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A Case of the Nopes

I missed the first game of Sunday’s day-night doubleheader, but it was for a baseball-related reason: we took the Staten Island ferry to get our first look at the 2017 Brooklyn Cyclones.

It hasn’t exactly been going well down on Coney Island — the Cyclones are last in their division and have a .266 winning percentage, which is ’62 Mets territory. But it was a beautiful afternoon, one of those gentle, gorgeous late-summer days that just about breaks your heart because you know in three weeks such days will be impossible. And at least for a day, the Cyclones thoroughly outplayed the sloppy Yankees, spanking them by a satisfying 6-0 score. I wasn’t paying avid attention beyond what was required not to be killed by a foul ball (one near-miss), but I can report that Wagner Lagrange [1] — making his Brooklyn debut after an impressive summer with Kingsport — is at least worth a weather eye, and not just for that indisputably awesome name. The kid knows the strike zone and has a live bat and good speed. You heard it here first, maybe.

The nightcap was under way when we returned, and for a while it was a taut game, marred only by those execrable Players Weekend uniforms [2]. Then Seth Lugo [3] faltered, but Tanner Roark [4] out-faltered him, with Brandon Nimmo [5] lining a two-run homer for a Mets lead and then lighting up all of D.C. with his goofy smile. If Nimmo can even hit his weight he’ll be a great MLB ambassador, as he all but radiates that baseball is fun and everyone playing it should enjoy it and everyone watching it should enjoy it too, and then all involved should hurry home for apple pie, stopping only to buy mom some flowers.

Alas, Nimmo’s invitation for us all to be more joyful was followed by discouraging work fromĀ Hansel Robles [6]. Robles — snarked at by Keith Hernandez [7] for giving up homers — chose a lower-altitude way of driving us insane, walking three straight guys before being sent to the clubhouse to think about what he’d done. He also screwed the mound up so completely that the more-reliable Chasen Bradford couldn’t pitch either — Bradford immediately walked a fourth guy, giving the Nats back the lead.

I know Robles has been better of late — he picked up two key strikeouts in the matinee [8], for instance — but he’s become too exasperating for logic to rule the day. I’d suggest the Mets establish a farm team in Antarctica, with Robles as the entirety of its roster.

The Mets did fight back: Wilmer Flores [9] looked like he’d tied the game with a drive off of Shawn Kelley [10] in the eighth, but the ball died in the air. Erik Goeddel [11] then gave up a seemingly cosmetic, ultimately crushing home run to Adam Lind [12], and Sean Doolittle [13] arrived to close things out for the Nats.

Doolittle kept throwing strikes, and the Mets looked helpless against him early in their at-bats. But they persevered, with Travis d’Arnaud [14], Gavin Cecchini [15] and Jose Reyes [16] all singling to bring up Juan Lagares [17] with two outs and the tying run on third, go-ahead run on second. Lagares clobbered a high fastball that seemed certain to go over old pal Alejandro De Aza [18]‘s head, which it did. But it was only high enough to require a little crow hop from De Aza; when he came down the Mets had lost [19].

The Mets had lost and I was yelling obscenities and reminding myself that remotes are too fragile and expensive to become missiles launched with sports-related pique. Which was a victory of a sort, if you think about it — the season’s lost, but I really thought a bunch of 51s wearing absurd uniforms were going to triumph, and was undone when they didn’t.