PITTSBURGH — Here’s something the Mets could use down the stretch.
A little more winning attitude, a little more will to win. You could call it a refuse to lose attitude.
That is what Marcus Stroman brings to the party, and it was on display in his Mets’ debut Saturday night.
Stroman had a long layoff but battled his way through 92 pitches and 4 ¹/₃ innings. He made a for-the-ages fielding play, grabbing a slow roller far to his right with his bare hand, hit by Kevin Newman, and made an off-balance, shortstop-like throw home for the force out in the first inning, keeping what was a two-run inning in check.
The Mets went on to win in comeback fashion when Robinson Cano led off the eighth inning with a double and catcher Wilson Ramos lifted a two-run home run to put the Mets ahead, 4-3. Ramos added a two-out, three-run double in the ninth.
It was needed because Edwin Diaz surrendered a two-run home run to Starling Marte as theMets held on for the 7-5 win over the Piratesat PNC Park.
This is not just about swagger — it’s about having the confidence to succeed and knowing you can’t be beat. That could go a long way in a wild-card race filled with mediocre teams, mediocre talent and mediocre managers.
Brodie Van Wagenen, who pulled off the Stroman trade, made the trip here to get a bird’s-eye view of his latest acquisition, and in a side room to the clubhouse after the media left, there was Van Wagenen giving Stroman a Bro-die hug and congratulations.
Certainly adding Stroman gives a boost to the Mets players, gives them something positive to focus on in a season filled with much too much losing.
This win was a morale booster.
Stroman gives the Mets a little more backbone. He owns an inner fight. That is always a good thing for a team. This is the time of year teams need a boost. It’s never easy being a Met — there are always twists and turns that are difficult to navigate.
“I’m very authentic with my energy,’’ Stroman told the Post afterward, “and that’s one thing everybody in this organization let me know from the second I got here. Everybody said, ‘Be you. We don’t want you to change. We love the energy. We love the passion. We love the emotion.’ So I’m just being myself and anytime that I can be in here and lift the guys up or just kind of add to whatever we have going on … it’s amazing.
“It’s exciting to be a part of an organization that kind of seeks me to be that person with the energy and the passion.’’
And there is a will, a will not to lose. If you do lose, go down fighting.
“Yeah, and I think it starts with this staff,’’ Stroman told me. “I think we have the five best starters in baseball, and we kind of feed off each other. When they go out there and dominate, it kind of puts you in that position, too. ‘Hey I’ve got to hold my own just to keep it in line with everyone else.’ We have a really good vibe on this team. Very low key, very calm, but we have that excitement and energy when we need it. I love it here.’’
Sure, the Pirates are a bad team, and their bullpen is in shambles. The Mets made the most of the situation in what could have been a rough start for Stroman. They took care of business on the night Stroman came home to the Mets.
His will to win was evident from the first pitch. This was a good start.
It was a good start for the catcher Ramos with Stroman, too. Stroman did not get the win, but he set the tone.
And his first night ended with a Brodie hug.