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.

The Mets treat the Nats like gnats this weekend—so far

d'Arnaud and Conforto have dropped big bombs on the Nats this weekend thus far . . .

d’Arnaud and Conforto have dropped big bombs on the Nats this weekend thus far . . .

To most appearances, when the Mets opened a weekend set with the Nationals Friday night , it looked like this could become the weekend in which the Mets were driven far enough down that they might not get back up again. Battered by the disabled list and losers of nine out of ten—including the previous weekend’s sweep by the Nats in New York—the Mets didn’t just look beaten, they looked half buried.

The rites (wrongs?) of spring, continued . . .

McCutchen lost his confidence on the bases when he slumped at the plate last year . . .

McCutchen lost his confidence on the bases when he slumped at the plate last year . . .

* Some think the Mets’ Tim Tebow experiment is a farce, some think it’s just good clean fun. He looked a bit on the foolish side in his first two spring games before collecting his first spring hit¬†and making a diving catch while he was at it. There are worse things that could happen in spring training.

Breaking and unbreaking the Mets’ backs

"As soon as I hit it," Cabrera (13) said after his three-run bomb won it for the Mets, "I knew it was gone." So was the memory of the game-winning three-run bomb robbed from the Mets Wednesday. Maybe . . .

“As soon as I hit it,” Cabrera (13) said after his three-run bomb won it for the Mets, “I knew the ball was going to be gone.” So was the memory of the game-winning three-run bomb robbed from the Mets Wednesday. Maybe . . .

There are times when entire baseball seasons or championships are believed to turn, for better or worse, on single acts at the plate, on the mound, or in the field. Marshal the appropriate evidence and those beliefs can be either upheld or obliterated.

A sweep weekend for the Mets and the Red Sox

It wasn't exactly the Hanley Ramirez Show only for the weekend Red Sox, but don't tell CC Sabathia, who surrendered the three-run homer Ramirez has just hit here . . .

It wasn’t exactly the Hanley Ramirez Show only for the weekend Red Sox, but don’t tell CC Sabathia, who surrendered the three-run homer Ramirez has just hit here . . .

Thirty years ago, the Mets and the Red Sox locked in mortal baseball combat, in a World Series. It ended with the Mets on top of a baseball world that didn’t necessarily love that edition of the team, and the Red Sox having been kicked to the rocks below after having gotten close enough, yet again, to a Promised Land determined never to let them set foot upon it again, or so it seemed.

Thor outpitches Mad Max

Thor drops the hammer on the Nats . . .

Thor drops the hammer on the Nats . . .

How do you follow up a game in which you nailed twenty strikeouts? If you’re Max Scherzer, who punched out twenty Tigers in a start last week, you go to New York, face Noah Syndergaard—the lightning Met who hits 100 on the radar gun with frightening regularity—and come up short despite matching Thor ten punchouts to ten punchouts.

It’s not that you pitched horribly against these Mets. It’s just that you threw two pitches you shouldn’t have. Two pitches that flew out faster than you threw them. And on a night Syndergaard was Thor to the tenth power, and the Mets bullpen didn’t have an arsonist among them, that isn’t enough.

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.

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.”

Johnny Royal, no-hit Cole, other trade winds, and Grienke’s streak stopped

Looks like he's Johnny Royal now . . .

Looks like he’s Johnny Royal now . . .

On the day where the big news should be a staggering group of pitchers (Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz) and a sneaky-great infielder (Craig Biggio) entering the Hall of Fame, the Reds dealing Johnny Cueto to the Royals, right after Cueto knocked down health concerns with eight shutout innings against the Rockies in a park that normally vaporises pitching, threatens to equal it.