Racking up eight runs in the first inning against the Marlins Friday night was a great remedy for the malaise that affected the Mets during their pitiful 1-5 road trip through Milwaukee and San Diego this past week. Some will say it was the result of Mickey Callaway urging his club to get back on track, or the result of a collective effort by Mets bats to resume their track of scoring an average of six runs per game for a stretch earlier in the season. But really they were just benefiting from an ineffective Marlins starter, Pablo Lopez, issued by a Miami club destined for another dismal season.
Lopez must have felt like Steven Matz from this past April 16, when the Long Island Lefty yielded eight runs in the first frame without recording an out.
Still, the hits kept coming as the club put up a picket fence of additional runs through the fourth and were holding court, 11-2, with 13 hits and three home runs halfway through the game.
The hits didn’t stop there (15 in all), but the scoring did, and with the 11-2 win, the Mets now are climbing back to the .500 level with a mark of 18-20.
After the game, Callaway confirmed he had a meeting with team COO Jeff Wilpon earlier in the day about the state of team affairs.
In other words, why is the team losing more than it’s winning.
“We meet all the time,” admitted Callaway. “It was a standard meeting after a road trip, how can we get batter, get going in the right direction. What do we have to do to put us in a better position.”
It was not a win or else meeting.
“None of us are satisfied at this point,” Callaway continued. “(But) the focus was different on content. We understand things have to be better.”
Robinson Cano added to his many accomplishments by scoring his 1200th run in the first, only the fourth active player to have accumulated that total. He joins Albert Pujols (1,787), Miguel Cabrera (1,399), and Ian Kinsler (1,227) in that current club, with these stats referenced through Thursday’s games.
Add that to Cano’s notable mark of earning his 2,500th hit during the road trip and he’s had quite a memorable week.
Cano is now the 101st player to accrue 2,500 hits. When he rakes in No. 2514, he cracks the Top 100, bumping an ancient Chicago Cub, Jimmy Ryan, who last played in the majors in 1903. With hit No. 2,514, Cano moves a more recognizable name, Buddy Bell, back a slot.
Over the course of the season, Cano stands to jump other great hitters, and even some Hall of Famers , with Joe Morgan next in line,(2,517), then Todd Helton (2,519), and Heinie Manush (2,524).
Gee, isn’t it fun saying the name Heinie Manush!
Mr. Manush – a Hall of Famer elected by the Veteran’s Committee in 1964 – played for six clubs in the 1920s and ‘30s.
Cano now sits at 179th in runs scored. When he reaches 1,300, he will tie for 127th, with Tony Phillips. And should he touch home plate at his 15-year career average of 166 times, he will close in on old friend Ivan Rodriguez for 110th place, 1,354 runs scored.
With eight runs in the first inning, the Mets hadn’t done that since an eight-run opening frame outburst at Philadelphia on June 16, 1989. The last time they scored eight in the first at home was way back on July 12, 1979, against the Dodgers.
And for those keeping score at home, they actually scored nine runs in the first in a game at San Francisco in 1988.
“You don’t see that type of inning very often,” noted Callaway on his team’s welcomed output. “Very rare, everybody took a deep breath after that. What I was most proud of was that we kept adding on after that. It wasn’t flukey. It was a good feeling tonight, but we gotta come back tomorrow or it’s going to be meaningless. We have to go out every game and play like we did tonight.”
The biggest inning the club ever enjoyed was 12 runs in the third here at Citi Field against the Giants on April 29, 2016. Yoenis Cespedes set a team record with six RBIs in that one inning by first picking up two with a single and later adding a Grand Slam off Mike Broadway before it was all over. Michael Conforto also had two hits and two runs batted in that inning and Asdrubal Cabrera added a two-run double.
Jeff McNeil was again one of the chief sparks that lights the fuse on this 2019 club. He led off the game with a crowd-rousing bunt single secured by a wide slide of the bag that avoided the tag.
“It was a heads-up play,” Callaway commented. “That’s how you get the team going. It set the tone.”
It also happens that tonight’s game was McNeil’s 100th major league game, and would you believe in Mets history through their first 100 games, McNeil is now first in average (.342), on-base percentage (.406), hits (123), hit by pitches (13 – hear that, Ron Hunt?), three-hit games (12), and is tied for first with 37 multiple-hit games.
Since 2010, only three players have had more multiple-hit games in their first 100 games – Francsico Lindor (40), Danny Santana (38), and Manny Machado (38).
McNeil has reached base in 32 of his 34 starts this year, and 78 of his 87 career starts.
Life is good in Mets Land, at this night, and if it takes meetings with the COO to get things rolling, this could start a trend.
“I called Jeff, and we’re having another one tomorrow,” Callaway said smiling.