Among the myriad differences between the Yankees and Mets, none tell the story better than the uncanny string of misfortunes that routinely befall the Flushing squad as compared to its Bronx neighbor.
What the Yankees would consider to be a disaster, the Mets call Wednesday.
Or any other day of the week, for that matter. We just picked Wednesday in this instance because of the avalanche of crazy that dumped on the Mets before the Subway Series resumed for Game 3 at Citi Field, where the Yankees ultimately prevailed, 5-3.
Through a chaotic, pregame chain of events that scratched both Wilmer Flores and Jose Reyes because of rib-cage injuries, Travis d’Arnaud found himself texting David Wright, who is rehabbing down in Port St. Lucie, to ask if he could borrow the captain’s glove to use for his major-league debut at third base.
We imagined Wright’s response. What the heck must be going on up there? But as the Mets tend to do, dealing with the bizarre is as much a part of their day as breakfast.
“He told me to stay low,” d’Arnaud said, “and expect that every ball is coming to you.”
But thanks to Terry Collins’ genius ploy of ping-ponging d’Arnaud between third base and second — depending on the batter’s pull side — he didn’t even touch the baseball until the ninth inning, when d’Arnaud corralled Todd Frazier’s pop-up.
The Mets’ contingency plan worked brilliantly. And what did the Yankees have to overcome? Only the fractured confidence of their $86-million closer, Aroldis Chapman, who wasn’t going to pitch Wednesday night anyway. Joe Girardi simply deployed David Robertson later for his first save in his second go-round with the Yankees.
As for the Mets, they lost two infielders Wednesday in the span of 90 minutes, with a career catcher taking over at third. As soon as the Yankees finished batting practice, d’Arnaud was out taking ground balls at the position, less than 40 minutes before the game’s first pitch.
Just another day of Collins having to make stuff up on the fly, as was the case with that night’s starter, Robert Gsellman, penciled into emergency duty 24 hours earlier in the Bronx. And judging by Sandy Alderson’s mood Wednesday afternoon, Gsellman was lucky to even make it to the mound.
Talk about your self-inflicted wounds. In discussing the pending start, his first coming off a seven-week DL stint, Gsellman made the mistake of saying “I don’t really care” about Alderson’s public dissatisfaction with his recent performance. When the Mets’ GM was asked for his reaction, he delivered a terse reply.
“I’m going to give him a pass on that for the moment,” Alderson said. “But I hope he reflects on the implications of that statement and the potential consequences of that statement and has a better response the next time out.”
Ouch! This felt like dad scolding your 8-year-old self. The only way out for Gsellman was to put up a decent performance, and he fell somewhat short of that as the Yankees — with the score tied at 2 — chased him with one out in the sixth inning after loading the bases.
Gsellman failed to provide a quality start. But what he did give the sellout crowd of 42,260 was the privilege of seeing another Aaron Judge moonshot, a soaring 457-foot launch that probably appeared on LaGuardia’s radar before eventually touching down on the leftfield’s third deck.
On the subject of Yankees’ concerns, Judge had been one of them recently, given his plunging stats after the All-Star break. But the way things usually play out for these two teams, eventually the clouds part in the Bronx, and Judge’s blast, No. 37 overall, was his second in three games after a six-day drought.
“I am encouraged, but I’ve been encouraged the last few days with some of the adjustments he’s made,” Girardi said. “It’s a positive sign.”
The rest of the night followed a familiar script. Didi Gregorius’ two-run double in the seventh proved to be the game-winning hit and the Yankees’ bullpen, with Chapman a spectator, put them on the verge of the first Subway sweep since 2013.
An all-too-typical ending from a tumultuous start.