Long before the 2013 season started, the Mets' chances of contending this year seemed slim at best. Even with a possibly-healthy Johan Santana in the fold at the beginning of spring training, the team had some glaring holes and was picked by most to finish at or near the bottom of the National League East. Even the most optimistic Mets fan had to be realistic about where the team might end up this year.
So when the Mets rattled off four wins against the Yankees last week, it probably would have been pretty hard to find a fan of the team who thought they were suddenly going to throw their hats in the wild card ring. But a long winning streak in baseball has the ability to cast reason and reality aside, at least temporarily, for all but the most pessimistic fan.
Even two wins in Miami this weekend would have the Mets right on the heels of the Philadelphia Phillies. Sure, the Braves are the only team of the five in the division with a winning record, but in the two-wild-card era, third place is no longer a death sentence. With Zack Wheeler beginning finals week as a minor league baseball player and Travis d'Arnaud potentially getting out of the boot that's intended to protect his broken foot soon, third place wouldn't exactly be the end of the world for the Mets.
After a pair of ugly losses in Miami on Friday night and Saturday afternoon, the Mets had Matt Harvey on the mound on Sunday afternoon, giving them their best shot to win a game and avoid the embarrassment of leaving town without a single victory.
Harvey was human in his start, giving up four runs on ten hits while throwing 100 pitches in five innings. If that's Harvey's worst outing of the year, the grand majority of his peers would be jealous to experience such misfortune.
Rather than rolling over and playing dead like they often have with Harvey on the mound, the Mets' hitters managed to turn a four-run deficit into a two-run lead by the middle of the fifth inning. Lucas Duda and Omar Quintanilla each hit a solo home run. Ike Davis hit a two-run home run that tied the game, and fifth-inning singles by Marlon Byrd and Davis put the Mets up by two.
But with Harvey out of the game after five innings, the Mets' bullpen proceeded to give up five runs. Scott Rice was charged with three runs as he walked four batters in two-third of an inning. Brandon Lyon took over and gave up a run of his own. LaTroy Hawkins served up a three-run home run to Greg Dobbs in the ninth. It was about as unpleasant as the last four innings of a Mets game can get.
The Mets are off tomorrow, but they'll start a three-game series against the Nationals on Tuesday evening in Washington, D.C. The Mets will start Jeremy Hefner, while the Nationals will start Jordan Zimmermann.
SB Nation Coverage
* Amazin' Avenue Gamethread
* Fish Stripes Gamethread
Win Probability Added
Big winners: Ike Davis, +29.5% WPA, Marlon Byrd, +17.5% WPA
Big losers: Scott Rice, -51.1% WPA, Matt Harvey, -14.5% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Ike Davis's two-run, game-tying home run in the fourth, +21.3% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Marcell Ozuna's two-run, game-tying double in the sixth, -29.9% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: -73.8% WPA
Total batter WPA: +23.8% WPA
GWRBI!: Chris Coghlan