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The Mets enjoy the comforts of home

The list stretches from David Aardsma to Todd Zeile: 154 major leaguers who played for both the Mets and Yankees. The latest, David Robertson, is happy to be back in town.

“It’s different – you get a great crowd all the time, then you get a good band traveling the road with you,” Robertson said after helping the Mets to a 5-2 win over the San Diego Padres at the Citi Field Wednesday. . “I like it. New Yorkers want to win. It doesn’t matter what side you’re on, they want to win and they’re going to show up.

Fans showed up in force for the Mets’ first homestand of the season, just as they did for the first two series at Yankee Stadium. Each team opened their home schedule by going 4-2 in their homestand, with attendance exceeding 30,000 each time. The pitch clock has greatly enhanced the appeal of the product: only one game in each stadium has reached three o’clock.

Baseball showed up Wednesday – 77 degrees at game time, without even a hint of the usual airy April chill in Flushing Bay. There was sun, blows and robberies: a missile to distant Shea Bridge by Juan Soto of the Padres, then explosions by Francisco Lindor and Pete Alonso of the Mets – or the “go-go Mets”, as the manager Buck Showalter. after his team stole three bases on Wednesday.

The Mets have 14 interceptions (tied with Pittsburgh for fourth in Major League Baseball through Wednesday) and have only been caught once. The Mets had 62 interceptions last season, ranking 23rd in the majors. If you guessed that Showalter – master of preparation – would find a way to capitalize on the haste rules, you were right.

“The biggest rule that has made it harder to hold runners is you can’t hold the ball and stop them from cheating in their lead,” Showalter said. “It turns a lot of runners into stolen base threats that didn’t exist in the past.”

On Wednesday, Tommy Pham stole second base with two outs in the second inning and scored on Brandon Nimmo’s brace. Mark Canha stole second through third, and Jeff McNeil took second through sixth, and each time Padres starter Blake Snell walked the next batter. A faster game is more interesting.

“I’ve stolen three bases already,” said Nimmo, an on-base darling who had just three interceptions in 151 games last season. “I’m not going to run just to run, but if the opportunity arises, yes, we will take advantage of it. More so, you just want to deal with guys who are flippant about their era. If they don’t really care, you have to take those guys’ bags.

The Mets left town after Wednesday’s game with a 7-6 record. They will play their next 10 games in California, visiting the Oakland Athletics for three, the Los Angeles Dodgers for three and the San Francisco Giants for four. It’s too early for a real read on the team, but the Mets have recovered well after ending their first road trip with three straight losses at Milwaukee.

“We played a very good team ball,” Alonso said. “We pitched well, we played great defense and I feel like overall we had a great batting team – from one to nine we did a great job of putting out the starting pitchers, by penetrating deep into the relievers and capitalizing on opportunities. We’re going to improve as the season progresses, but going 4-2 was a good rebound.

Right-handed ace Justin Verlander, signed as a replacement once Jacob deGrom left for the Texas Rangers, did not fly with the team; he’s heading to Florida as he works on an inflamed shoulder. Before he can make his Mets debut, Showalter said, Verlander will need a few bullpen sessions, a round of live batting practice, and then a minor league rehab game.

That program looks likely to keep Verlander out until early May — not late April, as he had hoped — but there’s no reason to rush. There are six National League playoff berths, after all, and Tylor Megill has now won three times in Verlander’s absence after working five innings on Wednesday.

Showalter used four relievers to finish, knowing they could all rest before Friday’s next game. The closest star, Edwin Díaz, was on hand but still using crutches after tearing the patellar tendon in his right knee during the World Baseball Classic in March.

“Recovery takes eight months – some people do it before, some people do it after,” Díaz said. “If we can keep doing what we’re doing right now – everything with the coach, working hard, if the knee continues to respond to testing then I have to start running, I have to get on the mound, I have to start launch – if all goes well, I think I can be back before eight months.

It’s a long checklist, so it’s comforting for the Mets to have other veterans who know late-inning situations. Robertson has 159 career saves, and another former Yankee, Adam Ottavino, had the 34th of his career with a ninth scoreless Wednesday.

With the Philadelphia Phillies last October, Robertson saved Game 1 of the World Series in front of a raucous Houston crowd, blocking tying and game-winning runs on base. He approaches every appearance the same, from his major league debut at Shea Stadium at 23 – a two-run stint as a relief from Darrell Rasner for the Yankees in June 2008 – until an April morning at 38 years.

“Last year I was throwing the seventh, eighth, ninth innings, extras, whatever,” said Robertson, who stifled a rally in the seventh on Wednesday then escaped a self-jam. created in the eighth. “It’s all the same to me. You just have to go out there and get the guys out. You can’t think about it too much.

Robertson, a right-hander, last pitched for the Yankees in 2018, his second stint with the team, before signing with Philadelphia as a free agent. Her path back to New York went through Tommy John’s surgery; a tune-up in an amateur men’s league in Rhode Island; a spot on the United States team at the Tokyo Olympics; the Tampa Bay Rays; the Chicago Cubs; and the Phillies again.

It evolves as it ages. On Monday, Robertson stoked Trent Grisham of the Padres with a change. The last time he threw one that worked, he guessed, was at Torii Hunter in 2015. He’s also learning to adjust his grip on his fastball, he said, to keep it true and differentiate it from its cutter.

“It’s another perspective for the hitter,” said Robertson, who has two saves this season. “If you throw one that doesn’t cut and they think it’s going to cut, you might miss a barrel.”

In the offseason, however, it was Robertson who blew. He acts as his own agent and got a lucrative contract (one year, $10 million) in the city where his client wanted to plant. But Robertson missed one detail: with Díaz seemingly locked in closer, he forgot to ask for a bonus clause for games completed.

nytimes sport

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