Image credit: Chris Simon
On a night that truly encapsulated the solemnity, honor, and remembrance of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, the Mets and Yankees put on a show that spoke directly to the vibes of New York City during those harrowing times.
Both teams’ toughness and never-say-die mentalities were on full display — which is what NYC was and remains all about — and the energy of the proceedings rivaled the pomp and circumstance of the evening itself.
It was perfect. Oh, except for the outcome.
The Mets dug themselves out of an early 5-0 hole behind RBI hits from Kevin Pillar and Walker and home runs from Javy Báez and James McCann (plus an RBI triple), but couldn’t hang on to a late 7-5 lead or make waves with a runner on in the ninth, handing the Yanks all they needed to snap their seven-game losing streak with an 8-7 win.
“The guys showed their resiliency, once again. Battling. They’ve shown that the whole year. Guys not giving up despite that big inning they had against [Taijuan Walker],” Mets manager Luis Rojas said after the loss. “The resiliency showed again. We just couldn’t finish it.”
That’s become somewhat of a hallmark this season. No one can question this team’s heart and drive and refusal to be counted out. From the in-game micro to the big-picture macro, they’ve exhibited all of it in spades.
Their August fall from Bench Mob grace (9-19; .231/.303/.366 batting line as a team) left them barely alive, but a 6-5 September combined with Atlanta coming back down to earth after their red-hot August (18-8; 5-5 in September) has given the Mets' ample opportunities to regain their footing.
They erased half of their 8.5-game deficit in the NL East over a week’s time. They just haven’t been able to make a move since. And the schedule doesn't get much easier from here on out.
Trevor May — who came into the night with a 0.90 ERA over his previous 10 outings and a 2.09 career ERA versus the Yanks — let things slip away in the eighth, giving up a two-run shot to Aaron Judge on a changeup that stayed high in the zone (not a terrible pitch) to tie the game at seven.
Aaron Loup entered and nearly escaped with the score tied, but Javier Báez’s off-balance double-play throw to first sailed high, allowing Andrew Velazquez to scamper home from second with the lead run.
J.D. Davis reached in the ninth (pinch-hit ground-rule double down the line in right field), but another comeback was not to be. Deflating would probably be the best way to describe the night.
Combine that all with the Marlins taking down the Braves, giving New York the golden opportunity to cut a game off the gap before watching that door slam shut in the later frames of a generally thrilling contest.
Sure, you can’t win them all. But that was really one the Mets had to have.
May spoke after the game, expressing all the same sentiments you’d hear from a fan after such a tough defeat on such a special evening. It was kind of refreshing, to be honest.
“It’s a day you want to go out and you want to have your best stuff and you want to give the fans what they came to see,” he said. “I can definitely feel how this loss can be a little bit more emotionally charged than others. Trust me, I’m feeling that, too.”
“All I want to do is flip this table over,” May added, half deadpan but 100 percent serious. “But I have to be ready to pitch tomorrow and that doesn’t help anybody, and we need the Zoom room to work tomorrow. I’m frustrated to a point that’s all I’ve got.”
You said it, Trevor. Mets have 19 games left on the docket with five to make up in the standings. Pray for us, Ralph Kiner.
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