During the marathon of a baseball season, it takes contributions from all 25 players on the roster to get you over the finish line and into the postseason.
While the Mets have to rely on the usual suspects – Yoenis Cespedes, Neil Walker, Curtis Granderson, and arguably the best starting rotation in baseball – to carry them through the summer, there are plenty of games that can be won by role players.
The sweep against the Royals was encouraging because of who stepped up and got them those crucial victories.
When Bartolo Colon had to exit after four pitches on Tuesday night, Hansel Robles stepped in and delivered in an emergency situation.
In possibly his best outing of the season, Robles went 3 2/3 innings, and allowed a run on five hits and earned his first win of the season as the Mets pulled out a 2-1 win.
These are the kind of performance that will renew manager Terry Collins’ faith in Robles, who has had a spotty season.
The Mets grinded out a 4-3 win over the Royals on Wednesday afternoon in much the same fashion, with heroics from unlikely sources.
The offense showed signs that it could break out of its slumber, as all four runs came with two outs.
In the fourth, Asdrubal Cabrera walked and Cespedes singled to open the inning. They stayed there, as Walker popped out to the catcher and Wilmer Flores struck out, flailing at every pitch that came in and generally looking lost at the plate.
The light-hitting – don’t be fooled by his .292 average – James Loney came up next and delivered a solid single to left field to bring home Cabrera and give the Mets a 1-0 lead at the time.
In the fifth, after Rene Rivera and Noah Syndergaard struck out, Curtis Granderson kept the inning alive with a walk, and Cabrera hit a bomb to left to make it 3-2 Mets.
After Kansas City tied it in the top of the sixth, rookie Matt Reynolds came up in the bottom half of the frame with two out and none on.
Reynolds hit what looked at first to be a routine fly ball, but it just kept going and got into the bullpen for his first major-league homer.
“He’s making the most of every opportunity that he’s been given,” Collins said of Reynolds, who played in left field on Wednesday. “You’re talking about a guy, I don’t even know if he’s played left field before. But in spring training I told him to start taking some balls in the outfield. He did. He didn’t give me any looks like, ‘Oh, what am I, a utility man?’ He just went out and took fly balls. He’s done it since he’s been here. I wanted to get him in the lineup today. He’s a baseball player. There’s those guys who play the game the way it’s supposed to be played. There’s those guys you can ask them to do anything and he’ll give you all the effort he has.”
This sweep over Kansas City has definitely calmed a lot of Mets nerves.
They are now 38-32 and, since Washington was swept by the Dodgers in Los Angeles, the Mets are just 3 1/2 games back.
On Thursday night, the Mets head down to Atlanta looking to avenge the three game sweep by the Braves last weekend.
The Mets showed they could get a measure of revenge for last year’s World Series by taking three of four in the season series with Kansas City.
They need to bottle the energy from Wednesday afternoon and use to power the final 92 games.