After the New York Mets’ positive COVID tests canceled last weekend’s series, the Mets and Yankees played in a rare five-game series. The weekend began with two great Met wins in a doubleheader on Friday. Saturday and Sunday’s games were incredible 180 degree turns for the Mets. On Friday, the bullpen is what saved the day for the Mets.
In contrast, the Mets bullpen was given credit for all three losses on Saturday and Sunday. The Mets, who looked like they had turned a corner on Friday, had gone back to four games under .500. After playing the Yankees, the Mets had a one-game make up against the Marlins on Monday. The game against the Marlins, coming with just 26 games remaining in the season, would likely make or break the season.
Game one and two against the Yankees were about two of the best wins you could imagine. The New York Mets trailed in both games and came back late in the game to win both. In game one, the Mets were given a boost on the home run ball. Pete Alonso hit a three-run home run to tie the game at four. Later, Dominic Smith and Jake Marisnick went back to back to give the Mets a 6-4 lead. The Mets would win the game by that score, taking game one.
In the nightcap, the Mets would trail 3-1 late. Brandon Nimmo delivered an RBI double in the fifth inning to bring the Mets within one. In the bottom of the seventh with the tying run on second, Amed Rosario took an Aroldis Chapman pitch into the left-field seats. Ballgame over, Mets sweep the doubleheader.
The pitching in the first two games, specifically the bullpen was immaculate. Met relievers allowed zero runs in seven innings. If the bullpen had stayed like that all weekend, the Mets definitely walked out of Yankee Stadium with 3+ wins. Over the last three games, the bullpen accounted for all three losses and gave up 11 runs in 11 ⅓ innings.
On Saturday afternoon the Mets suffered a tough walk-off loss. In the bottom of the first, on Robert Gsellman’s 4th pitch Luke Voit hit a towering home run. The lead stuck until the eighth inning when Wilson Ramos hit a game-tying home run off of Adam Ottavino. The Mets were primed for another comeback win with the shift in momentum.
After a quiet bottom of the eighth and top of the ninth, the Mets called on Dellin Betances to preserve the tie. Betances would walk Clint Frazier to lead off the inning. After a Brett Gardner strikeout, a Jordy Mercer single set up first and third with one out. With Erik Kratz at the plate, Betances sailed a fastball to the backstop which allowed Frazier to score. A tough loss, after the bullpen had previously gone four shutout innings in that game.
If you thought Saturday was tough, the first game of Sunday’s doubleheader was by far the worst loss of the year. The Mets took a 7-2 lead into the seventh and final inning. Jared Hughes, pitching for the third day in a row could not lock it down. With a runner on first and two outs, Tyler Wade drew a walk. Thairo Estrada was hit by a pitch to load the bases.
With the bases loaded and two outs, Luke Voit hit a weak ground ball that should’ve ended the game. The Mets were shifting, even though the bases were loaded, and the ball snuck into the right field. Two runs scored and Conforto, who threw toward third, had Estrada out. The usually sure-handed Andrés Gimenez mishandled the throw which prolonged the game.
9th and Extra Innings
In comes Edwin Diaz to try and close out the game. With two strikes on Aaron Hicks, Diaz spiked a slider to bring home Estrada. On the next pitch, Hicks took a belt-high fastball and put in the first row of the right-field bleachers. A game that the Mets should have run away with, was now headed to extra innings. Met hitters struck out three times in the eighth and were unable to move Michael Conforto past second base.
In the bottom, Diaz stayed on and got two outs in the inning. With runners on first and second with two outs, Gio Urshela poked a single to right to win it. With Mike Tauchman scoring the winning run, the Mets had suffered their worst loss of the year.
They lost a game they had no business losing. For them to lose that game is comparable to losing that game in Washington in 2019. We all remember it, September 3rd, 2019. The Mets took a 10-4 lead into the ninth. The game ended with Edwin Diaz allowing a three-run home run to Kurt Suzuki to win it. It’s just a game that knocks all momentum out of a team.
The Mets, who had made their way back to one game under, lost all they had worked for. It’s just unbelievable how often we see the team do this. They get our hopes up just enough, before reverting back to the team that can’t get out of their own way. The momentum loss showed in the second game of the doubleheader.
The Mets bats, which were red hot early in the day, could not get anything going against Deivi Garcia. Garcia, who was making his major league debut, allowed one run (unearned) on four hits. Garcia got off to about as good a start as you could, setting down the first nine Mets. Luke Voit’s fielding error followed by Dom Smith’s single allowed the Mets to tie up the game at one.
But again, the bullpen looked terrible in the late innings. Drew Smith came on to pitch the eighth inning and walked the leadoff man. He retired the next batter before intentionally walking Tauchman to load the bases. The struggling Gary Sanchez was called on to pinch-hit for Kratz and would proceed to hit a grand slam. The Mets attempted to fight back in the eighth, but it was not enough in the 5-2 loss.
The Mets, who looked so good early on in the weekend really just lost it all. That carried over into Monday against Miami. The Mets had a 2-0 lead in this game and gave Jacob deGrom some run support. The game really fell apart in the sixth inning though. deGrom gave up four runs, though just one was earned. He was hit hard, though an error by Alonso is what prolonged the inning. Unlike the deGrom we normally see, he could not control the damage when things got out of hand. The Mets bats could not come alive enough to make a comeback and they dropped the game 5-3.
The Mets have now fallen to five games under .500. With just 25 games to go, and a large number of inconsistencies, it is uncertain the Mets are contenders. Even with eight-team expanded playoffs, the Mets may not even contend for the final seed. In order to finish at .500, the Mets will need to go 15-10 down the stretch. That will not be anywhere near possible if they keep playing like they played these last four games.
The starting pitching has not been immaculate and the bullpen has been outrageous. Likely above all, the hitting has not been able to get runners in scoring position home. As it has been all season the Mets have not been able to hit in the clutch. If it continues, it’ll just be another letdown season for the Mets. A type of season we have become all too accustomed to.
STANDING: 4th NL East