The Mets will face Jose Fernandez’s memory Monday night in Miami. That may prove more overwhelming than opposing the late Marlins ace, who died in a boating accident early Sunday.
Under the circumstances that enveloped the day, scant attention was paid to the Mets’ 17-0 victory Sunday over the Phillies. The most runs scored by the Mets at Citi Field and the biggest shutout in franchise history was highlighted by Asdrubal Cabrera’s grand slam in the seventh inning, but it was nothing the forlorn shortstop wanted to discuss.
“It’s going to be tough for us,’’ he said about playing the Marlins. “I feel really bad for his family and the Marlins. I’m not sure what’s going to happen.’’
The Mets own the first wild card. With six games left, they are heading into what likely will be an emotional night in Miami.
“It’s hard for baseball. It’s not only us,’’ catcher Rene Rivera said. “It’s all around Major League Baseball. We feel for the other players. We all play baseball, we all got goals. We spend seven, eight months together. We all know how we have to go through life. Not only for the Mets, for all 29 teams it will be hard.’’
Terry Collins said, “It’s going to be a rough for one everybody. I’m sure they’re going to be all fired up not only to beat us but in honoring Jose.’’
The Mets have a job to finish. “It really kind of sunk in today that it was the last regular-season homestand,’’ said Noah Syndergaard, who said his strep throat has cleared and expects to start Tuesday. “The energy through the clubhouse is like we don’t want it to be the last game we play here this season. So we’re going to go down to Miami hungry and go to Philadelphia and hopefully come back and get ready for some playoff baseball.’’
Aside from Cabrera, Curtis Granderson hit his 30th homer and Jose Reyes drove in four runs. Reyes, who played in Miami with Fernandez, was too distraught to speak before or after the game. Yoenis Cespedes said even those not close to Fernandez “all know how charismatic he was and how much the game meant to him.’’
T.J. Rivera, who had another two-hit game and is batting .361, said, “I’m sure it will be emotional after the loss of Jose. We’re going to have to fight through it and find a way to get a ‘W.’ ’’
Mets starter Robert Gsellman (3-2, 2.56 ERA) allowed only three hits and struck out eight in pitching a career-high seven innings. Collins reiterated that if the Mets make it to the Divisional Series, Gsellman, an emergency replacement for the depleted rotation, will get a start.
“I haven’t really thought about it,’’ Gsellman said. “It hasn’t kicked in.’’
Collins added, “We’ve got a six-game season now and hopefully we get to postseason. He’s got to be a part of it. I thought it was really important to build him up to the 100-pitch [count] . . . I thought it was important that he get a little deeper in the game as far as pitch count goes.’’
With each start, Gsellman is beginning to feel like he belongs. “I’m pretty comfortable,’’ he said. “I think I got comfortable probably after my second start. It’s getting more confident and just keep it rolling. It felt great to finally get past the sixth inning and go seven. ‘’