Pardon the Mets for taking a page out of the 2019 Yankee playbook, but when it works. It works.
And much like the way the Bombers didn’t blink as their lineup went down like flies the beginning of the season, the Mets are now taking the “next man up” mentality.
Robinson Cano tears his hamstring and the Mets bring in Joe Panik, who thinks it’s 2015 all over again.
Jeff McNeil also tweaks his hammy and Amed Rosario becomes Jeff McNeil.
Juan Lagares, who was the forgotten 25th man on this club rediscovers his bat and glove.
J.D. Davis becomes a force after Dominic Smith breaks his foot.
Even Rajai Davis, who came down from Syracuse today got into the action in the Mets 9-2 win over the Cleveland Indians.
Yeah, you read that right. Those Cleveland Indians, who clubbed the said Yankees last week and played the big bad bombers to par.
And now they come into Citi Field and the Mets treat them like the faceless members of the Marlins, Pirates and White Sox, who were scorched by the Amazin’s last month.
They did it by taking the “next man up” mentality.
“It’s a special lineup,” said Michael Conforto, who broke a 2-2 tie with a 2-run homer in the sixth inning. “J.D. has been awesome for us and he was hitting in the sixth hole today. Rosie has batted eighth this year and now with Jeff out, he’s the next best leadoff option and he has been on absolute tear. We have guys stepping up left and right.”
That’s what winning teams need. Say what you want about some of the moves Brodie Van Wagenen made this winter, he did a great job making sure the major league roster had depth. Gone are the days of 4-A players in the lineup every day. Rajai Davis comes up and he contributes and even Ruben Tejada is back.
And that may not be for long as both Jed Lowrie and Brandon Nimmo are starting rehab assignments. You want a boost? Well Lowrie hasn’t played all season and may be back in the next week or two.
It’s what going make or break this club.
The Mets started a nine game homestand against really good clubs. Two more against Cleveland and then another three-game set against Atlanta and finally the Cubs come into town. With the way the Mets play at home, they can conceivably be 6-3, which will make them sit pretty going to Philly and Washington.
There’s a reason why Fangraphs has the Mets at over 40% for the playoffs, better than the Phillies and Brewers. That’s because of all the home games. They are 35-21 at Citi Field this year and just play better here than on the road.
The players know it too.
“We all know they playoffs start today,” J.D. Davis said. “We love playing here. Just being at home. We are young guys who love playing at home.”
You felt it tonight. Heck, there was even a wave going on in the seventh inning.
The next five weeks are going to be fun.