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Go Figure, They Won

Jacob deGrom [1] gets hit like Jacob deGrom never gets hit. Then Jacob deGrom leaves with an injury like Jacob deGrom does in our worst nightmares. Then the Mets, down by three in the third, turn to Michael Wacha [2], a lapsed starter the Mets resist turning to as a matter of course. Then the Mets run the bases without regard for doing it well.

Then the Mets win?

Yes, then the Mets win [3]. They won Wednesday night’s game against the Phillies and won the Go Figure Cup, awarded annually to the team that has no earthly business winning a game they were so clearly destined to lose.

Destiny took a holiday for a change. The Mets have lost enough games they seemed moments from winning that it was about time they had one mysteriously float over from the ‘L’ column. And it’s not like they weren’t proactive about making it happen. Wacha hung in for four very solid innings, giving up only a solo homer to Jean Segura in the third, which made the Mets’ deficit 4-0 and the Mets’ likelihood of prevailing highly unlikely.

But this whole season has been unlikely, so why not keep watching and divine whatever good news there was to be discerned? Like Jake was gone not for the season but probably for no more than the five days until his next scheduled start because all that ailed him was a hamstring spasm. I sometimes get those sitting at my desk typing, but I don’t use my legs nearly as much as Jake does. Jake’s Cy Young chances may wind up falling outside the razor-thin margin for error, given that his ERA shot up above 2 during his two uncharacteristic non-deGrominant innings, but if he doesn’t win it, we can dismiss the awarding of a Cy as rather silly in a sixty-game sprint.

And if he does somehow win it despite an earned run average of 2.09 (gasp!) with no more than two starts remaining, we’ll change our tune without missing a beat and revert to singing the praises of the wisdom of the BBWAA.

Besides, no matter what happens with the Cy, we’ve already captured the Go Figure Cup. Go figure, Wacha was fine after Segura crushed him, and so were Justin Wilson, Miguel Castro and the recently less cringe-inducing Edwin Diaz [4] for an inning apiece after Wacha left. Go figure, J.D. Davis [5], playing this strange position wherein he bats several times a game yet doesn’t trot out to the field at all, homered and drove in three runs. J.D. going deep may not sound worthy of going figuring, but Mr. Davis had not hit one out since August 18, or nearly a month before, for those of you who no longer bother with niceties like calendars.

One of the runs J.D. drove in, the one that tied the game at four in the eighth, scored via the seemingly disinterested feet of Michael Conforto. Michael had walked with two out. J.D. doubled to center. Michael only sort of ran from first because he didn’t seem aware that there were two out. What should have been a fairly easy tally became uncomfortably close at the plate. It was still a run, but it was a little too typical of how the Mets have run themselves out of innings of late.

There’d be more of that in the ninth: more scoring, more running without thinking the process through. The good part was built on Robinson Cano [6] converting a Hector Neris quick pitch into a single up the middle; pinch-runner Amed Rosario [7] taking second on a Neris balk; and Andrés Giménez [8] taking advantage of Joe Girardi’s decision to intentionally walk Jeff McNeil to instead take on the rookie. Giménez responded with the tie-breaking single, as Rosario sped home without incident from second. The abhorrent part came during the succeeding at-bat, as Jake Marisnick struck out; the ball got away just a little from catcher Andrew Knapp; Giménez took off prematurely from his base; Knapp threw to second; McNeil took off from third; and McNeil got himself tagged out attempting to dive into home by second baseman Scott Kingery, who rushed in with the ball to end the inning.

Yet the Mets didn’t suffer for their foibles and misfortunes. Davis got to Zack Wheeler, Cano and Giménez got to Neris (as does every Met, eventually) and Diaz in particular got the ball over the plate in mostly unhittable fashion, recording three swinging strikeouts that rendered a single somewhere in between shockingly harmless.

Mets 5 Phillies 4. Go figure. Mets still sort of in the playoff picture. They’re two-and-a-half out of a playoff spot with eleven to play and three teams between them and the team they have to reach. Go figure that if you are so inclined. Or just be thankful for small favors and spasms that aren’t fatal.