The Mets had a nice run, so nice, in fact, that we've taken it easy on them of late. We had no other choice, because what was happening was magical. But just as soon as the Amazin's thrust themselves into the playoff race, they've fallen back out of it at a similar speed. Six straight losses have now put them five games back of the second wild card spot. It's not over, but it's pretty much over.
Thursday night's loss was the one that hurt the most, as Mets ace Jacob deGrom took the mound and was expected to stop the bleeding (as he always is). He did his best, going seven innings and striking out seven Cubs batters, but he was killed by a pair of long balls from one of the more unlikely candidates: Victor Caratini. The backup catcher started at first base on Thursday night at Citi Field, and smacked his eighth and ninth homers of the year off one of the best pitchers in baseball. The first, a solo shot, tied the game in the second inning, and the second, a three-run blast, effectively ended the game in the seventh.
But this game was lost prior to the first pitch, when Mets rookie sensation Pete Alonso went over to deGrom to give him a big ol' high five and some words of encouragement. What happened after that produced one of the most awkward, cringeworthy clips you'll ever watch:
What in the hell did I just watch? No, Sean L, this was not a joke, this was the realest, cringe-iest thing to ever take place in a dugout. Let's break it down. First, Alonso goes in for the high, literally HIGH, high five. Nothing wrong with that:
deGrom spots his teammate's raised hand coming in his general direction, stares at it and completely dismisses it, immediately looking to the ground and pretending Alonso wasn't standing three inches in front of him:
Now it's reallllll uncomfortable. deGrom must have felt bad, because he gave him a little head nod, acknowledging Alonso was there, then he relented and went in for a much lower five, in both height and energy level:
But, much like batters do when they face the Mets ace, it was a swing and a miss!
An understandably dejected Alonso could only walk away and wonder what the hell just happened:
Read into this however you want (says the guy that just dissected it like the Zapruder film), but I think we can all agree this is no way to set the tone for a game. Obviously, Alonso should know you can't be slapping your prized pitcher's throwing arm right before he's about to take the bump, especially when he's trying to lock in mentally, but man, Jake could have just given him the left hand and thrown him a bone. Only the Mets could make something as simple as a pre-game high five look like a season-altering moment.