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Ain’t That Grand?

Curtis Granderson [1] isn’t having fun so far.

There’s the .127 batting average, the $60 million contract, and even the defense — what, exactly, that throw in the nightmarish top of the fifth was is a question best not pondered. Granderson is by all accounts a peach of a guy, but he’s been hearing boos from fans who have a growing sense of dread that he’s a rather well-disguised Jason Bay [2].

Of course, Granderson has plenty of company. The Mets’ .227 team batting average is 28th in baseball. Their .301 OBP is 25th. Their .636 OPS is 29th. They’ve hit 12 home runs, good for a three-way tie for 25th. They’re on their third closer of the season, and that closer is Kyle Farnsworth [3]. They can’t win at home. Their fans are fed up with trying to figure out what the payroll is going to be, and with waiting for endlessly promised better days, and most of all with bad baseball.

And yet, somehow, the Mets are 9-9. David Wright [4] is hitting, the first-base conundrum hasn’t been solved but at least has been decided, the starting pitching’s pretty good even with Matt Harvey [5] attending public events in disguise to avoid the wrath of talk-radio trolls, and the aforementioned Kyle Farnsworth pitched just fine today, as did fellow former stars Daisuke Matsuzaka [6] and even Jose Valverde [7], Ol’ Gopher Ball himself.

The Mets even withstood the might of Freddie Freeman [8], the man who makes Chipper Jones [9] look like an eighth-place hitter. Scott Rice [10] arrived in the seventh with the game tied and Braves on first and third. I was trying to figure out how Freeman’s blast would count for six runs, but before I could even frame a doomed tweet Rice had delivered the only pitch he’d throw. Freeman rolled it to Daniel Murphy [11], who fed it to Omar Quintanilla [12], who fired it to Lucas Duda [13], and all was well.

Wait, what?

The Mets seem like the worst 9-9 team in the universe primarily because we’re Mets fans and we’ve had enough. But it’s also that they’ve gagged up some games in atrocious ways — such as watching a promising start undone by a lone inning of spastic defense (Zack Wheeler [14]‘s implosion could have been modeled after Bartolo Colon [15]‘s the previous day), then having bullpen horrors shred a plucky comeback. Games like that make your shoulders sag, as a fan and probably as a player as well.

But the bullpen horrors didn’t come today. The pen held the line long enough for the bats to piece something together. Granderson didn’t hit a cannonball of a homer that blasted open a bank vault of pre-Madoff money; he hit a lazy fly ball that was just deep enough given that Kirk Nieuwenhuis [16] was just fast enough. Either way, it was enough.

And hey, if you were a Braves fan, by then you’d had enough. Dan Uggla [17] played second base this series like a guy you should spoon-feed to keep him from hurting himself with utensils, and Justin Upton [18] sometimes seems like he’d rather be doing anything than playing baseball. Even at 12-6, the Braves have issues of their own.

So the Mets won. It may not feel like it, but they won … just as they’ve done as often as they’ve lost, though it doesn’t feel like that either. I don’t know what to make of Granderson, or Colon, or Wheeler, or Travis d’Arnaud [19], or Chris Young, or any of the guys we’re counting on for better days. But perhaps that’s because they’ve played 18 games over less than a month. Of course we don’t know anything yet. Ask again on June 1. In the meantime, well, we played a baseball game today and somehow eventually we won [20]. And ain’t that grand? Or at least grand enough?