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Party at Zack’s House

Friday night’s game was an Earl Weaver [1] special — the Mets scored eight times in the first, then slowly pulled away. It was one of those games you think you’d want every night, because who doesn’t like a laugher [2] that reveals itself as such within the first half an hour? In reality, though, you wouldn’t. This was the baseball equivalent of a tween slumber party, an evening spent eating Doritos and cookie dough and chasing it with Reddi-wip straight from the can. It’s fun that one night, but a regular regimen would be injurious to your health and possibly your sanity.

Speaking of sanity, for Marlins starter Pablo Lopez [3] it was an evening to either flush down the personal memory hole or relive at 4 ams to come. (I hope it’s the former, for his sake.) Incredibly, the Mets led 7-0 before Lopez recorded an out through his own actions, as Jeff McNeil [4] was thrown out trying to go first to third on right fielder Brian Anderson [5]. The first inning, for posterity: McNeil bunt single, J. D. Davis single (McNeil out at third), Robinson Cano [6] single, wild pitch scores Davis, Pete Alonso [7] walk, Michael Conforto [8] single, Wilson Ramos [9] RBI infield single (yeah, that kind of inning), Brandon Nimmo [10] bases-loaded walk, Amed Rosario [11] grand slam, Zack Wheeler [12] strikeout, McNeil HBP, Davis single (his second of the inning), Cano RBI single (ditto), Cano out on Alonso fielder’s choice.

There are a number of WTFs from a sequence like that, most immediately that Lopez was left out there to take the entirety of that beating, not to mention giving up solo shots to Conforto in the second and McNeil in the third before Don Mattingly [13] finally peeled him off the canvas. Suffice it to stay that when your No. 2 and No. 3 hitters both record multiple hits in the first inning, it’s gonna be a good night.

It stayed a good night because Wheeler didn’t succumb to the malady that occasionally befalls young pitchers of being unable to tolerate good fortune. That’s an oddity of baseball I’ve already enjoyed, because it reveals just how much focus and adrenaline goes into throwing a ball with purpose from 60 feet, six inches away. Turn a competitive baseball game into a throw day and it’s hard or impossible to summon that, with results that are usually just slapstick but can be disastrous. But no, Wheeler looked sharp before and after the Mets rang his doorbell and handed him a giant novelty check: his location was pinpoint and he had all of his pitches working. That would have been bad news for the Marlins even without that eight spot on the scoreboard against them.

To the extent a baseball team can reveal itself as anything in May, the Mets have looked like what they’ve been in too many supposedly promising seasons: out of sync, misfiring and ultimately a complicated version of ordinary [14]. This is the part of their schedule where they have a chance to fatten up and figure things out, though in my experience those stretches generally prove better at showing that ordinary teams are indeed stubbornly and frustratingly ordinary. We’ll see; needless to say, shellacking the Marlins by sending 13 men to the plate in the first was a pretty good start. Hey Mom we’re out of cookie dough, and I’m sorry but Doug accidentally squirted Reddi-wip all over the rug and I don’t know maybe also the TV, so do we have any more of that too?

(By the way, if you have a subscription to the Athletic — which you totally should, as it’s excellent and worth far more than the very reasonable price — I hope you saw the article [15] about what Derek Jeter [16] and his goon, Gary Denbo, have done to the Marlins. It’s the I Ate an Entire Bag of Doritos of Schadenfreude, so I’m going to save it for a night when I really need it, but go find it and revel.)