Mets Discover the Edge of Seventeen

Mets finally wake up and thrash Cubs 17-1

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Davis and Murphy ride again.

    There's always been something about Wrigley Field.

    It's more than the extra day games, the beer-soaked bleachers, the old school scoreboard and even the ivy on the walls that makes the place special. It is the way that games there have a way of frequently taking on shapes that you rarely see in baseball's other ballparks.

    Days when a cold wind is blowing in and wreaking havoc on players and fans alike are tempered with days when gusts take balls out onto the street to result in 12-10 scores that can sometimes seem almost Little Leagueish in the way that absolutely anything can and will happen. That brings us to Wednesday afternoon and the sudden arrival of the Mets offense.

    One of the beautiful things about baseball is that a team can do absolutely nothing right two straight days and then play an almost flawless game the next day. The Mets plucked that string on Wednesday by unloading all the bad feelings of Monday and Tuesday on the Cubs in a 17-1 victory.

    The game felt significant because getting swept by a team as bad as the Cubs would have set off some serious panic alarms, but it also immediately felt like an outlier because even really good offensive teams don't put up 17 runs on anything close to a regular basis. An enjoyable outlier, to be sure, but hardly the kind of game on which one hangs their hat after 18 innings of dreadful baseball sent the exact opposite message about your team.

    If you're inclined to look for something to take with you from this game, though, you should probably focus your attention on Daniel Murphy and Ike Davis. They both played big roles in the victory and the Mets' chances of being closer to Wednesday's team than the one from the first two days are greatly improved if the two of them do some hitting.

    Murphy entered the game with no home runs and a mustache that made it look like he really was reaching back to a simpler era in baseball when it was actually remotely acceptable to not hit any home runs while playing every day. Murphy left Wrigley with two home runs on the season, which is either a testament to the restorative powers of the jet stream on the north side of Chicago or a sign that Murphy's bat is coming to life.

    Davis went 3-for-5 and hit a three-run homer, but the biggest takeaway from Wednesday's massacre is that Davis' batting average has moved north of .200 for the first time since the final day of the 2011 season. Davis has jacked his average 43 points in the last 20 days, hitting .353 over that period and looking something like the player that was good enough to turn into the crashing disappointment he's been in 2012.

    Davis and Murphy have to be key contributors on offense for the Mets to have any chance at contention this season, because they aren't going to be able to pin all of their offensive hopes on Scott Hairston.

    Hairston has been a hero for the Mets this season and he hit another grand slam on Wednesday, but he's trended downward into the kind of player he's been his whole career for the last month.

    Hairston is a piece to fit in around the core. The Mets thought Davis and Murphy were part of their core, but the first three months have called that belief into question.

    Wednesday was a reminder of why the team thought that way, but it won't amount to much if it turns out to be the Wrigley Field effect that was responsible for everything.

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    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.