Coming home off of one of the most miserable road trips in the history of travel, the Mets offense didn't figure to get back on track Tuesday night. There weren't any changes to the personnel since Sunday and Howard Johnson, who some blame for all the ills of the world, was still the hitting coach.
On top of it all, they were facing Adam Wainwright. The scourge of the 2006 NLCS brought a 25-inning scoreless streak into the game with him and things looked bleak for the home team.
And then came a curveball just as nasty as the one Wainwright threw to strike out Carlos Beltran in that Game Seven of Met nightmares. The Mets offense exploded. They scored six runs off Wainwright, the most he's given up all season, and Jeff Francoeur, of all people, hit a three-run home run to jolt a nervous stadium to life in the fourth inning. Beltran even got a pair of hits against Wainwright, something that won't erase the strikeout but was awfully nice to see nonetheless.
Francoeur's home run would seem to help the cause to trade him before Saturday's deadline, but such a deal may no longer be possible. He was playing because Jason Bay started feeling symptoms of a concussion he suffered last Friday. If he needs to go on the DL, Francoeur will probably stay even though they'd get just as much offense from whatever Triple-A option would be next in line.
The only person who might not have been overjoyed by the offensive barrage was Manuel. The manager was suspended for bumping hats with an umpire in Los Angeles last Friday and saw his team respond to his absence with their best performance in a very long time. Bench coach Dave Jauss didn't do anything particularly notable on the bench during the game, but if Manuel's absence leads to performances like this you've got to at least think about asking them to extend the suspension until the Mets lose.
That seems unlikely but no reason it needs to be all that formal anyway. Just have Manuel hang out in the clubhouse and leave things exactly the way they were on Tuesday night.