NEW YORK — An emotional Tuesday may have brought the end to an era for the New York Mets. But the Mets know there’s no better way to pay tribute to Sandy Alderson than by proving Wednesday night that Tuesday night’s win was no fluke.
The Mets will look to earn a series victory Wednesday night http://www.cardinalsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-mason-cole-jersey
, when they host the Pittsburgh Pirates in the rubber match of a three-game set at Citi Field.
Zack Wheeler (2-6, 4.85 ERA) is scheduled to take the mound for New York against Pittsburgh’s Ivan Nova (4-5, 3.98 ERA) in a battle of right-handers.
The Mets concluded a whirlwind day by edging the Pirates 4-3 in 10 innings. Wilmer Flores, who had a two-run single in the first inning, delivered his third walk-off hit of the season and the ninth walk-off hit of his career when his single down the third-base line scored Michael Conforto from first base with one out.
The Mets (32-45) snapped a seven-game losing streak hours after learning Alderson, who has been the team’s general manager since October 2010, would be taking an indefinite leave of absence to battle a recurrence of cancer. He was originally diagnosed in 2015 and underwent treatment following that season.
Three of Alderson’s assistants — John Ricco, J.P. Ricciardi and Omar Minaya — will share the general manager’s role while Alderson is out.
Alderson said during a pregame press conference that the cancer returned in April. He informed players of his diagnosis during a pregame meeting that left many players in tears but also may have crystallized their focus.
“We have a job to do and lately we haven’t been doing it up to our potential,” Conforto said. “So we really wanted to focus in and just make sure that we bounce back today, of all days, and play a little bit better. I think we showed a little fight there. We battled back and scratched together enough runs to win a ballgame tonight. So hopefully that gets us on the right path.”
The Pirates (37-42) were hoping a wire-to-wire 6-4 victory in Monday’s opener would get them back on the right track, but Tuesday’s loss was the sixth in the last seven games.
On Wednesday, the Pirates will be seeking only their second series win in their last 13 series dating back to May 17 Brian Allen Color Rush Jersey
, a span in which they are 12-25.
“I think I shared with our club — I don’t believe I’ve ever been through a rough patch of 34 games since I’ve been in the major leagues as a player, coach or manager,” said Pirates manager Clint Hurdle, who reached the bigs as a player in 1977. “And I’ve had enough. There’s a point in time you stop talking about being a good team, now you go play like a good team. Because your record’s telling you you’re not a good team.”
Wheeler will be looking to earn his first win in almost two months. He took the loss Friday after allowing four runs over seven innings as the Mets fell to the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-2. Wheeler is 0-5 with a 5.13 ERA in 10 starts since his most recent victory April 29.
Nova didn’t factor into the decision Friday, when he allowed three hits over eight scoreless innings in the Pirates’ 2-1, 13-inning loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks. It was the second time this season Nova has tossed eight scoreless innings. He also didn’t earn a decision in Pittsburgh’s 1-0 win over the Detroit Tigers on April 26.
Wheeler didn’t factor into the decision in his lone previous start against the Pirates on May 27, 2017, when he gave up three runs over six innings as the Mets fell 5-4 in 10 innings.
Nova is 1-0 with a 2.82 ERA in four career appearances (three starts) against the Mets.
There were moments in such a sour season a year ago when Gabriel Landeskog doubted himself as a player. It just wore on him that much.
Never once did he ever question this: His ability to lead the Colorado Avalanche.
The longtime captain who’s still just 25 galvanized a youthful squad this season through dinners, pingpong games, stepping into the role of mentor, assisting on one of the best lines in hockey, getting feedback from fellow veterans and even being a tour guide. His teammates have followed Landeskog’s lead straight into the postseason.
, you can doubt the things you’re doing as a captain or if you’re doing it right, but never if I wanted to be a captain,” explained Landeskog, whose team opens the first round Thursday night in Nashville against the top-seeded Predators. ”That’s an honor. That’s a privilege.”
Naturally, there have been growing pains along the way for Landeskog, who was appointed captain on Sept. 4, 2012, at the tender age of 19 years, 286 days.
But last season took a toll on him and everyone else. The team had a league-worst 48 points in 2016-17 – the lowest in a full season since 1999-2000, when the expansion Atlanta Thrashers had 39.
”When it’s going that bad, when you’re that bad of a team, no doubt you start doubting yourself, as a player and as a person DJ Chark Color Rush Jersey
,” said Landeskog, a Swedish winger who was drafted by Colorado with the second overall pick in 2011. ”At the end of the day, you have to believe in yourself and find that inner confidence and believe that you can do it and you are good and that you are doing the right things and stick with it.”
It set the stage for a major turnaround. Their 47-point improvement this season is the tied for the fourth-highest year-to-year improvement in NHL history for a full season.
”I don’t think I’ve ever been a part of a group with such team chemistry,” said Landeskog, who helped seal the playoff appearance with a goal and two assists in a 5-2 win over St. Louis last weekend during a winner-take-all, regular-season finale.
That chemistry began in training camp. It escalated even more nearly 5,000 miles away in Stockholm, Landeskog’s hometown. Colorado took a trip there in November to play two games against Ottawa. Right before that, the Avs made a three-team trade that sent Matt Duchene to the Senators and got them such players as defenseman Samuel Girard from Nashville in return.
While in Sweden, Landeskog became a tour guide. He set up museum excursions and organized dinners at his favorite spots. Although the Avalanche dropped both games, they found something greater – cohesion.
”We really came together as a team,” Landeskog said. ”There’s something about spending five or six days with the team and nobody has family or friends or other obligations. It’s just team, team http://www.dolphinsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-jerome-baker-jersey
, team and that’s it.”
Team dinners on the road have been frequent. Pingpong games began happening (Landeskog keeps a paddle with a picture of himself taped on it in his locker). And lines of communication that have always been open are even more open.
”He’s very selfless. He doesn’t care about his own personal numbers,” standout Nathan MacKinnon said. ”He’s definitely the perfect captain for this team.”
He’s just trying to be his even-keeled self.
”I have a support staff – my fiance, my dad and my family and things like that to support me and try to bring me up when I’m down,” Landeskog said. ”It’s just something that’s always been engrained, to keep working and keep doing the right things, keep being a good teammate, to be a good example for other guys, and guys will follow.”
He’s had a solid season with 25 goals and 37 assists. Then again, it doesn’t hurt to play on a line that includes MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen.
”He leads the way on the ice and rarely does any mistakes,” Rantanen said. ”The way he speaks to the team is so calm. He’s a role model for young guys.”
Landeskog already is in full playoff mode with his beard game. He started growing it months ago, with the Avalanche trying to claw their way into the postseason. It’s a contrast to, say, defenseman Nikita Zadorov http://www.seahawksauthorizedshops.com/authentic-sebastian-janikowski-jersey
, who hardly even has a whisker.
”Zadorov brought me over close to him before practice and was like, `Look I got some (whiskers). I got some,”’ Landeskog recounted. ”I walked up there close to him, and there wasn’t a whole lot to brag about.”
A light-hearted mood – that’s where the team is at heading into a playoff series as a decided underdog.
”Standing here after a season like this, I think you can look around the room and say everybody had a bounce-back season,” Landeskog said. ”Ultimately, everybody in this room helped this team get to the playoffs.”
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