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SportsColumnistsAnthony Rieber

No relief to frustration in sight for Mets fans

Dodgers' Kike Hernandez rounds third after leading

Dodgers' Kike Hernandez rounds third after leading off the game with a home run off Jerry Blevins. Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

The Mets try. They really do.

They try your patience. Your loyalty. Sometimes even your sanity.

Take Sunday, for example. The Mets played their hearts out, were poised for an exhilarating comeback victory and still suffered a crushing 8-7 loss to the Dodgers on Justin Turner’s 11th-inning home run off Chris Flexen.

Wait. It gets worse.

Brandon Nimmo — who is a ray of sunshine on the most gloomy day — will have an MRI on Monday after getting hit on the right pinkie by a pitch in the fifth. Nimmo, who left the game two innings later, said an X-ray was negative.

“I’m optimistic,” he said.

But the splint on his finger and the Mets’ long history of devastating injury news must have even the most hopeful fan reaching for the Alka-Seltzer.

Not Nimmo! Why baseball gods, why? Why must you torture the Mets so?

If ever a team needed — maybe even deserved — an inspiring victory, it was the Mets on Sunday.

In the first (and quite possibly last) game ever started by Jerry Blevins, the Mets trailed 7-4 entering the bottom of the eighth inning against a superior team that had beaten them 11 straight times. Who would have blamed you if you had put the Mets down for their sixth consecutive defeat overall?

In the absence of injured starter Jason Vargas, the Mets had fought like mad with an all-reliever game to get to the seventh inning tied at 4. Manager Mickey Callaway called on one of his big bullpen arms to keep it there, but Anthony Swarzak allowed a go-ahead homer by Joc Pederson and two more runs in the eighth to put the Dodgers up three.

At that point, the Dodgers had hit six solo homers against four Mets pitchers, starting with Blevins, who gave up homers to the first two batters of the game in his first big-league start after 532 relief appearances.

But the Mets — to their credit, and Callaway’s — did not slink off into their Sunday night activities after Swarzak gave up three runs and six hits in 1 1⁄3 innings.

In the eighth, Jose Bautista drew a one-out walk against former Met Erik Goeddel and Dominic Smith singled to center. Bautista foolishly tried to go to third and was beaten by the throw, but he slid around Turner’s half-hearted tag attempt.

Kevin Plawecki followed with a bolt out of the blue, his first home run of the season, to tie the score at 7.

All that was left was for the Mets to win in walk-off fashion. They tried. In 2018, that’s going to have to be enough.

Turner’s home run — the seventh solo shot by the Dodgers, tying the MLB record set by the Braves in 2006 — dashed those hopes.

“It’s a frustrating day, that’s for sure,” Callaway said. “Going into the game, our goal was to get it to Swarzak and [Jeurys] Familia and we felt that if we could get a lead, we had a really good chance to win the game, and it didn’t happen.”

If Nimmo is out for any length of time, he would join Yoenis Cespedes, Juan Lagares and Jay Bruce as outfielders on the shelf. Nimmo literally gave his body to help the Mets win, with two of his NL-leading 12 HBPs and another one that was waved off by plate umpire Jerry Meals after he determined that Nimmo had leaned into a first-inning pitch.

Nimmo is always all smiles, but the Mets have so little to smile about these days. It seemed off for Blevins to be cracking jokes about the oddity of his first start in a downcast clubhouse, but Plawecki inadvertently may have said the funniest thing of all.

“The season’s not over tomorrow,” he said. “There’s nobody in here that doesn’t think we can still make the playoffs.”

I’ll just leave that there for you to make your own comment.

New York Sports