MIAMI — Life is not going to be perfect for the Mets. But it sure is fun.
Here is what the Mets have shown 10 games into the season: They have bounce-back. This is something that will carry them through the most difficult times.
They showed that ability over and over Tuesday night in a grinding 8-6 win over the Marlins at Marlins Park with the big hit coming from the struggling Yoenis Cespedes, a two-run double in the ninth to snap a 6-6 tie.
The win was their seventh straight and put them at 9-1 for the season, their best start ever through 10 games.
Bounce-back is something that cannot be measured by analytics. It’s a combination of makeup and talent and the willingness not to be denied, the ability to fight back when things don’t go your way.
It’s a must-have ingredient for any winning team. It takes a strong lineup.
“We fight every inning, we never put our head down,’’ said Asdrubal Cabrera, who smashed two home runs, one from each side of the plate in the victory. “We have a really good offense. I trust my guys that we can do it. We work together.’’
The Mets are showing the kind of offense the Yankees were supposed to show.
The Mets certainly were not at their best Tuesday night, but none of that matters. On a night when just 6,516 fans came to Marlins Park, and most of them were Mets fans, the Mets showed strength of purpose.
On 23 occasions when the opponent has scored this season, 12 times the Mets have come right back and scored in their next at-bat.
When the breaks went against them they bounced back. When Mickey Callaway stumbled in his decision-making in the seventh inning, allowing young Jacob Rhame to pitch to Justin Bour, who had already homered in the Marlins four-run fourth with the go-ahead run on third and two outs, Bour homered again to put the Marlins up 6-4, the Mets immediately bounced back.
Perhaps Callaway should have brought in lefty Jerry Blevins to face Bour. It didn’t happen.
Callaway is not perfect. But he said his decision was partially based on the confidence he has in the Mets offense.
“We discussed it,’’ Callaway said of the intentional walk. “I thought that where we were at in our lineup and having a couple of innings to play still, if it had been the eighth inning and we only had one more at-bat we probably would have done it.
“Our lineup is scoring when the other team scores so maybe it’s good that they scored,’’ Callaway said with a smile, his optimism shining through.
In the top of the eighth Wilmer Flores and Cabrera hit solo home runs off Kyle Barraclough to tie the game 6-6, setting the stage for Cespedes’ heroics.
“For them to do what they’ve done, 12 times that we’ve come back and scored in the 23 times that the other team has scored, I think that’s pretty amazing,’’ Callaway said.
The Mets hitters had his back.
“I think it’s just a relaxed confidence and guys are going out there and just playing the game, they are not pressing,’’ Callaway said. “When you can do that, that is when you play your best.’’
That is a compliment to Callaway and his staff, including hitting coaches Pat Roessler and Tom Slater.
This was a terrible time at the plate for Cespedes who struck out three times and popped up before his massive hit. He was 2-for-23 on the trip before that double. Cespedes has not been feeling well but does not want to skip any games at this point.
“Him not taking a day really won us the game today,’’ Callaway said.
The Mets have shown a strong sense of will these first 10 games of the Callaway season.
After the Mets tied the game at 6-6 the Marlins had a runner at third with two outs in the eighth and this time Callaway intentionally walked Derek Dietrich. His move paid off when Hansel Robles struck out Miguel Rojas to keep the game tied.
Then it was bounce-back time again.