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Please Proceed, Marlins

An old maxim of pretty much everything is never to interrupt your opponent while (s)he’s making a mistake. With that credo in mind, the Mets essentially sat back on a drizzly Saturday night and let the Marlins do whatever that was they were doing instead of playing baseball.

The Mets have their issues, goodness knows, beginning with finding 100 intact limbs to put on a given night’s roster. (More about that in a bit.) But the Marlins are in one of those dismal stretches where a team goes out for a walk and manages to find each and every single land mine buried in the field.

The Marlins sent the wonderfully named Odrisamer Despaigne [1] to the mound in lieu of Wei-Yin Chen [2], who’s suffering from that most modern of afflictions, the made-for-the-10-day-DL tired arm. The third pitch Despaigne threw was botched by Justin Bour [3], putting Michael Conforto [4] on first; the fourth was whacked up the gap by Asdrubal Cabrera [5], making it 1-0 Mets. The Mets piled on with another double, a run-scoring single, a sac fly and a pair of walks (the first to pitcher Robert Gsellman [6]) to put up a five-spot in the first.

It didn’t get much better [7] for Miami after that. The Marlins muffed ground balls, fumbled double plays, allowed passed balls and played the outfield like they were wearing cement shoes. There were hit batsmen, more bases-loaded walks and about a thousand shots of Don Mattingly [8].

With all that going on, the Mets essentially sat back and told Governor Loria’s charges to please proceed. Though I’ll add that on the Mets’ side, Curtis Granderson [9] played a pretty nifty center field. Not bad considering a week ago it was tempting to suggest a trainer hold a mirror up to Curtis’s mouth before the game to make sure it fogged.

(Well, some other trainer than Ray Ramirez. Let’s not get giddy.)

If there are baseball gods, there’s nothing that makes them rub their immortal hands together more avidly than some earthly rooter discerning motive from statistical ebb and flow. Things aren’t going well for the Marlins right now and they are for the Mets; it would be unwise to say anything beyond that.

But I’ll risk a little heavenly wrath with a pair of brief notes.

First of all, it behooves us to remember these last couple of games the next time we’re at New Soilmaster Stadium and some annoying Marlin or other is spearing a ball in the hole or running one down in that impossible alley or snagging a grounder that appeared ticketed for grass, as I remember happening approximately 114,000 times over the course of a quarter-century as perpetrated by about 100 teal-related names I’m not going to list for fear of an epidemic of fists through monitors. The worm feels like it’s never ever going to turn; then you look over and see the little pink sucker’s doing loop-the-loops.

Second, whether it’s through pluck or luck, clubhouse leadership or managerial guidance, hearty resolve or kind-hearted randomness, the Mets are having a good stretch despite having been stripped of Yoenis Cespedes [10], Noah Syndergaard [11], Lucas Duda [12], Travis d’Arnaud [13], Steven Matz [14] and Seth Lugo [15]. (It’s sad that I no longer see the point of adding David Wright [16] to that list.) We all know that, but it ought to be recorded for posterity.

Joining the DL All-Stars is Asdrubal Cabrera [5], who brings that certain intangible something that makes him worth more than the sum of his various aged and oft-creaky parts. Cabrera went down on a frightening play in the third, diving for a Marcell Ozuna [17] grounder that left him rolling over his glove and then lying on his back, feet kicking feebly in agony.

Because we’re the Mets, the injury was accompanied by two elements that a halfway-decent editor would have rejected as ham-handed:

a) Cabrera went down with Sandy Alderson in the booth speaking philosophically of injuries and luck; and

b) as he lay in the grass, face contorted with pain, a cold drizzle became an aggressive rain.

Off the top of my head I can think of four serious baseball injuries any longtime fan recognizes at once. We all know that a starting pitcher shaking his pitching elbow means we need to advance his calendar 16 months or so. A runner hopping as if shot in the back of leg means at least three weeks’ absence and maybe six to eight. A batter getting hit in the bottom of the hand, just above the wrist, suggests a broken hamate bone, a vestigial bit of skeleton whose sole function is to disable ballplayers. And then there’s a diving fielder whose glove folds under him, jamming the thumb backwards or into the hand.

Depending how many years of orange and blue scars you have, you immediately thought of Darryl Strawberry [18], or Dave Kingman [19].

Or Ron Darling [20] — as Gary Cohen tried to assess what had happened to Cabrera, Darling offered a quiet and grim diagnosis that I remembered was based on sad experience — a similar injury ended his 1987 season. As for Alderson, after a long silence he said with the vocal equivalent of a 1,000-yard stare that “we’ll see when I get downstairs.”

It turns out that Cabrera’s thumb isn’t broken, but it seems somewhere between likely and certain that Sunday’s MRI will show ligament damage. (They have MRIs on Sunday, don’t they?) [Update: They do, no ligament damage. Whew!] Which leaves the Mets with a number of serviceable though far from ideal options. They could ask Wilmer Flores [21] to do more than platoon; they could shuffle T.J. Rivera [22], Jay Bruce [23] and an outfielder; they could hope Matt Reynolds [24] can fill the gap; or they could try to accelerate the future by recalling Amed Rosario.

Which will they choose? Will that choice work? Hell if I know. But right now the Mets are winning with a bunch of Plan Cs and Ds — and maybe this run can buy them time to get back to Plan As or Bs.