The Philadelphia Phillies (62-97) defeated the Mets (89-70) by a score of 3-0. Sean Gilmartin was strong for the Mets in 5 innings, the only blemish being a 2-run home run allowed to Darin Ruf. The offense managed only 6 hits off Jerad Eickhoff and the Phillies bullpen; 3 by Kirk Nieuwenhuis, 2 infield singles by Kelly Johnson, and a single by Ruben Tejada.
Jerad Eickhoff was in control all day for the Phillies, allowing only 4 hits, walking 1, and striking out 10 while shutting the Mets out over 7 innings. The Mets’ best opportunity came in the 7th, after a 1-out double by Kirk Nieuwenhuis and a 2-out walk by Kevin Plawecki. However, Juan Lagares struck out on a 3-2 curveball to end the threat.
Sean Gilmartin was solid for the Mets in his first career start, allowing onlyh 3 hits, a walk, 2 runs, and a home run over 5 innings while striking out 3. Unfortunately though, that home run, a 2-out 2-run shot by Darin Ruf in the 4th inning, proved to be all the Phillies would need. Tim Stauffer was strong in two shutout innings of relief and Dario Alvarez allowed a solo home run to Andres Blanco, but it didn’t matter. On a day where a hangover lineup was called for, no one could muster anything against Eickhoff, Jerome Williams, or Luis Garcia.
This could’ve been expected, especially after such a late loss last night. Gilmartin and Stauffer were pleasant surprises in their combined 7 innings of work, but the offense was absolutely lifeless. What bothered me were the pinch hitting opportunities not utilized by Terry Collins. I understand he wants to give his regular players a day off, but when Eric Young Jr. and Dilson Herrera are your two pinch hitters from a bench that includes Daniel Murphy, David Wright, Lucas Duda, and Curtis Granderson, it’s a little tough to justify your desire to win the game. In the 7th inning, with 1st and 2nd with two outs, it should have been Granderson, Murphy, or Duda facing off against Eickhoff (or a lefty reliever, if they decided to make a switch). I find it tough to believe that these veteran professionals could have their playoff performances compromised by one plate appearance.
But, these are small annoyances. After the rest day today, one would imagine that Terry will go with his regular lineup the rest of the weekend, perhaps with an extra righty or two against Gio Gonzalez. The Mets fans certainly have to thank Mike Leake and the Giants for keeping their home field advantage hopes alive – Leake spun a 2-hit shutout last night, reducing the Mets home field advantage magic number to 3. The Giants look to take 3 of 4 from the Dodgers this afternoon at 3:45, with Brett Anderson facing Tim Hudson. A Dodgers win would bring L.A. to the same record as the Mets, but as a reminder, the Mets do own the tiebreaker.
Noah Syndergaard faces Gio Gonzalez tomorrow at 7:10 at Citi Field, weather permitting, as the Mets open a 3-game series against the Nationals.
POSITIVES: Sean Gilmartin and Tim Stauffer were both solid today with better-than-expected performances. Dario Alvarez, while allowing a home run to a right-handed batter, also retired the only lefty he faced. Kirk Nieuwenhuis had 3 of the Mets’ 6 hits, but despite 2 doubles, was never able to score.
NEGATIVES: The offense, save for Nieuwenhuis. The manager’s decision to pinch hit Eric Young Jr. and Dilson Herrera in a close game that means something. The decision to remove Michael Conforto in a close game, and not for a better bat.
WPA Winners: Kirk Nieuwenhuis (.109)
WPA Losers: Eric Campbell (-.141)
Best Play: None over .100
Worst Play: Darin Ruf hits a 2-run home run, Phillies up 2-0, 4th inning (-.245)
The Mets (89-69) fell to the Phillies (61-97) by a score of 7-5. The Mets held a 5-0 lead in this game after two home runs in the first inning, but Logan Verrett and the bullpen blew the lead in the ugliest game Mets fans have seen in a long time. Wild pitches, ejections, hit batsmen, they were all present.
The Mets jumped over Phillies starter Alec Asher in the first inning, after a Curtis Granderson double, a walk to David Wright, and a 3-run home run by Daniel Murphy. They tacked on even more after a walk to Yoenis Cespedes and a 2-run home run by Michael Conforto. The Mets jumped to a 5-0 lead. In the bottom of the first, starter Logan Verrett worked around a couple baserunners.
Verrett struck out the side in the bottom of the 2nd, and in the top of the 3rd, Yoenis Cespedes was hit by a pitch on his left hand. Fortunately, x-rays were negative and Cespedes only has a contusion. Kirk Nieuwenhuis would pinch-run and remain in the game in center field. Verrett ran into trouble in the bottom of the 3rd after allowing consecutive singles. A fantastic sliding catch by Kirk Nieuwenhuis induced a double play, but Verrett walked Aaron Altherr to set up a 2-run double by Darin Ruf. The lead was cut to 5-2. The Mets threatened in the top of the 4th, but to no avail, but Wilmer Flores was removed for a pinch-runner with lower back stiffness. Ruben Tejada replaced him.
Verrett worked out of trouble in the bottom of the 4th, but was not so lucky in the 5th. After getting a groundout to lead off the inning, Verrett hit Odubel Herrera with a pitch, a pitch that looked intentional enough for the home plate umpire to warn both benches. The Mets had been hit twice in the game so far; Cespedes and Nieuwenhuis. Verrett lost Aaron Altherr to a walk and Erik Goeddel was able to get Darin Ruf to pop out. Jon Niese, in to face Cody Asche, was not so lucky, allowing an RBI single before getting a sharp groundout. The Mets lead was cut to 5-3.
After Michael Cuddyer reached on a fielding error by Cody Asche, pinch runner Eric Young Jr. stole 2nd with one out. Unfortunately, the Mets didn’t convert and left Young at 2nd. In the bottom of the 6th, things really fell apart. After Hansel Robles got Brian Bogusevic to line out to left, Robles was ejected from the game (along with manager Terry Collins) after a pitch sailed at Cameron Rupp‘s head. Reliever Bobby Parnell inherited a full count and walked Rupp on 1 pitch, then walked pinch hitter Chase d’Arnaud. A wild pitch advanced the tying runs into scoring position, and Freddy Galvis converted with a single to center, taking 2nd on the throw to the plate. The game was tied at 5-5. Dario Alvarez entered and got Odubel Herrera to pop out for the 2nd out, but then hit Aaron Altherr with a pitch on his back foot. Carlos Torres relieved him, and two wild pitches allowed the go-ahead run to score before he struck out Darin Ruf.
Both teams were turned aside in the 7th and the Mets were turned aside in the 8th before Tyler Clippard unleashed the 7th wild pitch of the game, scoring Andres Blanco (leadoff double) from 3rd. The Phillies led 7-5. Ken Giles retired the side in the 9th to end an ugly game.
What an absolutely ugly game. Between the two teams, there were 10 walks, 7 wild pitches, 4 hit batsmen, 2 ejections, a passed ball, an error, and a ball thrown at Cameron Rupp’s head. Gary Cohen called it a candidate for the worst game in MLB history. It truly was something to behold. After Alec Asher’s incredible struggles in the 1st inning, the Mets bullpen (sans their best relievers, of course) one-upped him.
As the Mets battle for home field advantage, these games simply can’t happen. When Robles was ejected in the 6th, I didn’t comprehend Bob Geren‘s decision not to bring in Addison Reed. Bobby Parnell, who has certainly been better later, was absolutely no help, as he gave up the lead after a couple walks and a line-drive single to Freddy Galvis. Through that ridiculous 6th inning, neither Reed nor Clippard entered the game. Instead, it was a combination of Parnell, Dario Alvarez, and Carlos Torres who gave up the lead.
Thank goodness, though, nothing is broken in Yoenis Cespedes’s left hand. Wilmer Flores’s stiff back may be more of a concern, but it does not appear like Cespedes will be out for a lengthy period of time.
POSITIVES: Daniel Murphy and Michael Conforto continue to show more power than expected, Murphy with his career-high 14th home run of the season and Conforto with his 9th. Curtis Granderson was 2/5 with a double and a run scored, while Addison Reed pitched a clean outing in relief. Dario Alvarez made an appearance and retired a lefty, so that’s something.
NEGATIVES: The bullpen, the manager, the bench coach, and the downright ugliness. The game was on the line in the 6th inning, and the failure of Bob Geren or Terry Collins (whoever was making the decision) to bring in Addison Reed or Tyler Clippard is downright insulting to the fans. Bobby Parnell, Dario Alvarez, and Carlos Torres, all of whom are coming off either injury or ineffectiveness, were entrusted to a key inning. The three relievers, at least two of which will not be on the postseason roster, failed the test. Somehow, Geren felt the need to bring Reed and Clippard in after the fact. Too late, buddy. Aside from Addison Reed, all the relievers were guilty to some extent, even if they weren’t charged with a run. Logan Verrett, apart from the 2nd inning, was shaky during his entire start. The offense blew multiple opportunities after converting on their opportunities in the first inning.
The Mets take on the Phillies in the series finale tomorrow at 12:05, a changed game time to accommodate the weather forecast. Sean Gilmartin or Tim Stauffer (likely both, since neither were used tonight) will face off against Jerad Eickhoff.
WPA Winners: None over .100
WPA Losers: Bullpen (-.505) (-.633 without Goeddel, Alvarez, and Reed, who had net positive contributions)
- Daniel Murphy hits a 3-run home run, Mets up 3-0, 1st inning (.157)
- Michael Conforto hits a 2-run home run, Mets up 5-0, 1st inning (.108)
- Freddy Galvis hits a 2-run single, game tied 5-5, 6th inning (-.237)
- Aaron Altherr scores on a wild pitch by Carlos Torres, Phillies up 6-5, 6th inning (-.167)
- Darin Ruf hits a 2-run double, Phillies down 5-2, 3rd inning (-.104)
- Cody Asche hits an RBI single, Phillies down 5-3, 5th inning (-.102)
The Mets (89-68) take on the Philadelphia Phillies (60-97) at 7:05 at Citizen’s Bank Park in Philadelphia. Logan Verrett (3.40 ERA, 4.32 FIP, 0.97 WHIP, 42 1/3 IP over 3 starts and 13 relief appearances) squares off against Alec Asher (7.52, 5.99, 1.56, 26 1/3 IP over 5 starts). The Mets are playing for home field advantage in the NLDS against the Los Angeles Dodgers, and currently hold a 1 game lead as well as the tiebreaker. The magic number to clinch home field advantage remains at 4, with 5 games to play for both the Mets and the Dodgers.
Logan Verrett makes tonight’s start, first in place of Jon Niese (who asked to be moved to the bullpen in advance of the NLDS) and Steven Matz, who was pushed back a day with right side stiffness. Matz is expected to be ready to pitch tomorrow.
- Curtis Granderson, RF (L)
- David Wright, 3B (R)
- Daniel Murphy, 2B (L)
- Yoenis Cespedes, CF (R)
- Lucas Duda, 1B (L)
- Travis d’Arnaud, C (R)
- Michael Conforto, LF (L)
- Wilmer Flores, SS (R)
- Logan Verrett, P (R)
- Freddy Galvis, SS (S)
- Odubel Herrera, CF (L)
- Aaron Altherr, LF (R)
- Darin Ruf, 1B (R)
- Cody Asche, 3B (L)
- Darnell Sweeney, 2B (L)
- Brian Bogusevic, RF (L)
- Cameron Rupp, C (R)
- Alec Asher, P (R)
Mets news: Tomorrow’s game time has been moved from 7:05 PM to 12:05 PM due to anticipated inclement weather. Also, Dario Alvarez has returned to the team.
While it may seem as if Phillies first baseman Darin Ruf has been a thorn in the Mets’ side this season, that doesn’t seem to be the case. Though Ruf has hit 3 large home runs (all 3-run shots), he is only hitting .167/.189/.417 against Mets pitching this season (.258 wOBA). In only 29 plate appearances against the Mets this season, Cameron Rupp has been much more of a thorn in the Mets’ side; he has hit .296/.367/.444 (.357 wOBA) against the Mets in that time.
Meanwhile, the Mets have torn up Phillies pitching this season. The 1 through 8 batters in the Mets order have the following wOBAs against the Phillies this season (MLB average for non-pitchers is .318):
.345, .385, .378, .450, .561, .491, .494, .328
The Mets are also 14-3 against the Phillies this season, even after last night’s loss. Let’s hope they can keep those lopsided numbers up against Philadelphia over the next couple days as the Mets compete for NLDS home field advantage.
As always, LET’S GO METS!
Game 1 of the National League Division Series between the Mets and Dodgers is in only 9 days, on Friday, October 9th at a time and place to be determined. Here are my predictions for the roster in round one:
The starting 8:
No surprises here. Barring injury, these 8 are all locks for the roster (though Flores and Cuddyer will certainly get some starts).
No surprises here as well. The only uncertainty is Eric Young Jr., who will almost certainly be left off the roster if Juan Uribe is healthy and ready to play.
Maybe Bartolo Colon will be the fourth starter, but I think it’ll be Matz. Assuming his side injury is nothing major, this should be what we see.
Here’s where there’s the most uncertainty. Familia, Clippard, Reed, and Robles are all locks. Colon and Niese are very likely, and the final spot will likely go to Erik Goeddel or Sean Gilmartin. My money’s on Goeddel, since he can be a situational right-hander in the earlier innings. Gilmartin is not a lefty specialist (nor is Niese, for that matter), but Niese has a much longer track record with the Mets. Plus, with Niese and Colon in the bullpen, they won’t need another long-relief type.
A couple of things could throw a wrench into the plan. Don’t be shocked to see Carlos Torres in the postseason bullpen if he can prove his health over the next few days. Similarly, don’t count out Dario Alvarez or Eric O’Flaherty. Alvarez has rejoined the team, but he may be as much of a long shot as Jerry Blevins. With O’Flaherty, the team’s desire to have a situational lefty in the bullpen may trump his terrible performance so far. I certainly wouldn’t include him, since I think Goeddel, Gilmartin, and Torres are all far superior options.
The Mets have not shied away from platoons this season, a move I see as a smart one. Others, like perpetual cliché machine Harold Reynolds, believe a team’s struggles can stem from failure to use a regular lineup. For example, when commenting last night on the Dodgers’ use of platoons, especially in their outfield, Reynolds commented that he believed it would be their undoing in the NLDS against the Mets.
Platoons have served the Mets well for the season, but with Juan Uribe hurt and Juan Lagares struggling, it is very possible the only extra right-handed bat that enters the lineup against lefties is Michael Cuddyer (in place of Michael Conforto). Since 3/4 of the Dodgers pitchers the Mets will face will likely be left-handed (Clayton Kershaw, Brett Anderson, Alex Wood), it is very likely we see a lot more of Curtis Granderson, Lucas Duda, and Daniel Murphy against lefties. However, if Juan Uribe is healthy and ready to go, don’t be shocked to see him at 2nd base in place of Murphy or Duda (with Murphy sliding to 1st base).
The Mets (82-61) defeated the Atlanta Braves (56-88) by a score of 10-7 in 10 innings. The game was a defensive nightmare for the Mets, the likes of which they have not seen in a long time. It was contagious, affecting everyone from Daniel Murphy to usually-strong defenders Curtis Granderson, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Lucas Duda, and Juan Uribe. Only two official errors were charged to the Mets. However, Daniel Murphy made up for his misplay in the 9th inning with a 2-out 3-run home run to tie the game. The Mets took the lead for good on a Hector Olivera error and a couple bases-loaded walks from the Atlanta bullpen.
The Mets got off to a fast start with a 2-run home run by Michael Conforto after a single by Juan Uribe. The Mets were up 2-0 in the 2nd inning. Kirk Nieuwenhuis doubled to follow, but was caught trying to steal third to cool off the threat. The Braves countered with 2 runs in the bottom of the 3rd inning, after leadoff singles by Nick Markakis and Daniel Castro. The single by Markakis was upheld on review, after Jon Niese‘s throw to first handcuffed Lucas Duda. RBI singles by Adonis Garcia and Andrelton Simmons tied up the game.
In the bottom of the 6th inning, Andrelton Simmons singled to lead off the inning. Christian Bethancourt followed with a ground ball to Juan Uribe which skipped off his glove into left field. A tailor-made double play off the bat, the Braves now had 1st and 3rd with no one out. Niese limited the damage, however, and after a sacrifice fly to Michael Bourn, he retired the next two batters. The Braves took a 3-2 lead.
The Mets came right back in the top of the 7th, after a leadoff walk to Kirk Nieuwenhuis. Nieuwenhuis advanced on a groundout and went to 3rd on a single by Kevin Plawecki. Pinch hitter Michael Cuddyer was hit by a pitch, and Curtis Granderson singled in two runs against left-handed reliever Matt Marksberry. Marksberry got out of the inning without allowing any more runs.
In the bottom of the 7th, Tim Stauffer, his first appearance as a Met, allowed a leadoff single to Daniel Castro. Freddie Freeman followed with a hard ground ball that skipped by Daniel Murphy, putting runners at 1st and 3rd. It was another ball that should have been a double play, but Murphy failed to get his body in front of the ball, and missed while trying to stab at the ball with his glove. What followed was a chopper right back to Stauffer, who elected to get the double play and let the tying run score rather than throw to the plate. The game was tied at 4-4, and after working around a hit batsman, Stauffer got out of the inning.
Top of the 8th, after a 1-out walk to Michael Conforto, pinch runner Eric Young Jr. was thrown out trying to steal second, on a fantastic play by catcher Christian Bethancourt. The Mets were turned aside, and Bethancourt singled against Stauffer to lead off the bottom of the 8th. Dario Alvarez came in and got Michael Bourn out on a sacrifice bunt, hit pinch hitter Nick Swisher with a pitch, and got Nick Markakis to fly out to left. Daniel Castro singled down the left field line to score Bethancourt from 2nd, and Freddie Freeman sent a fly ball to left that Kirk Nieuwenhuis lost in either the sun or the wind. The ball landed foul, and Freeman’s at-bat continued. Freeman walked and Bobby Parnell came in to face Adonis Garcia. Garcia sent a shallow fly ball to right field, and Curtis Granderson slid but lost the ball in the sun. The misplayed single scored two runs to give the Braves a 7-4 lead.
In the top of the 9th, the Braves sent out Peter Moylan for his first save since 2012. Moylan struck out Ruben Tejada and Kevin Plawecki before defensive replacement Juan Lagares doubled to right-center. Ryan Kelly came in to try and get the save, and walked Curtis Granderson before allowing a 3-run home run to Daniel Murphy. That tied the game at 7.
After an easy bottom of the 9th by Parnell, journeyman right-handed pitcher Edwin Jackson came in for the top of the 10th. After getting Juan Uribe to pop out and pinch hitter Yoenis Cespedes to strike out, the wheels came off for Jackson. A walk to Kirk Nieuwenhuis and a single to Ruben Tejada put runners on the corners with 2 outs. What followed was a sharp ground ball to 3rd by Kevin Plawecki, where third baseman Hector Olivera made a nice stop. However, throwing to 2nd to get the forceout, Olivera threw wide, pulling second baseman Daniel Castro off the bag, allowing the go-ahead run to score. The play was upheld on video review. Jackson then proceeded to walk Juan Lagares and Curtis Granderson, forcing in a run. Danny Burawa then entered the game, and after walking Murphy to force in another run, retired Lucas Duda to end the threat. The Mets had a 10-7 lead.
Addison Reed worked around yet another error (this one by Ruben Tejada) in the bottom of the 10th to earn the save.
As Gary Cohen said when calling Murphy’s home run, “this team just doesn’t know how to lose.” What an odd game and what a dramatic win. This was the 7th straight game the Mets have scored 3 or more runs between the 7th and 9th inning.
Aside from the various defensive miscues, today saw bounce-back outings for both Jon Niese and Bobby Parnell. On a day when David Wright, Travis d’Arnaud, Wilmer Flores, Tyler Clippard, and Jeurys Familia never even appeared in the game (and Yoenis Cespedes struck out in his only plate appearance), this is a fantastic win.
Coupled with the Nationals’ 5-0 win against Miami, the Mets remain 9.5 games up in the division and reduce their magic number to 11. Rookies Logan Verrett and Justin Nicolino square off tomorrow at Citi Field at 7:10 as the Mets open a 3 game series against the Miami Marlins.
- Kevin Plawecki (.430)
- Curtis Granderson (.425)
- Daniel Murphy (.248)
- Michael Conforto (.198)
- Tim Stauffer (-.251)
- Dario Alvarez (-.237)
- Jon Niese (-.172 pitching, -.043 at the plate, -.215 total)
- Lucas Duda (-.120)
- Daniel Murphy hits a 3-run home run with two outs in the 9th inning, ties the game at 7-7. (.384 WPA)
- Kevin Plawecki reached on a fielder’s choice, error on 3rd baseman Hector Olivera, with 2 outs in the top of the 10th inning. Kirk Nieuwenhuis scores to make it 8-7 Mets. (.352 WPA)
- Curtis Granderson singles to right with 1 out in the top of the 7th, scoring Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Kevin Plawecki. Mets lead 4-3. (.337 WPA)
- Daniel Castro singles to left with 2 outs in the bottom of the 8th against Dario Alvarez, Christian Bethancourt scores. Braves take a 3-2 lead. (-.306)
- Freddie Freeman singled to right, Daniel Castro advanced to 3rd. No one out, bottom of the 7th against Tim Stauffer. (This is the play that should have been an error on Murphy (-.212 WPA)
The Mets (79-61) defeated the Braves (56-85) by a score of 7-2 after a 2 hour and 20 minute rain delay. This officially eliminates the Braves from postseason contention and reduces the Mets’ magic number to 16.
After a long rain delay (see tweet by Kevin Plawecki), tonight’s game started with technical difficulties, and pregame/postgame hosts Gary Apple and Nelson Figueroa did some emergency play-by-play. The game remained scoreless through the first four, with each starter working in and out of a jam or two. In the top of the fifth, Juan Uribe singled, followed by two fly outs. Kelly Johnson had an infield single, and Kevin Plawecki lined a ball into the right-center gap to score both runners. Next batter, Bartolo Colon, lined a single up the middle to score Plawecki from 2nd. The Mets had a 3-0 lead.
In the top of the 7th, after two leadoff walks, Braves reliever Ross Detwiler was removed from the game due to a hamstring injury. After a flyout by Duda, Juan Uribe singled in the Mets’ fourth run of the game. A double play off the bat of Michael Conforto ended the threat.
Colon, meanwhile, was scoreless through six. He reached 31 consecutive scoreless innings pitched, a new record for a pitcher 42 or older (he broke the record of 27 innings, held by Warren Spahn and Cy Young). He now has the 3rd longest scoreless innings streak in Mets history, behind only Jerry Koosman and R.A. Dickey. Colon ran into some trouble in the bottom of the 7th though, allowing, in order, a single to Nick Swisher, triple to Jace Peterson, and single to Andrelton Simmons. This made it 4-2 and ended Colon’s scoreless streak. He followed by getting a force out and a flyout, bringing up Nick Markakis with a runner on 1st. Dario Alvarez was brought in to face Markakis, who promptly flied to Kirk Nieuwenhuis in left field (double switched into the game with Alvarez).
The Mets tacked on a run in the top of the 8th after a leadoff single by Wilmer Flores. A wild pitch, flyout, and groundout brought pinch runner Eric Young Jr. around to score. Dario Alvarez remained on for the bottom of the 8th and retired the side in order, an impressive showing for a Mets team that has been looking for a reliable left handed reliever all season. This too comes on a night when Hansel Robles, Jeurys Familia, and Tyler Clippard were all unavailable. In the 9th, Curtis Granderson and Lucas Duda both walked, setting up a line drive double off the bat of Juan Uribe, scoring both runners. Addison Reed pitched the 9th for the Mets and worked around a walk and an infield hit to retire the side.
The Mets have now equaled their win total from last season with 22 games still left to play. They extend their division lead to 7.5 games (Washington was off tonight) and reduce their magic number to 16. Rookies Steven Matz and Matt Wisler square off at 7:35 tomorrow night.
- Kevin Plawecki (.282)
- Bartolo Colon (.172 pitching, .030 batting for .202 total)
- Juan Uribe (.096)
- Michael Conforto (-.116)
The Mets (76-61) defeated the Nationals (71-66) by a score of 8-5. The Mets led the game 3-0, fell behind 5-3, and rallied to win it 8-5.
In game one of a very important series, the Mets got off to a good start against Max Scherzer. Curtis Granderson led off with a double over Jayson Werth‘s head (a ball he lost in the sun) and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Scherzer, however, retired the next three to strand Granderson at third. First pitch of the second inning, however, Michael Conforto hit an opposite field home run that just hit over the wall (and perhaps deflected off of Jayson Werth’s glove). Two batters later, Kelly Johnson hit a home run to right center, putting the Mets ahead 2-0 in the 2nd inning. Yoenis Cespedes followed with a solo home run in the 4th inning, and the Mets had a 3-0 lead against Max Scherzer.
Jon Niese looked good at first, retiring the side in the first inning, and working out of jams in the 2nd and third. Location was a bit off, but he was getting grounders left and right. Then in the fourth inning, Niese imploded, allowing a leadoff single to Ryan Zimmerman, an swinging bunt infield single to Yunel Escobar, and a walk to Ian Desmond. Wilson Ramos continued to kill the Mets, lining a low curveball over the left field fence for a grand slam. After a single by Michael Taylor and a sacrifice bunt by Max Scherzer, Jayson Werth lined a double to center field, scoring Taylor and knocking Niese out of the game. The Mets were down 5-3, with just one out in the inning.
Carlos Torres entered in a double switch with Ruben Tejada coming in to play shortstop and Wilmer Flores moving to 2nd, while Kelly Johnson came out of the game. He struck out Anthony Rendon, intentionally walked Bryce Harper, and got Ryan Zimmerman to pop out to David Wright in a long at-bat.
However, the Mets came right back in the top of the fifth. Ruben Tejada and Curtis Granderson lined back-to-back doubles to cut the Nationals’ lead to 5-4. In the bottom of the inning, Torres allowed a leadoff single to Yunel Escobar, followed by a liner at Ruben Tejada that tipped off his glove into left-center field (inexplicably called a hit by the official scorer). Torres followed by getting Wilson Ramos to fly out and Michael Taylor to ground out back to the mound. While fielding Taylor’s grounder, however, Torres injured his calf and had to be taken out of the game. Erik Goeddel came out of the bullpen and got Max Scherzer to ground out to end the inning.
In the 6th, Yoenis Cespedes led off with a booming double and after a fly out by Michael Conforto, coaxed a balk from Max Scherzer to reach third base. It was Scherzer’s first balk of the season. Travis d’Arnaud followed with a line drive to Jayson Werth, a sacrifice fly scoring Cespedes from 3rd. The Mets had tied the game 5-5 against Max Scherzer. In the bottom of the inning, Erik Goeddel coaxed two fly balls for the first two outs. Rookie Dario Alvarez followed, in his first major league appearance of the season, with a strikeout of Bryce Harper. He had fallen behind 3-0 to Harper before getting him to chase a slider for strike three.
In the top of the 7th, Wilmer Flores led off with a single against reliever Blake Treinen, followed by a Ruben Tejada bunt in which Treinen barely got the force out at 2nd base. Lefty Felipe Rivero entered to face Granderson and walked him, putting runners at 1st and 2nd with one out for David Wright. Righty Casey Janssen allowed a liner just past Ian Desmond to score Tejada from 2nd, and the Mets had a 6-5 lead. Matt Thornton entered, the fourth reliever of the inning, and allowed a sacrifice fly to Daniel Murphy to make it 7-5. Yoenis Cespedes followed with another booming double to right field, barely scoring David Wright from first base. The Mets had an 8-5 lead.
Hansel Robles entered the game in the bottom of the 7th and looked dominant. He retired all six batters he faced in the 7th and 8th, striking out four and using the quick pitch to his advantage. Since Tyler Clippard was not available (he threw 41 pitches yesterday), Robles’ great effort was perfectly timed. Jeurys Familia allowed a leadoff single in the 9th, but struck out Anthony Rendon, Bryce Harper, and Ryan Zimmerman to end the game.
What a huge win for this Mets team, coming off a tough weekend in Miami and distractions galore with Matt Harvey. The Mets now lead the Nationals by 5 games. Matt Harvey faces Jordan Zimmermann tomorrow, with Jacob deGrom facing Stephen Strasburg on Wednesday.
- Yoenis Cespedes (.285)
- Bullpen (Torres, Goeddel, Alvarez, Robles, Familia) (.279)
- Curtis Granderson (.269)
- David Wright (.113)
WPA Losers: Jon Niese (-.482)