Mets Avoid Sweep, Put Winning Stamp on Season's First Quarter

If the season ended today, the Mets would be in the playoffs

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Getty Images
    When the Mets win, Francisco's work is called making it interesting.

    Sunday's 6-5 win over the Blue Jays works pretty well as a one-game primer on the first quarter of the Mets season.

    The win allowed the Mets to avoid a sweep. They were blown out on Friday, shut out on Saturday and then rallied on Sunday with the kind of resiliency that they've displayed all season.

    There were great performances by unexpected players. Mike Baxter was a homer short of the cycle, Ronny Cedeno and Rob Johnson went 4-for-9 and shaving off his atrocious facial hair seemed to earn Dillon Gee some good faith from the cosmos.

    Expected players did their bit as well. David Wright had two hits and drove in two runs to continue one of the hottest streaks of his career for a team that really needed nothing less than that.

    There were disappointing performances from players expected to do a lot of heavy lifting this season. Ike Davis was 1-for-4, the kind of game that could earn him a trip to the minors to figure out what happened to his ability to play baseball, and Bobby Parnell did his best to blow a 6-3 lead even while his fastball was hitting 101 on its way to the plate.

    And then there was Frank Francisco, who could make watching paint dry turn into a heart-pounding experience. He allowed two hits to start the bottom of the ninth and then fell behind each of the next three hitters before striking them out to nail down a 10th save that felt as perilous as getting stuck down a well.

    Depending on when you tuned into the game, you either thought the Mets were making life incredibly difficult on themselves while playing well or that they were escaping by the skin of their teeth while playing poorly. That's been the story of the entire season, which now stands with a 22-19 record that would get the team into the playoffs if the season weren't 121 games longer.

    Walking those kinds of tightropes all the time and producing peripherals that don't scream winning team makes you wonder if the same will be true after 40 more games, but there's something about this Mets team that screams at you to not doubt them. That's not the same as a voice telling you to believe and put your life savings on the team making the playoffs, but the expectations are a lot higher than they were at the start of April. 

    A painful end is no one's first choice, but the fact that this year could provide one makes the first quarter of this season a bigger success than most people would have ever imagined. 

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.