We all know what a perfect game is.
27 up, 27 down.
But a “perfect” game can also be when a team excels in all aspects of the game in the same night: pitching, hitting and defense.
When a team plays a “perfect” game, they usually win. It’s pretty simple, since if all three aspects are perfect – especially pitching and defense – it means the other team didn’t score many runs.
With the way this Mets team is built, the only way for them to consistently win games is for them to play perfect games. The problem is that playing a perfect game is extremely difficult – especially multiple perfect games in a row.
Tuesday night in Atlanta, the Mets basically played a perfect game. They hit in timely situations, fielded well enough – despite two errors, one which could have been costly – to keep them in front and received dominant pitching by Bartolo Colon for seven innings.
Sure, Jose Valverde gave us a scare at the end, but the team hung on for the win and that’s all that mattered.
It’s a lot of pressure for a team to know it has to be perfect to win games. Unfortunately for the Mets, that’s the mindset right now.
They’ve received decent starting pitching so far, but this team’s offense is anemic. If they are only going to score three or four runs a game, it’s imperative that the pitching and defense be perfect.
Last night, Zack Wheeler pitched well for four innings, but he came apart in the fifth. The Mets mounted a nice comeback in the ninth, but did we really expect the team to make up a four-run deficit against Craig Kimbrel?
A one- or two-run deficit? Maybe. But we know this team has its limitations, so we can’t expect to come from behind every night.
If this team’s offense could ever click, then maybe a pitcher giving up four runs over five or six innings wouldn’t be so bad. The whole point of this game is to score more runs than the other team, so even if you give up 10 but score 11, you win.
The most runs the Mets have scored this season was seven, and it came in the Opening Day, 10-inning loss to the Nationals. The only other time they scored more than four was the Ike Davis walk-off grand slam game.
Sadly, we will likely see too many 2-1 or 1-0 losses this season. What that tells me is that even on days when the starting pitching and defense click, the offense falters.
We’ve got plenty of season to go, but the thought of having to play a “perfect” game every night is daunting to think about.
Nights like Monday could happen every once in a while, but the reality is that those nights are too rare for a team to live by.