Sure it is. Easy to say now, because of what Cabrera did in the 11th inning against the Phillies. His three-run home run off Phillies reliever Edubray Ramos and the resulting 9-8 Mets win didn’t erase what happened a day before, but it sure did change the story at Citi Field.
Without Cabrera’s home run, and without the game-tying Jose Reyes homer in the ninth that set it up, the Mets could have been in freefall. A loss Thursday — the Mets entered play 0-63 when trailing after eight innings this year — would have had things looking bleak, after they were swept by the Braves in a series that ended with Ender Inciarte‘s miracle catch.
Instead, their chase for a second straight postseason is very much alive.
Cabrera’s walk-off home run
PHI@NYM: Cabrera hits walk-off three-run jack in 11th
Asdrubal Cabrera walks it off with a three-run jack to right field to give the Mets a 9-8 win in the 11th
“This is a huge win for us,” Reyes said.
You could tell, from the way they fought for it. You could tell, from the way Reyes celebrated as he rounded the bases, and the way Cabrera flipped his bat away as the ball cleared the right-field wall.
“I don’t remember, to be honest, the last time I was that emotional running the bases,” Reyes said. “I never thought I was going to be here doing this.”
If it’s hard to imagine that Reyes is here, after beginning the season suspended and then getting released by the Rockies, it’s just as hard to imagine Cabrera doing what he is doing.
Reyes’ game-tying two-run jack
PHI@NYM: Reyes ties game with two-run homer in 9th
Jose Reyes crushes a two-run home run to right field to tie the game at 6 in the bottom of the 9th
Technically, Cabrera is the only Mets infielder that stayed healthy this year, with second baseman Neil Walker and third baseman David Wright lost for the season and first baseman Lucas Duda just now coming back into a part-time role.
In reality, Cabrera isn’t healthy, either. He hurt his left knee in Spring Training and reinjured it at the end of July. He returned in late August, but the knee isn’t close to 100 percent.
“He’s playing hurt,” Reyes said. “That means a lot.”
He’s playing hurt, but he’s playing well. The home run Thursday was Cabrera’s fifth in 20 games this month and his fourth career walk-off dinger, and his three hits gave him a .342 September batting average.
— New York Mets (@Mets) September 23, 2016
This hit was the biggest of all. A walk to Michael Conforto and a Reyes single gave the Mets a chance in the 11th, after the Phillies had scored twice off Jeurys Familia in the top of the inning. Mets manager Terry Collins was already thinking about Yoenis Cespedes, who follows Cabrera in the order.
The game never got to Cespedes, but only because Cabrera won it first.
“As soon as I hit it, I knew it would be out,” Cabrera said. “So I was excited.”
The Mets were all excited, and they had every reason to be. It’s been a difficult season and a difficult week, one that didn’t get any better Thursday afternoon when they found out left-hander Steven Matz isn’t healthy enough to return to the starting rotation, after all.
They were still very much alive in the playoff race, but they knew they couldn’t count on the Giants and Cardinals to keep losing. They couldn’t keep losing games themselves, especially not against sub-.500 teams like the Phillies.
“We had to win this game, to set the tone after the series we had with the Braves,” Reyes said.
Collins on crazy walk-off win
PHI@NYM: Collins on Mets’ emotional walk-off win
Mets manager Terry Collins talks about Asdrubal Cabrera’s extra-inning walk-off homer to lift the Mets to a 9-8 win over the Phillies
It was important enough that Collins held a brief clubhouse meeting Thursday afternoon.
“It’s a 10-game season,” he told the Mets. “Best team gets in.”
Hours later, the Mets’ manager looked drained and thrilled at the same time. His emotions had run the gamut in 24 hours, and through the four hours and 23 minutes of Thursday night’s game.
“I don’t know the words [to describe it],” he said. “My vocabulary’s not that deep to come up with words.”
The Mets didn’t need to come up with words. Somehow, though, they needed to come up with a win.
Danny Knobler is a contributor to MLB.com based in New York. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
Source: Mets News / Thriller night: Mets turn page with emotional win