If things were going well for the Mets this year, their win over the Marlins on Saturday night would have fallen right into the “ho-hum” category. They got seven innings of two-run ball from Noah Syndegaard, who had a track record coming into this season that put him in the top 15 or so starting pitchers in Major League Baseball. They got home runs from two of their powerful hitters with surnames beginning with the letter C, Michael Conforto and Robinson Canó, each of which supplied half of their total runs on the night. And their 25-year-old closer who was coming off a historically dominant season, Edwin Diaz, closed out the win without issue.
In the context of the 2019 season, the game and most of those specific things felt anything but routine. Syndergaard struggled mightily in the first half despite showing signs of being his usual self at times. Diaz struggled even more. Cano did, too. Conforto was the only one of the bunch that had pretty much looked like his excellent self for the first half of the season.
Yes, the Mets only beat the Marlins, but on paper, that was supposed to happen all along. Feasting upon the cellar dwellars was seen as something that could be key to deciding the National League East, and right now, the win just moved the Mets back to a six-game lead over the Marlins for fourth place, leaving them just as far from the third-place Phillies as they are from the cellar themselves.
None of this is to say that wins shouldn’t be enjoyed and celebrated. In isolation, it’s a lot more fun to watch the Mets to win than it is to watch them lose, and as much as the league has pushed its amateur draft as an event, it’s just impossible to root for your own team to tank for that relatively abstract cause. Hoping your football team fails more often than not in sixteen games in a given year, for instance, is a lot less grueling than doing the same for a baseball team for the better part of 162.
On nights like last night, the wins are just a little bittersweet. The big names did what they were supposed to do, and the Mets beat a team they were supposed to beat. You can’t help but let your imagination run with that for a few minutes and think that this could have been a happier season all along.
Wouldn’t it be nice?
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big winners: Robinson Cano, +29.0% WPA, Noah Syndergaard, +14.1% WPA, Michael Conforto, +13.6% WPA
Big losers: none
Total pitcher WPA: +29.4% WPA
Total batter WPA: +20.6% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Robinson Cano hits a two-run home run in the eighth, +36.9% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Jorge Alfaro hits a run-scoring triple in the fourth, -18.9% WPA