David Wright had groused about all the extra fuss. After three Opening Days, two Harvey Days and an endless stream of pomp and circumstance, he yearned for normalcy.
Then fate intervened.
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With a strained right hamstring that will sideline him for at least three weeks, Wright was forced to watch from the dugout Wednesday night, when the Mets thumped the Phillies, 6-1, to cap a three-game sweep.
"I looked at today's game as a very big game for us with the loss of David,'' manager Terry Collins said. "I wanted to see how the guys came out.''
They responded with a no-frills drubbing of a clearly inferior opponent, something any serious playoff contender must learn to repeat consistently.
One night before, Matt Harvey's first start home start since Tommy John surgery drew impressive television ratings. The only blight on an otherwise electric evening was Wright's injury.
But on Wednesday night, the crowd was announced at 21,052, roughly half the previous game's total. Large pockets of empty seats dotted Citi Field, the first sign that the novelty of a new season is beginning to fade. Wright would have relished getting back into the routine.
There were no pregame introductions, only business, and the Mets made sure to take care of it.
Without Wright, Collins kept the lineup mostly intact, with Travis d'Arnaud moving into his No. 2 spot. D'Arnaud hit a solo shot in the third inning, his first homer. Lucas Duda knocked in two runs, one on a mammoth solo shot, also his first homer.
The Mets will need both to help absorb the loss of Wright, who joins pitchers Zack Wheeler, Josh Edgin and Jenrry Mejia on the shelf.
"With the injuries that we've had, it's going to be tough, simple as that,'' said Duda, who hit .357 in the series. "But like I said, we can band together and get through this thing, and get David back as soon as we can.''
The Mets bashed Jerome Williams, a 10-year big-league nomad, for five runs (four earned) and 10 hits. Jonathon Niese (1-0) battled chilly, windy conditions to hold the Phillies to one run in 61/3 innings.
Wright's replacement, Eric Campbell, had a hit and made a sparkling play at third. He did so on only three hours' sleep, thanks to a crying baby on the flight from Las Vegas, site of the Mets' Triple-A club. "Once you get out there, you don't realize you haven't really slept,'' he said. "You're going on adrenaline.''
It was enough. With Campbell's help, the Mets (6-3) stepped over the bumbling Phillies (3-6) to get back on track after dropping two of three against the Braves. The Mets have won four in a row, equaling their best streak last year.
The Marlins arrive Thursday night for the first of four games. The grind will continue, even without Wright.
"We've had other obstacles thrown in our path all through spring training and the beginning of the season,'' general manager Sandy Alderson said. "This is just another one of those.''