Gore made his major league debut in 2014, about a month before the Royals won the American League pennant. A year later, the parkour expert returned in time to help Kansas City beat the Mets to win the World Series. Ultimately, Gore made his way to the Dodgers in 2020 — who also won a championship — and found himself on last year’s Warriors playoff roster despite not playing for them at all during the regular season.
In other words, it was a good omen when Gore was in town. He donned a Mets uniform on Thursday and stole a base in the eighth inning. That might have been an insignificant part of the Mets’ 5-3 victory over the Dodgers at Citi Field, a team that has won all three series and seven games against the top teams in the National League. But Gore’s presence hints at what the Mets could become.
“The vibe here is exactly the same vibe I got from the Dodgers,” Gore said. “Believe it or not, it’s the exact same vibe.”
Ultimately, this may all mean nothing in October. The Dodgers can get back healthy, get back in shape, and remind everyone of their status as NL juggernauts. Some other team may rise, as the Warriors did a year ago. Or the Mets could stumble in multiple ways.
But New York’s victory on Thursday reinforced the theory that if the Mets aren’t the most dangerous team in the NL, they’re at least good enough to compete with anyone.
“They have a really good team,” Edwin Diaz said of the Dodgers. “We showed them that we also have a very good team.”
The Mets are not only talented, but also adaptable. For the fifth time in the past 13 games, Diaz responded to manager Buck Showalter’s call in the eighth rather than the ninth, as the Dodgers are all about batting. By then, the Mets had taken a three-point lead from behind, thanks to an all-around performance from Francisco Lindor — he went 2-for-4 for the game’s RBI double, a steal The base, to go – leading run and great defensive play – and quality pitching from Chris Bassett.
But Diaz wasn’t quite himself, his first hitter, his second hitter, and within a few feet — twice — allowed home runs to tie the game. Once the second of these blasts died on the warning track in a sacrificial flight, Diaz decided to ditch his slider entirely, hitting Gavin Lux in a snap at 102.8 mph — the fastest of his career. A tough pitch.
“I was kind of pissed that I didn’t control my slider the way I wanted,” Diaz said. “I said, ‘I have to get better at finding my fastball.’ That’s what I did.”
The Mets are now 36 over .500 for the second time this season. Only three previous iterations of the team have reached such heights. This version is expected to finish the regular season with the second-best record in franchise history and a playoff berth in mid-September.
Division titles are still an open question, although things will get easier in that arena. Now that they’ve fielded the Dodgers, the Mets will have 16 straight games against teams with a losing record, more than half of them against the NL’s two worst clubs, the Nationals and Buccaneers. It’s a chance to put enough distance between them and the Warriors that their eventual head-to-head series doesn’t matter.
The mission will begin on Friday. The first three days offered a different kind of opportunity: a chance to prove they could get along with the best. With more than 119,000 fans crowding Citi Field throughout the passionate series, plus thousands watching closely from the U.S. Open across the street, the Mets did just that.
“They had good pitching,” Dodgers first baseman Freddie Freeman said. “We have good pitching. If we actually face them in the playoffs, that’s going to be the case.”
Freeman went on to add, “If we do face them in the playoffs, nobody cares what happens in the regular season” — a sentiment echoed by Bassett, Lindo and others at the Mets clubhouse. a point of view. While that’s certainly true, that’s not the point. In order to be the best, the Mets need to not only know that they can beat the best, but that they can be consistent to a certain degree.
Beating the Dodgers four times in seven games is something the Mets are eager to do once again.