Flushing, NY: There was the controversy that Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard caused regarding his catcher Wilson Ramos. Prior to the Mets 3-1 and needed win over the Diamondbacks at Citi Field Monday night, manager Mickey Callaway and GM Brodie Van Wegenen addressed the issue about Syndergaard not wanting Ramos as his catcher.
All of that stemmed after a Mets loss Sunday afternoon to the Phillies, costly and one that took over four and half hours and kept them four games back of the Cubs for a NL wild card.
Well, winning is everything. The Mets needed one Monday night. Callaway said the issue with Sydnergaard and his preference to not have Ramos as his catcher was not a cause for concern and made it clear this latest controversy is over and it never amounted into anything major.
“He’s one of the best hitters in the lineup,” Callaway said about Ramos. “He’s done a great job behind the plate.”
And this Mets win kept them in the hunt for that wild card with 19 games remaining.
The task is difficult and there is no denying that. The Arizona Diamondbacks came to Citi Field as one of those teams ahead of the Mets, a game-and-a half behind the Cubs, 14-4 in their last 19 games and with momentum.
But the Mets, as they have been since the All-Star break continued to have that approach of we are not done and Monday night they responded.
Jacob deGrom, Pete Alonso, and Seth Lugo gave the Diamondbacks a response in this win.
“He’s going to beat you,” Callaway said about deGrom who improved his position for Cy Young Award consideration with seven innings of one-hit ball. He struck out 11 and leads the National League in strikeouts. The reigning Cy Young Award winner of 2018 has punched out 10 batters or more for the ninth time this season.
As Callaway said about the right-hander, ” It’s something special and unique.”
So no talk about Wilson Ramos not being the proper catcher for Jacob deGrom. For that matter,Ramos is a cog in the Mets lineup and his double to centerfield in the fourth inning beat an outfield shift. Ramos is hitting .415 since the start of August and is coming off a 26-game hitting streak that was snapped last week at the Nationals.
“It had a lot of movement tonight, probably more than it’s had all year,” deGrom said about his changeup and slider that forced the strikeouts. “So I think we saw that early and kind of stuck with it.”
The other catalyst to this win was Seth Lugo. He picked up the final six outs and recorded his eighth career save and ran his scoreless streak to 13.0 innings.
More importantly, these Mets, including deGrom, are more concerned about wins and not records. It’s the stretch and as Lugo said, “Every game is important at this point.”
They are important and Pete Alonso has the home run swing going at the right time. A pair of home runs, got him to a Major League leading 47. The first inning set the tone for deGrom and the Mets to a 1-0 lead. Alonso recorded his his fourth multi-home run game and has reached base safely in 34 consecutive games.
“I’m just trying to focus on winning and trying to help this team get to the playoffs,” Alonso said.
Tt worked Monday night. And in that Mets clubhbouse there is no adversity and all they want to do is play and win to reach the postseason. The task is difficult and the games are winding down to a precious few.
Alonso said,”My main goal here is to put us in a position to win. Bigger picture is to reach the playoffs.”
In other words the Mets want the ring and not the records as they try to make the postseason for the first time since 2016. And playing good baseball, as they did Monday night, could get them there.
NOTES: Welcome home Wilmer Flores. The former Met of six years, a fan favorite, was picked up by the Diamondbacks when his contract was not tendered in November.
And of course Wilmer had to shine, as he did so many times at Citi Field. He became a fan favorite
on July 28, 2015 when he cried in the infield as word leaked about being traded two days before the trade deadline, What transpired was a trade that never occurred as a ballgame was being played at Citi Field.
A few days later, Flores got a walk-off home run against the Nationals that started an impressive Mets run to a National League championship and World Series.
That emotion showed his commitment and love for New York, the fans, and Wilmer Flores became their cult hero. The Mets played a video tribute to Flores before the game and he waved to the crowd.
So with deGrom on the mound in the fifth inning, after getting ovations in prior at bats, he led off and connected on a 3-1 fastball to left that went for his eighth home run of the year, first against a right-hander this season. After the game, Flores went to the opposite side and they joked about the home run ball.
“We have a really good friendship,” Flores said about his former teammate. “It was a little weird because I was used to being on the New York side but I met a lot of good friends there, good teammates. It was a special night.”
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