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You Gotta Have Start

First game of the first doubleheader in Minute Maid Park history. First game back in Houston after Hurricane Harvey. First start for Matt Harvey after missing two-and-a-half months. First innings pitched in the major league careers of Jacob Rhame and Jamie Callahan. First game in a Mets uniform for Nori Aoki [1]. First time since 2009 the Mets are 18 games under .500 [2].

So, a lot of firsts, ranging from gratifying to concerning. Honestly, I’d usually say “horrifying” where I said “concerning,” but a bad outing by a pitcher is nothing compared to what a bad week of weather can do to a city.

Glad to see people in a ballpark enjoying a ballgame, regardless or especially because of what’s gone on beyond the ballpark walls [3]. Glad to hear from A.J. Hinch pregame, recognizing the efforts of all involved to come through a terrible ordeal (the Houston skipper’s hat tip to the Mets was classy). Sorry to see Matt Harvey look horrid on the hill (2 IP, 7 ER), but nothing went physically wrong and he sounded confident, if self-deceptively so, afterwards. Liked the arm on Rhame, especially. The hard-hitting Astros hit Callahan hard, but he also had a bit of hard luck, and by the time he was on, the Mets were winging and prayering it.

The Mets fell behind by scores of 7-0 and 10-2 on the 45th anniversary of the Saturday night they came from eight runs behind to beat Houston in Houston. When Wilmer Flores launched a grand slam to make it 10-7, I thought we were on to something. The something was Wilmer became the third Met to slam grandly in a loss this year; his predecessors, Jay Bruce and Curtis Granderson, are no longer on the scene. They’ll be on the scene in October.

The Mets, who finished in the rear of a 12-8 final [4], won’t. The Mets have lost their 76th game. They lost 75 all of last year. This isn’t last year or the year before it. This is the year they scrounge about in early September for fill-in help. That’s Aoki, taking over for some combination of Cespedes and Conforto (the latter bound for shoulder capsule surgery, it was announced Saturday). Nori will play in the second game. So will the Mets. So will the Astros. Maybe an eight-run comeback won’t be in order. How’s that for a rallying cry?

There are many ways to support the recovery efforts from Hurricane Harvey. Here is one of them [5].