Major League Baseball
Mets prove they're 'not out of it' in rally vs. Giants, but the clock is ticking
Major League Baseball

Mets prove they're 'not out of it' in rally vs. Giants, but the clock is ticking

Updated May. 26, 2024 10:41 p.m. ET

NEW YORK — The Mets give out championship belts to their players of the game. There's one gaudy and gold belt for the best pitcher of the day, and another mimicking the same WWE belt design for the top hitter of the game. Those belts were collecting dust for a week as the Mets lost five in a row, including getting swept in Cleveland. The belts are reserved for games the team actually wins. 

For a while now, the Mets have just been finding ways to lose. But on Sunday, thanks to the two players who received their belts, they finally found a way to win.

"We needed that," Mets manager Carlos Mendoza said afterward, while relaxing his shoulders down and letting out an audible sigh of relief after his club came two outs away from being swept at home.

The Mets bested the Giants, 4-3, by scoring three times in their last at-bat to secure their fifth walk-off win of the season, which is tied with the Orioles and Marlins for the most such wins in the major leagues. 


They did it with the help of right-hander Adrian Houser (the recipient of belt No. 1), who pitched four innings of one-run ball from the bullpen and kept the game close enough for the Mets to mount their comeback. The game-winning hit came off the bat of another unlikely hero in catcher Omar Narváez (the recipient of belt No. 2), whose RBI single to center field had an exit velocity of just 76.4 mph but still found grass, allowing Jeff McNeil to run home safely. Narváez entered Sunday batting .150, and that ninth-inning single off Tyler Rogers was his first hit at Citi Field this season.

"That felt amazing," Narváez said afterward.

The Mets (22-30) still have a lot of winning to do before they're back in the conversation as contenders. But they treated Sunday's sell-out crowd (41,016) to what they hope is a building block for their 2024 success. Their next series represents another prime opportunity to keep building. 

The Dodgers (33-22) will come into town on Memorial Day on their own five-game losing streak, their longest such stretch since 2019. The Mets won three out of four against Los Angeles last month at Chavez Ravine. New York has some confidence built in that it can once again prove the naysayers wrong and get it done.

So, the Mets will try again, as they do after every win, to bottle up that feeling of triumph and victory and make it last long enough for the club to at least reach .500 before the front office is forced to make tough decisions. Due to their gut-wrenching results over the past six weeks, it will take a lot more than just Sunday's win to change the outlook.

Since April 21, the Mets' 9-22 record was the worst in baseball. It even prompted owner Steve Cohen to label the stretch "mind-boggling." The glaring and most concerning problem throughout was, and continues to be, Edwin Diaz's role as closer. He has blown three saves in a row and four of his last five opportunities, the latest coming Saturday. 

But there are more fingers to point in the Mets clubhouse, particularly after the offense went 0-for-13 with runners in scoring position against the Giants on Saturday at Citi Field. The defense has cost them games; the club's -32 DRS is ranked last in the majors. The lineup's inconsistency and underperformance — the Mets rank 18th in MLB with a .686 OPS — will need more days like Sunday's win against the Giants to temper the rising concerns that could lead to a selloff.

The Mets have several players on the roster who were purposely signed to one-year deals or are playing in their final year of team control. Luis Severino, Harrison Bader, J.D. Martinez, Sean Manaea, Jose Quintana, Adam Ottavino and even Pete Alonso are all at risk of being traded before the July 30 deadline if the club cannot piece together a strong stretch soon.

President of baseball operations David Stearns is approaching the time of the year when he goes from assessing the season to acting on it. In reality, the Mets have just a few weeks to convince him they can win with their current roster. 

They will need more moments like Sunday, getting contributions from unlikely heroes to piece come-from-behind victories together. But, more than that, they will need their top hitters to start acting like it. Francisco Lindor (.210/.279/.367) is beginning to get hot at the plate. Alonso (.768 OPS, 12 home runs) has crushed two home runs in his past four games. McNeil, too, in recent days has shown flashes of the talent that earned him the 2022 batting title. The lineup is missing their slugging catcher Francisco Álvarez, who came through in clutch situations before he tore the ligament in his thumb.

"Losing sucks in general," Alonso said. "I'm not saying losing is OK, but I would much rather be in it, play good baseball, than get boatraced where it's a blowout. That's totally different, this is better and more sustainable. We've played a lot of close ballgames, it's just a matter of finishing. And I think we did a great job of that today."

One fan in the stands Sunday boldly held up a sign that read: "WE STILL BELIEVE." That belief doesn't go unnoticed for this Mets club. Mendoza gave a shout-out to the crowd for continuing to supply high energy during Sunday's ninth-inning comeback. That belief also mirrors the feeling in the Mets clubhouse as they try to get out of this month-long rut. For now, they can start by capitalizing on big innings, like they did with the bases loaded in the series finale against the Giants. 

"We're just not out of it," Bader said. "Yeah, it sucks at times and this game will eat you up, but there's an opportunity every inning and there's a job to do. No one but yourself is going to save you in those situations. Seeing my teammates step up, seeing us all stick together, have each other's backs, come through in those moments, it makes me proud to be a part of this clubhouse regardless of what it might look like in the win column right now. 

"It's a long season, over four months left, and I know with the proper mindset and work ethic, we'll be just fine."

They still believe they have the talent to turn their season around before the clock runs out, even if the results haven't been there. Belief helps, but more than that, the Mets just need to keep winning. 

Deesha Thosar is an MLB writer for FOX Sports. She previously covered the Mets as a beat reporter for the New York Daily News. The daughter of Indian immigrants, Deesha grew up on Long Island and now lives in Queens. Follow her on Twitter at @DeeshaThosar.


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