Russell: 2015 Feels Long Than Three Years Ago

The Mets beat the Padres 6-4 in a battle of last place teams on Wednesday afternoon. It was the first time the Mets won a series in nearly two months.

“Good homestand. Taking two out of three is nice,” Mickey Callaway said. “I think that’s a stepping stone to where we wanna get. We gotta go out there and win series. That’s what our goal has been all season. It hasn’t happened, obviously, very much lately. Or at all lately until today, and I think that’s a good stepping stone for us.”

It was a lot more interesting when these teams met on a July afternoon at Citi Field three years ago. That was the day after Wilmer Flores cried on the field and it looked like he had been traded along with Zack Wheeler to the Brewers for Carlos Gomez.

On July 30, 2015, the Mets blew a 7-1 lead, with Justin Upton hitting a ninth inning two-out three-run home run in the pouring rain to give the Padres an 8-7 win.
The Mets fell to 52-50 and it felt like that game would signal a Same Old Mets finish to the season. Instead, the team traded for Yoenis Cespedes and went on an incredible run which saw them win the National League pennant.

Even after dropping to 52-50, the Mets were only three games behind Washington. And the Nationals were imploding, culminating with Jonathan Papelbon choking Bryce Harper in the dugout.

There will be no magical run this year. The 42-57 Mets will spend the final two months of this lost season with an eye to the future. Before the game, they announced that Cespedes will miss the rest of the season to undergo surgery.

You look around and wonder if the thrilling final few months of 2015 were more than three years ago.

From that July game in 2015, Michael Conforto and Kevin Plawecki are the only two players of the 15 who played that day still on the current roster, not including the injured Juan Lagares. Curtis Granderson and Tyler Clippard are both Blue Jays. You may have heard that Daniel Murphy is on the Nationals. Lucas Duda is on the Royals. Jeurys Familia is on the A’s and Hansel Robles is with the Angels. Ruben Tejada is in the Orioles organization. Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson are no longer playing. Bobby Parnell and Jon Niese are unsigned free agents.

It’s tough to maintain a winner. The Royals beat the Mets in the 2015 World Series are now the second worst team in the majors. And when the Mets lost the 2016 NL Wild Card Game, the Orioles lost the AL Wild Card Game. Now Baltimore is the worst team in the majors.

More moves are on the way. Asdrubal Cabrera, a key member of the 2016 playoff team, played in what was possibly his last game in Queens with the Mets today. Jose Bautista and Devin Meaoraco might be moved. Perhaps Wheeler, who was thought to be gone three years ago, really will be traded away this time.

Now there are different faces all around the field. Amed Rosario had the go-ahead two-run single on Wednesday. Corey Oswalt picked up his first career win, giving up two runs over five innings. And there are other players down on the farm that the Mets hope to depend on in the foreseeable future including first baseman Pete Alonso.

But until then, there are plenty of Mets fans wondering if that Padres comeback and subsequent run to the World Series in 2015 was three years or three decades ago.

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