Before it can be said that Asdrubal Cabrera was not a happy camper eight days ago when he was asked to command second base, well think again. Because this has been part of a New York Mets season in turmoil, a manager Terry Collins continued to have adversity and was patient.
Cabrera and the go-ahead two-run homer Saturday night at Citi Field made it seven of eight wins for the Mets. And of course, winning will stop the adversity and a player who wasn’t content with a move is no longer talking about a trade. With a month before the non-waiver trade deadline the tide has turned again as to whether the Mets will be sellers or buyers.
All along Cabrera wanted to be content. And isn’t that a part of being in a comfort zone? But the Mets, up until last week were not in their comfort zone and fading further away from any thought of there being a postseason at Citi Field in October.
But Cabrera delivered, and lately so has this Mets team with respectable hitting. The pitching still has many questions that will eventually be answered.
“Deep inside these guys, they’re pros.” said Collins after a 7-6 victory over the last place Philadelphia Phillies. “He (Cabrera) understood the dynamics of everything and I knew when he got out there that he’d settle in and play very, very well. I’ll tell you if we get him hot , we’re going to have a good finish.”
It was a good finish this time for Cabrera and the Mets. Once more, this manager said the right things in his postgame comments. And suddenly the Mets, who were 12- games behind the first place Nationals and 13 back from a wild card, have made up ground.
Now it’s 8.5 games behind the Nationals and from a wild card spot. That certainly stands much better and offers hope before a three-game series down in D.C. with the Nationals that begins Monday. Eventually Collins will have a full squad back in tact and that means closer Jeurys Familia, Noah Syndergaard in the rotation, and Neil Walker back at second.
But for now, Addison Reed continues to close games and doing it well, with a four-out save and 14th in 16 opportunities. And then there is Cabrera, and his comfort zone. No talk about a trade now, and that zone of not being content in San Francisco has become a distant memory.
“It’s always good when you start winning and you’re playing really good baseball,” he said.
“Just come here every day working,” He said that with a smile and wearing the customary crown and robe that a Mets player of the game gets the honor of doing.
His eighth home run and five this season have given the Mets the lead or tied the game. Collins said he has a pro, and when it hit rock bottom in San Francisco the manager played it cool. There was no adversity with a decision to put Cabrera at second base. Collins stopped the questions about a decision that appeared to cause controversy.
It was a matter of time and Asdrubal Cabrera would make the adjustment, and at a time in need for a Mets team that continued to look morbid and submitting a season from hope to failure.
But as the old saying says, baseball is a long season of ups and downs. And the Mets have been that team of more downs with the adversity of injuries to a starting rotation that has been decimated by the injuries. They got Steven Matz back, Seth Lugo. If they can get Noah Syndergaard back and strong and find a revival with Matt Harvey, then all is well and good.
Jacob deGrom seems to get better with each outing. Zach Wheeler, again the manager was cautious with his words after the righthander could not get out of the fourth inning.
And Asdrubal Cabrera on his bobblehead night was in a comfort zone when that ball went over the right center field wall.
This is the player the Mets have come to know in his two years. After his latest stint on the DL, Cabrera is batting .394 with two home runs, three doubles, four RBI and seven runs scored in eight games. A win that Collins said was “A momentum builder.”
“And now ,” Collins said, “We’re starting to get some pieces back and I think guys say, hey, let’s put a couple hits on the board and we’ve got the ability to hit one over the fence.” Lucas Duda and T.J. Rivera also did their share with the home run ball.
But the Mets know how important the second half of their season is with a healthy and content Asdrubal Cabrera in the lineup. No talk of a trade now, just a player who once again showed he’s in that comfort zone.
Comment Rich Mancuso: [email protected] Twitter@Ring786 Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso