DENVER — Late Saturday night, the mood around the Mets was relatively dour. The team had split a doubleheader against the Rockies all wrong – a win followed by a loss – to create good feelings. They were all anxious, in Buck Showalter’s words, to return to their hotels to “pack, get a little sleep, and come back and do it again.”
These Mets seem uniquely qualified to do just that: shrug, wipe away, and turn the page. Baseball players talk in clichés like this all the time. The Mets actually live it; When they returned to Coors Field on Sunday to beat the Rockies 2-0, they won their 14th straight game from a loss — the longest streak in the majors in nearly a decade.
“We’re just ready to play every day,” said starter Taijuan Walker, who became the first pitcher to throw at least seven shutout innings against Coors this season. “[Saturday] was a really long day. That the guys show up and play really good defense and get the timely hits and runs that we needed just says a lot about us.
How the Mets have recovered from losses perhaps says more about them than any other statistic. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, no team has won 14 straight games from a loss since the 2011 Phillies. The Mets are 14-1 overall in these situations; They haven’t lost back-to-back since their fourth and fifth games of the season.
Ask the players in the clubhouse why this is, and the answers tend to vary. Walker presents an important part of the equation: Start pitching. While injuries to Jacob deGrom, Max Scherzer and Tylor Megill have weakened the rotation, Walker and others have nonetheless managed to keep this unit in the ERA top 10 in the majors all season. On Sunday, Walker employed one of the rarest tricks of all, preventing the Rockies from recording a single extra base hit at their home turf — something that has only happened five times in the past five years.
But this run of excellence wasn’t just about starting pitching or hitting or anything else on the field. Showalter credited the Mets with the mental advantage, calling them “a pretty stable mental team.”
“They don’t come in this ‘heaven falls’ [mentality]’ Showalter explained. “It’s tough because it’s not just sport. It’s a bit like [modern] Society that we all want to know about something before it happens, so we always say, ‘It happened, so this could happen.’ You don’t live in this world. I hope it goes on.”
It’s worth noting that just as the Mets haven’t been on a losing streak, neither have they been stringing together a winning streak to speak of. Despite their 28-15 record and first place in the NL East, the club have yet to win more than three games in a row – a feat they have accomplished five times. But the Mets didn’t have to because they basically never follow a loss with another loss. That has allowed New York to go 11-1-1 in series so far this season.
On Sunday, the Mets clinched another series win thanks to a big contribution from Walker as well as smaller notable wins. Brandon Nimmo’s rush from first to third due to a field error set up the first heat of the game, which Francisco Lindor drove home with a single. Luis Guillorme, who has often played in the starting XI, collected two goals. Closer Edwin Díaz barred another ninth inning with no issues, prompting Showalter to say that “no one takes for granted what Edwin is doing.”
Those are the ingredients of a winning streak, to be sure. They can also be the preventative measures needed to ward off losing streaks before they happen.
“Nobody cares about the past,” Lindor explained. “When we show up in San Francisco tomorrow, nobody cares what we did today. Enjoy today, celebrate, have fun – have a good flight. Once in San Francisco, turn the page. That’s how we do it every day.”