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Mets vs. Reds Recap: Harvey strong, Walker goes deep in second straight sweep

The Mets have won six straight and nine of their last ten games leading into a well-earned day off.

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

A 5-2 win isn't exactly a dominant performance, but it is a comfortable one. There are times during a baseball season, usually during an early season winning streak, where it feels like nothing can go wrong. This is the honeymoon stage. These are times when errors are just minor blemishes, earned runs allowed an oddly endearing personality trait, and the hits seem as certain as the other person laughing at your bad jokes.

The Mets aren't quite at that point yet, but man does it ever feel close to happening. They've won nine of ten and the rotation isn't even firing on all cylinders yet. This is a very good baseball team. They're an absolute catch so far and, often, a joy to watch. Even if this sort of streak obviously isn't sustainable, I for one am very excited to start my summer fling with them. Who knows, maybe it'll last all the way into cuffing season in the late fall. Wouldn't that be nice?

Without Yoenis Cespedes, Travis d'Arnaud, or Curtis Granderson in the lineup, the Mets had no trouble tossing a five spot on the Reds. A struggling Matt Harvey on the mound started to turn it around. Jeurys Familia, who wasn't available because he had pitched three games in a row, was replaced effortlessly by Addison Reed and company. The Mets held Cincinnati to two runs. A game that was a bit of a struggle early ended up a comfortable win, and the Mets won their sixth-straight game in their second-straight series sweep.

Despite all that praise, the game started with quite a bit of turbulence. Zack Cozart, who has been red-hot to start the season, took the Harvey deep in the first at-bat of the game. Ivan De Jesus followed that up with a single, then reached second thanks to an error charged to Lucas Duda. However, Harvey stopped the bleeding by striking out Eugenio Suarez and Devin Mesoraco to end the inning.

The Mets answered when Duda got a bit of an instant karma assist, reaching thanks to an error by Scott Schebler that allowed Alejandro De Aza, who was in the leadoff spot, to score. Neil Walker drove Duda in right after to make it 2-1 New York, because that is what Neil Walker does. In the third, with runners on first and second and nobody out, Harvey bunted into a double play that helped the Reds end another threat. But even when they waste chances, these Mets seem to create more of them to make up for it down the line.

In the third, Harvey worked around trouble. With the bases loaded and one out, he struck out Eugenio Suarez. Then, Devin Mesoraco hit a poorly-placed 0-2 fastball up the middle on a line. Neil Walker was there to grab it behind the bag, though, making up for his error earlier in the inning. In the home half, Walker took a 2-0 pitch and hit a solo shot to left-center, his ninth of the season. Nobody is certain who Neil Walker sold his soul to for this incredible power surge, but it's safe to say he's getting his money's worth.

Harvey got in trouble again in the fifth, giving up singles to Cozart, a slumping Joey Votto, and Eugenio Suarez. With first and third and one out, he again worked out of a jam, inducing a grounder for an inning-ending double play. He pitched a clean sixth to close out his outing, by far his best of the season. A resurgent Harvey is looming after some early bumps, so expect more outings even better than last night's.

Michael Conforto doubled in the insurance runs, represented by Eric Campbell and Alejandro De Aza, in the bottom of the inning. That made the score 5-2, and then the bullpen went to work. Jim Henderson, Hansel Robles, and Addison Reed each pitched one-two-three innings, combining for five strikeouts, and completing the sweep. I'm not one who really buys into the idea of momentum, but the Mets will have a day off tomorrow to ponder it. If it exists, the Mets certainly have it right now, heading into a tough weekend series with the Giants.

The Mets stand at 13-7 on the year, one game behind the Nationals in the National League East, and they've put their slow start firmly in the rear-view mirror.

SB Nation GameThreads

Amazin' Avenue GameThread
Red Reporter GameThread

Box scores

Win Probability Added

(What's WPA?)

Big winners: Neil Walker, +23.2% WPA; Matt Harvey, +10.0% WPA
Big losers: N/A
Teh aw3s0mest play: Michael Conforto doubled to left in the sixth, driving in Alejandro De Aza (!) and Eric Campbell (!!!)
Teh sux0rest play: Matt Harvey grounded into a double play on a bunt in the second
Total pitcher WPA: +19.7%
Total batter WPA: +30.3%
GWRBI!: Neil Walker