“This is a huge leap for Matzy,” Callaway said. “I could see it in his face. I didn’t notice one time where he got rattled or wanted to spike a baseball. He stayed under control and understood, ‘I just need to execute pitches.’”
The poise was welcome in what became a hectic period, even by the Mets’ standards. Upon the team’s return to Queens on Monday, Van Wagenen maintained that Callaway had the full support of the front office and the team’s ownership for “the foreseeable future.” Van Wagenen also announced the surprising injury to Cespedes, who had been away from the team to rehabilitate both heels after an off-season operation.
Cano’s absence will be shorter, but his injury was no less exasperating. He had been taken out of the starting lineup for a game after failing to run out two grounders in Miami, and then he strained his left quadriceps while running out a ground ball on Wednesday. He landed on the 10-day injured list Thursday morning.
“Hopefully it is not too long,” Cano said at his locker.
Callaway expressed gratitude that Van Wagenen and his front office had addressed the team’s depth during the off-season. The night before Gomez’s game-winner, the veteran outfielder Rajai Davis delivered a three-run homer in a 6-1 victory just hours after being called up to the majors to join the Mets.
“You’re not capable of doing what we’ve done this series without great depth,” Callaway said.
The Mets’ injury list is almost as long as the daily lineup now. Right fielder Michael Conforto (concussion) continues to make his way through the evaluation protocol. Outfielder Brandon Nimmo (stiff neck) tried to play earlier in the week but felt too much pain. McNeil, who is third in the National League with a batting average of .333, sat out two games because of a hamstring injury before landing on the I.L. Thursday. The reserves have kept the Mets alive of late.
“These guys have not quit one time,” Callaway said. “That was an unbelievable comeback.”
The brightest spot in the organization continues to be rookie first baseman Pete Alonso. On Monday night, he ripped his 15th home run of the season. On Tuesday, he followed with No. 16. While he did not clear the fence with his fly ball to left-center in the bottom of the sixth Thursday, it was driven far enough to bring home J.D. Davis on a sacrifice for a 2-1 lead. Ramos followed that with an infield single that drove in third baseman Todd Frazier for a 3-1 lead.