St. Elsewhere, New York Mets

Flores, fouling one off his face Saturday.

Flores, fouling one off his face Saturday.

The Astros’ return to Houston was as great a spiritual lift for that Harvey-battered city as their weekend set with the hapless Mets was a spiritual drop for the Mets’ battered fans. Sweeping the Mets sure didn’t hurt the Astros, as healers and as likely postseason entrants, but some would suggest that sweeping what’s left of these Mets was doing it the cruelly easy way.

Wright’s plight and other spring springings

Wright hitting a two-run bomb in Game Three, 2015 World Series; at least he, unlike several whom injuries threw off the Hall of Fame tracks, got to play in a Series at all . . .

Wright hitting a two-run bomb in Game Three, 2015 World Series; at least he, like Tony Oliva but unlike several others whom injuries threw off the Hall of Fame tracks, got to play in a Series at all . . .

Yes, Yogi, you can observe a lot just by watching. Herewith some of my observations over the early weeks of spring training:

The DH in the NL? No. But just suppose . . .

You can all relax. For now. The National League adopting the designated hitter is mere speculation. For now. Even Commissioner Rob Manfred, a man who seems decisive one moment and hesitant the next, particularly on very serious issues, says the “most likely result on the designated hitter for the foreseeable future is the status quo.” For now.

WS Game Three: Thor’s hammer from Brushback Mountain

Escobar, knocked out of his lounger to open Game Three . . .

Escobar, knocked out of his lounger to open Game Three . . .

Thor swung his hammer right out of the chute. And the New York Mets hammered and tonged the Kansas City Royals to make the World Series an honest-to-God Series again Friday night.

Noah Syndergaard said before Game Three that he had a trick up his sleeve in store for the Royals. What he really had was an opening argument to deliver. Not in the second inning. Not in the third. Not in the fourth or the fifth. Right out of the chute, top of the first, first pitch. Essentially, the message read thus:

WS Game Two: When a gut runs empty

Collins (in jacket, amidst Wilmer Flores, David Wright, and Travis d'Arnaud) stayed with deGrom's gut just a little too long in Game Two . . .

Collins (in jacket, amidst Wilmer Flores, David Wright, and Travis d’Arnaud) stayed with deGrom’s gut just a little too long in Game Two . . .

Standing by your man and trusting his gut is one of the most admirable qualities a baseball manager can have. Until or unless even his gut runs out of sustenance. When Jacob deGrom’s gut ran out of sustenance in the fifth inning Wednesday night, Terry Collins was caught flatfoot.

WS Game One: Crazyball

What Escobar began on the first pitch with a little help from two miscommunicating Mets . . .

What Escobar began on the first pitch with a little help from two miscommunicating Mets . . .

Open a World Series with an inside-the-park home run thanks to an unexpected brain vapour by the opposing battery and a pair of outfielders. Finish the game after fourteen innings and with a sacrifice fly.

These Kansas City Royals may have done crazier things than that in their two-season-and-maybe-counting return to American League supremacy. But they’re not about to bet on it.

The Cubs, ahead to the past?

The most powerful strikeout of all time?

The most powerful strikeout of all time?

Not to take anything away from Jacob deGrom, Daniel Murphy, and all the New York Mets who did the little things right Tuesday night. (And, in Murphy’s case, one not-so-little thing even more right.) But the way the Chicago Cubs finished the evening on the brink of elimination was just too Cubs for comfort.

Maybe Cub Country, that long-battered, long-picked-on nation of Jobs, can find some small comfort in knowing that it didn’t happen with the Cubs five outs from the World Series. And maybe Mrs. O’Leary’s cow was carrying a flashlight, too.

Pain, not champagne for the Nots—er, Nats . . .

Harper's Saturday game winner was too late for these Nats, alas . . .

Harper’s Saturday game winner was too late for these Nats, alas . . .

This was the kind of situation the Nats always want, Stephen Strasburg striking out thirteen Phillies, and Bryce Harper smashing a game-winning double in the bottom of the twelfth Saturday afternoon. And it didn’t mean a thing anymore when it ended in a 2-1 Nats win.

Because almost an hour before Harper tagged Phillies reliever Colton Murray with one out, Mets closer Jeurys Familia finished the Mets’ destruction of the Reds in Cincinnati to clinch the none-too-potent National League East.┬áThe division just about all the experts picked the Nats to run away with, all the way to a World Series crown, even.

The Mash finish the Philadelphia phlog

Torres (72) just beats Francoeur to the pad after Murphy (28) caught the ricochet off Torres's foot and shoveled it to the hustling pitcher.

Torres (72) just beats Francoeur to the pad after Murphy (28) caught the ricochet off Torres’s foot and shoveled it to the hustling pitcher.

It got this bad for the Phillies this week when the New York Mash (er, Mets) came to town and blew them away in a four-game sweep: interim manager Pete Mackinin came to the postgame press conference after Thursday night’s thrashing armed with numbers. And, with the baleful conclusion, “We’re giving up way too many runs.”

Four days, forty-nine runs—these are the good old days for the New York Mash (er, Mets)

First Show swing in 133 days, and that ball's ticketed for the second deck . . .

First Show swing in 133 days, and that ball’s ticketed for the second deck . . .

If Jacob deGrom ever had a speck of doubt that his teammates could and would have his back, that speck was obliterated Monday night. It’s not every pitcher—at his level or otherwise—who can have a rare putrid start, leave his team in the hole by five, and then watch with his own jaw joining every other one hitting the floor in Citizens Bank Park as his Mets did to the Phillies what, not so long ago, the Phillies did to their opposition with long-since-gone aplomb.