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The Mets fast start can be attributed to several early season heroes

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Jon Heyman

Jon Heyman

MLB

LOS ANGELES – Day after day, the surging Mets continue to give the feeling that they are still a long way from the travesty of 2023.

And suddenly, this so-called transition year has the potential to be huge.

Each game has a new hero, a better storyline and more excitement. The magical Mets extended their surprising winning streak to six games after defeating the Shohei Ohtani and Mookie Betts Dodgers 6-4 on Saturday afternoon.

Starling Marte (6) celebrates with teammates after hitting a three-run homer in the sixth inning of the Mets’ 6-4 victory over the Dodgers. Jonathan Hui-USA TODAY Sports

Mets manager Carlos Mendoza also continues to make the right moves. Mendoza brought in star closer Edwin Diaz to navigate the heart of the Dodgers order and stifle an eighth-inning rally, then out of nowhere used bullpen star Reed Garrett to close things out and seal the final victory save by striking out in the ninth. .

“I thought the game was there,” Mendoza said when explaining why Diaz threw the eighth.

A “Let’s go Mets!” The chant broke out late here and the excitement of the players then reverberated through the bowels of beautiful Dodger Stadium. There were chants and cheers from a Mets clubhouse-turned-LA club.

A rejuvenated, healthier Starling Marte was the star of the day, with his game-winning three-run homer. But 31-year-old, previously unknown journeyman Garrett, later set them up.

“We were all excited. We celebrated Reed’s first save,” Mets star Brandon Nimmo said of the clubhouse cacophony. “We are certainly proud of him.”

The Mets have a lot to be proud of after moving to 12-8, plus every team they’ve played so far — yes, 20-for-20 — carries a winning record into Saturday’s games. So they’re not exactly beating up patsies.

Of course, no one would accuse the vaunted Dodgers of being a cupcake, but the Mets are catching a break by playing them at the right time. Not only do they have a rotation of pitchers ranging from an all-time great (Clayton Kershaw) to a young standout (Bobby Miller) on the injured list, they are also in the midst of a downward spiral that started about a week before the Mets. arrived here.

Harrison Bader (left), Brandon Nimmo (center) and Starling Marte celebrate
after the Mets’ win. Getty Images

The Dodgers’ lineup, long admitted to be the best in baseball, shows significant weakness. Chris Taylor (an astonishing 1-for-35) and Gavin Lux seem almost automatic outs, and even the great Freddie Freeman hasn’t exactly been great in recent days.

The tandem to Cooperstown atop the Dodgers lineup of Betts and Ohtani can’t do it all alone, as it turns out. They reached base eight times (four times each) but need a little more help.

Speaking of help, the Mets are getting significant help from just about everywhere as backup catcher Tomas Nido arrived from the minors – just after the start of the game, around 1:30 PM Pacific Time, as it turned out. Nido, who is now here to support Omar Narvaez while Francisco Alvarez was out for six to eight weeks after injuring his thumb on Friday, arrived late after a 6-hour flight from Charlotte, a layover in Atlanta, a two-hour delay and an hour and a half delay. LA traffic (that’s good for here).

Marte was the man of the hour, and he is clearly closer to full strength and back to his esteemed game. It was his three-run homerun off Dodgers reliever Ryan Brasier that broke a 2-all tie in the sixth inning.

“We all know what he’s capable of,” Nimmo said of Marte. “He is a game changer.”

Marte’s improvement has been great, but he is far from alone in a team that appears transformed.

Harrison Bader, who came on defense, is hitting .306.

Reed Garrett, who picked up his first career save in the Mets’ win, was a surprising early star for the Amazin’s. Getty Images

Another former Yankee, Luis Severino, who last year called himself the “worst pitcher in baseball,” is now among the better ones.

Saturday’s starter, Jose Butto, who was not fully part of the team in the spring, threw 4 ¹/₃ innings and continues to contribute.

But no one can match Garrett as a surprise star. He leads all major league relievers in strikeouts after the start of the season in Syracuse, and was understandably emotional after earning his first career save on three straight whiffs at age 31.

Garrett said he was virtually speechless. Then he said exactly the right thing.

“I have no words for it,” Garrett said. “It’s unbelievable.”

The Mets benefit from these surprises, as well as a few breaks here and there. Betts deserves our credit for trying to play shortstop, but he made a mistake for the second day in a row and it really looks like a work in progress.

And Dodgers second-year player James Outman killed a potential rally in the seventh inning when he was called out for interference on a rolling body block at second base following a force out on a grounder by rookie Andy Pages.

The Dodgers crowd, falsely accused of being relaxed, booed wildly. The crowd has also booed the home team a few times, because it has not yet lived up to the bill.

The Dodgers certainly don’t look like a team that Las Vegas predicted would win 103/104 games. But for now, the Mets look even less like the team they should be.


filed under

Carlos Mendoza
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Edwin Diaz
,

Harrison Bader
,

los angeles evaders
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mookie betting
,

New York meets
,

omar narvaez
,

Shohei Ohtani
,

sports columnists
,

starling marte
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Tomas Nido
,
21/4/24



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