Baseball seasons are similar to Survivor. Outwit, Outplay, Outlast. The first two are the most important. The Mets have Buck Showalter to play the "Outwit" role, and Billy Eppler has set up the pieces for the Mets' ability to outplay the rest of the National League more often.
Outlast? This is a 162-game season. Outlasting everyone is all about conditioning and health, especially when you had a short spring. However, for Sunday's game against the Marlins, the Mets had to beat Sandy Alcantara. With his current season, it seems impossible to outwit him, outplay him, or outpitch him. To get to the Marlins bullpen, the Mets had to outlast him step-by-step. Chris Bassitt was determined to accomplish that feat as he matched zeroes to Alcantara over six innings. When the Mets scored a run in the sixth on a Francisco Lindor RBI double, it looked like they had a chance of defeating one of the most talented pitchers on earth.
Bassitt surrendered two singles and a walk, and Buck Showalter called in Seth Lugo. Seth Lugo was playing in his very first game. He had already thrown a seed from deep left field to nail Tomas Nido, who was trying to make a single into an out. Encarnacion was Colin Hay's ideal singer. But Howie Rose talked early in the broadcast about Encarnacion's bat not being up to his rest. So surely Seth Lugo could take care of Encarnacion with all the bases loaded and the Mets still in the lead?
Jerar smiled and handed Seth Lugo a sandwich of vegemite. (Your definitions of vegemite might differ. Encarnacion will be a problem for many years. His grand slam made the difference in a Mets loss by 6-2. It's possible that it doesn't prove that Seth Lugo is a problem right away, but the Mets could benefit from him returning to the 2018 and 2019 form. He had a strike percentage of 61% when he entered the game. Today, he threw 13 out of 22 pitches as strikes. His pitch strike percentage was 57.5% when he entered the game. He also lost 3-1 to Encarnacion by throwing his first pitch ball. This season Lugo has not been horrible. His WHIP of 1.12 represented a solid rebound from the previous two seasons when it was 1.325. If he doesn't have a bit more command (perhaps putting him in with bases loaded wasn't the best idea), it will be a sign that the Mets are looking for relief pitchers come the trade deadline.
Today, I didn't expect a win against Alcantara. But it's a long-term goal. Although it was possible if not for the 7th, the Mets are still in great shape to take 3-of-4 away from the Marlins. They are currently at 9-7 during their June stretch that began with the California road trip. Despite today's loss to the Cubs, they still have some cushion. The hawk that SNY saw and featured in the final inning of their telecast was what made Citi Field the happiest place today. If the Mets had won, they would have likely hunted down the hawk and placed it in a cage. They could then market it on T-shirts and other merchandise. Although I like a good luck charm, the hawk probably feels content that it is free to live in peace.