New York lost Game 1 of the doubleheader, but came back for Game 2 and exploded for eight runs in the fifth inning en route to a win. The eight runs scored in the fifth were the most runs the Mets have scored in a single inning this season, and they couldn’t have come at a better time as the offense had been scuffling for weeks before that.
“You pull so hard for them because you know, you see the things they do and how much they want it and sometimes it’s just hard to get in a flow of it at this level,” manager Buck Showalter said.
In the four games before Sunday’s offensive onslaught, including Game 1 of the doubleheader, New York scored a combined seven runs against the Cincinnati Reds and Nationals – two teams not expected to make the playoffs this season.
But baseball is strange. One day, almost out of nowhere, things can click. Nobody is a better example of that than Mark Canha who went 3-for-4 in Game 2, including two separate RBI hits in that fifth inning, after being mired in an 8-for-40 slump.
“I saw the ball really well today and I think that’s kind of the first step,” Canha said. “Slowing the game down and making sure you’re staying in the strike zone and seeing the ball long and that’s what I felt like I was doing today. A little tweak here and there and it finally, something felt right. The key is just holding on and keeping up the work I’m doing and keep going in the direction I’m going.”
He added: “It kind of felt like our good at-bats finally turned into something and we cashed them in and it was only a matter of time before that happened. We were having a lot of good ones it feels like lately and I think that’s just something that we need to continue moving forward.”
Another player who came into the game struggling offensively but had a good day at the plate was Starling Marte.
Not only did Marte go 2-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored, his leadoff single in the fifth inning started the rally and his stolen base later in the inning caused an errant throw that scored another run.
“The thing that we talked about with him is he seemed to be cheating a lot on the fastball which made his pitch recognition go away and that’s not him,” Showalter said about Marte. “He only had one real chase today in the two games and that was good to see.”
It’s funny, since a 162-game season isn’t equally divisible by four, technically the official quarter mark of the season was in… the top of the fifth inning, when the Mets popped off offensively.
Will New York go on to average eight runs a game from here on out? Unlikely. But during a season in which a lot has been made of their struggling offense, it’s funny that at the exact quarter mark of the Mets’ season, they were scoring eight runs in an inning.
What is more likely, though, is for the Mets -- who are currently 20-21 -- to use Sunday’s offensive performance as a springboard to jump back into the race and be the quality team many expected they would be.
“We’re a good team. I mean, we’re a good team,” Max Scherzer said. “There’s plenty of good teams in the league and there’s still so much baseball left and this is gonna be a great fight all the way to the finish.
“I’m sure there’s things everybody can say about what we wish we did better at, there’s other things that we have done well. Just continue to get in the season, get in a groove and find a rhythm and continue to play well and win series. This group can win, we know it.”
Canha added: “It’s a long season, we know that. It’s important to never get too high or too low and kind of keep an even keel and just go about your business every day and that’s the good thing about the group we’ve got here. It’s a bunch of professionals and guys who take it seriously and show up and work hard every day and that’s what it’s all about.”