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Gold Dust

No need to stop the presses, as the Mets finally maintain a 2-0 lead versus the Royals. [1]

No need to stop the presses, as the Mets finally maintain a 2-0 lead versus the Royals.

All that gold in which the world champion Kansas City Royals draped themselves over the past two games is now dust. Gold dust. They can cram it into tiny tubes, authenticate it, mark it up and sell it as Thor-used to their heart’s content.

They’ve still won what they’ve won, yet we still have the most astounding concentration of starting pitching in civilization. We were reminded of both irrefutable facts Tuesday.

The Royals can have their flags and their rings and the accoutrements of 2015 victory. The Mets can have Noah Syndergaard [2] pitch every fifth day and call him, depending on the prevailing winds, their No. 3 starter.

Some staff. Some stuff. This Syndergaard is good for all time zones, including the Central, where the late afternoon start, like the starter, hit all its spots. The Mets played fourteen postseason games in 2015 and none of them ended in daylight. Opening Night…well, it was called Opening Night for a reason, though Nightmarish Continuation [3] would have sufficed. The last time the Mets took and left the field under the sun was October 4, just before they departed on their journey to greater things, which itself was the first instant they and sunshine were seen simultaneously in about a week. They won that well-pitched game [4], too.

Daylight does a Met body good, particularly one that’s listed at 6’ 6” and 240. Noah led us out of the darkness that enveloped the first game of 2016 and, after permitting a foreboding triple to leadoff pest Alcides Escobar [5], retired almost every Royal he faced Tuesday, doing so with command, arsenal and poise.

Wear all the gold you want. You face that and you’re gonna end your afternoon with your luster tarnished [6].

Thanks to Neil Walker [7] bringing to bear the kind of home run power we’ve come to expect from our second basemen, the Mets took a 2-0 lead in the fourth. Thanks to everybody else in the lineup, the score loitered at 2-0 for an uncomfortable interval. Nothing wrong with leading the world champs — have you heard they’re relentless? — by two as the innings are whittled away, except for oh that déjà vu. The Mets led the Royals, 2-0, through eight one night in November, you might recall. That lead didn’t hold up.

This one did. Thor masterfully ’gaarded his advantage over six (three hits, one walk, nine strikeouts). The bullpen that never quite quelled doubts five-plus months ago transcended adequacy and groped at excellence. Jim Henderson [8], whose name evokes director of sales for your granary supplies’ Midwestern branch, turned the top of the seventh into a company picnic, complete with balloon animals for the kids. Addison Reed [9], who won’t always calm your anxieties, was Xanax for the Mets fan’s soul. And Jeurys Familia [10], a platinum reliever except when encountering Justin Upton [11], Alex Gordon [12] and cruel fate, was his usual phenomenal self. In the middle of reveling in Jeurys’s tour de Familia, respect must be paid to Walker, who had trouble cleanly scooping an Eric Hosmer [13] grounder with one out in the ninth, but did manage to pick it up and fire it to first, thus retiring both the runner and a seven-game-old narrative that had seeped all over our brand new calendar.

The Royals get all the breaks and eventually make the Mets pay. But they don’t cash in on every last one of them, we discovered an instant later, as Familia earned the glittering item we learned across several frightful nights last fall can be more precious than gold: a save.

The Mets are 1-1, exactly where they were after two games in 2015 (and a whole lot of other less rewarding seasons). Two and Oh would be better, as would 162-0 eventually, but this is fine. We got the first loss out of the way, we got the first win nailed down and we get on with our baseball lives. We now wait out the bizarro-schedule portion of the week — off Wednesday, off Thursday; bundle up Friday for our own humble ceremonies; and by next Tuesday, it will be like this year has been going on forever.

With pitching like we saw from Syndergaard, that sounds like an enticing proposition.