NEW YORK — Sent by Mets manager Buck Showalter to attack him, Louis Guillermo has failed. His first attempt fouled. His second nearly hit his pestle, causing Guillorme to throw his bat in frustration. Guillorme is a good target. He’s always been a good monk in this season of mounting frustration, his inability to do so with a win at second base.
But, as Gillorm later laughed, what happened next was “a little better.” Rather than attempt a two-out hit, Guillorme ran Nick Robertson’s pitch and lowered it to bottom right line, grounding off Freddie Freeman for a walk-off run, and an RBI double in the tenth inning of a 2-1 win over the Dodgers.
“That’s why Buck is our manager,” said Mets closer David Robertson, grinning. “It was the perfect call. She trained like he wanted her to.”
Of course, why not? In what continues to look more and more like a lost season for the Mets, the team will take on every positive whim it can find. All long Sunday afternoon at Citi Field, the Mets looked lifeless, waiting through a four-hour rain delay just to field the same old brand of baseball. Max Scherzer pitched an inning and then some, holding the Dodgers to one hit over seven innings. But Showalter’s decision to use Trevor Gott in place of Robertson in the eighth inning led to the home run crossing.
At that point, the intensity of the night intensified. Badly, hard, the Mets needed a win. Losing four in a row, the team was in danger of falling into a double-digit deficit in the National League Wild Card race, its only realistic vehicle back to playoff contention. The idea of a big hit was tempting, but from whom? Brandon Nimmo had home runs as both Mets homered their first 27 innings of the series. The middle-order batsmen Francisco Lindor, Jeff McNeil and Pete Alonso combined were 1 for 32.
Enter Guillorme—a rarely used offensive player who spent most of the early summer at Triple-A. After Robertson cut his automatic runner on third base in the top of the tenth, escaping “with the skin of my teeth”, Showalter asked Guillorme to move the Mets automatic runner forward 90 feet. Even at the 0-2 count, Showalter gave Guillorme the option to hit again if he wanted.
“Lewis is sharp,” Showalter said. “You have to trust what they feel.”
In the batter’s box, Gillorm did not like this idea. He was afraid of being tied up on the field for the second time in a row. It also saw Freeman slowly move forward at first base, honoring the prospect of Guillorme attempting to hit a two-hit. That gave Guillorme enough room to pin his two runs—the first RBI hit for the Mets since Patrick Mazeika hit two in a week back in 2021—down the right line.
“It’s great to redeem myself a bit and have that for the team,” said Gilorm, adding that “it’s always nice to get at least one.” [win]. “
For context, Sunday’s victory wasn’t a panacea for a Mets team that still lags the pace of other NL contenders. But it was at least the beginning. The Mets can’t make nine games in the standings without making one first, and a sweep by the Dodgers would have made the idea of a preposterous playoff run close to impossible.
“I hope it’s a starting point,” was Showalter’s assessment, fully aware that such optimism has not led to much in the past. Back-to-back showdowns, late-season drama and high-profile performances have never been a draw to the Mets’ enduring proficiency. But that does not mean that Guillaume’s injury will suffer the same fate.
If nothing else, the double driver’s cabin made for a two-night ugliness, with boos and boos. One of Showalter’s favorite sayings comes from David Kuhn, with whom he played half a season for the Yankees. As Showalter recounts, Cone’s recipe for combating negative fan backlash was to give fans a reason to cheer for him. To win, plain and simple.
“Yeah, we just need to win ball games,” Scherzer agreed. “You try to look at the standings and it seems insurmountable. But just take it one game at a time. One day, come here and win. Just play the baseball team, hopefully it snowballs and we find a hot streak.”
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