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If not for D.J. Carrasco, there wouldn't be much to say about Tuesday night's Mets loss.
Dillon Gee had absolutely nothing, giving up two home runs to Travis Ishikawa and leaving the game after allowing seven runs to the Brewers. Zach Greinke did have something working for the Brewers and he used it to strike out seven batters in seven innings without giving up a run.
Things could have continued like that and the Brewers would have won 7-0 in front of a sparse crowd that would probably forget the outcome before they got to the 7 train. But there was an eighth Milwaukee run and that instantly made the game memorable.
Carrasco gave up a home run to Rickie Weeks and then hit Ryan Braun with the first pitch of the next at-bat. Carrasco was ejected and, in between innings, Terry Collins decided to pull David Wright and Daniel Murphy from the game.
That touched off a pretty spirited back-and-forth between Collins and Wright in the Mets dugout, one that was caught on video and clearly had to do with Wright's displeasure in being pulled from the game.
It was destined to become a story on this otherwise bleak evening and Collins didn't do much to defuse things when he said after the game that he pulled Wright to keep him from getting hit in retaliation for Carrasco hitting Braun.
"I got news for you, in this game there are unwritten rules," Collins said. "And one of the unwritten rules is if you hit my guy, I'm hitting your guy. They're not hitting my guy tonight. I’m not exposing him to getting hit."
Wright said that he wanted to hit and, if need be, get hit for the team, but that there was no lingering problem with Collins. That's good, because Wright probably knows deep down that his manager did the right thing.
Carrasco's selfish, petulant little act exposed his teammates to injury for no good reason. The pitcher said it wasn't intentional after the game while looking totally full of it in front of his locker, eyes gazing in the distance as he said words he clearly didn't believe.
Rather than just play the stupid game -- Hear No Evil, See No Evil -- that baseball managers play in these moments, Collins put safety ahead of macho posturing and he was honest enough to say it to the media after the game. Good for him.
And good for Wright for being upset about it because the leader of a team should want to take a pitch in the ribs if the night calls for that sort of thing. Leadership wasn't always something that came easily to Wright, but his rage on Tuesday night made it clear that he picked up some skills along the way when it comes to not letting someone else do your dirty work.
The loss was an ugly one, but the night felt a lot less ugly when it was over because of Collins and Wright. They both cared enough about a blowout loss that they got into an argument in the dugout about it, an unusual thing after years where no one around the Mets cared nearly enough.
When you see a team cares, it's easier to invest yourself in watching them play and rooting them on. That makes Tuesday night a positive step for the Mets, even if the standings say otherwise.