After two big wins early in the week against the Orioles and Yankees, the Mets needed a big weekend. The Mets, who seemed to lack emotion during their slump, now look like they’re having fun again. They dropped the first game of the series on Friday, a tough 5-3 loss. After that, however, the Mets rebounded and won the next two, and lost a Labor Day heartbreaker on Monday. The Mets remain four games under .500 for the season after the series. Mets starting pitchers, with the exception of David Peterson Monday, each pitched well and gave the team good length. The offense had a great series as well, putting up 29 runs and beat up on the Phillies bullpen.
Mets Fall Friday Night
The Mets never led in Friday night’s series opener, a 5-3 loss. Starting pitcher Rick Porcello allowed two runs over six innings of work. He gave up just three hits, walked two batters, and struck out six. The Mets trailed 2-0 into the fifth inning when Michael Conforto homered to tie it at two. To try and preserve the tie, the Mets went to Jared Hughes who proceeded to give up a run in the seventh. Hughes would give up two more runs in the top of the 8th, putting the Mets down 5-2. The Mets attempted to make a comeback in the bottom of the 8th with a Dom Smith RBI single. With one out and two runners on, Robinson Cano hit a 112 mile per hour line drive down the right-field line. Rhys Hoskins was able to snag it and keep the game tied.
After Friday night’s loss, the Mets came out like a completely different team on Saturday. Seth Lugo gave up a home run to Rhys Hoskins in the first inning, his only blemish of the game. Lugo went five innings, allowed four hits and one run. Lugo struck out eight batters, his season-high since being moved to the rotation. The bullpen behind him pitched very well, allowing no runs over four innings and having five runners reach base. The Mets offense put up five runs, scoring in four straight innings. In the third inning, the Mets got RBI singles from Andres Gimenez and Michael Conforto. In the fourth, Gimenez struck again, this time with a sacrifice fly to the second baseman, Neil Walker. Todd Frazier was heads up on the bases to score as Walker caught the ball while backpedaling.
In the fifth inning, the Mets loaded the bases with nobody out and scratched across just one run. Dom Smith drove in that run with a fielder’s choice. Cano popped out and Frazier flew out to stop the bleeding. The final Met run came in the sixth inning, thanks to a Robinson Chirinos double. The Mets were unable to push a run across in the 7th inning when they had runners at first and third and nobody out. The bullpen was able to hold the lead and Edwin Diaz slammed the door in the ninth. Diaz struck out three in the inning, sandwiching two walks. The win put the Mets at four games under .500.
Sunday afternoon’s game was a blowout in all accounts. The Mets, with Jacob deGrom on the mound, finally gave him some run support. The Mets scored a run in the first and a run in the second and from there, they never looked back. deGrom’s only blemish was an Andrew Knapp home run to tie the game at one. deGrom allowed just three hits and two walks while striking out 12. deGrom’s 12th strikeout, his 70th of the year, was his second-most in a game this year. With four or five starts left for deGrom, there is potential for him to have 100 strikeouts in a 60 game season. deGrom’s ERA has crept down to 1.69 and his WHIP has reached .88.
The Mets capitalized on some Phillies mistakes early in the game. In the fourth inning, Dom Smith hit a leadoff double. The next man up, Cano, grounded one back to Phillies’ starter Aaron Nola. Nola had Smith in a rundown between second and third and a misplay allowed both runners to move up. After two strikeouts and an intentional walk, Nola looked like he was out of the woods. Gimenez stepped up and delivered a two-run single. In the fifth inning, with Conforto on second, Hoskins missed a ground ball hit by Cano which allowed the run to score. In the sixth inning, the Mets began to flex some muscle. Leading off the inning, Jeff McNeil hit his first home run of the season, a 401-foot blast hit at 103 miles per hour. Later in the inning, Brandon Nimmo homered to make the game 7-1.
In the 8th inning, the Mets put up a seven-spot to put the game out of reach at 14-1. Pete Alonso hit his second home run of the game, a two-run shot for his second and third RBIs of the day. Catcher Wilson Ramos, who struck out four times earlier in the game, also hit a home run to score the 14th Met run. The Mets ran away with the game to go to three games under .500 headed into Monday’s series finale.
Mets Fall Short Monday
Monday’s finale started off incredibly sour for New York. The Phillies put up five runs in the first two innings against starter David Peterson. That as far as Peterson would go, pitching just two innings allowing five runs on three hits. He also walked four batters. The fourth and fifth Phillies runs were scored on a Hoskins two run homerun. The Phillies would get another run in the fifth inning to lead 6-0. Mets reliever Erasmo Ramirez went five innings and allowed just the one run to keep the game close. The Mets got three up on the board in the fifth after a two out RBI double from Conforto. Conforto was followed by a J.D. Davis RBI double, Davis by a Smith RBI double.
The Mets’ big inning was the 7th, where they scored four runs. With one out and runners on first and second, Cano grounded into a fielder’s choice and Phillies shortstop Didi Gregorious made a bad throw to allow a run to score. Alonso followed Cano with a walk and McNeil hit his second homer of the year to give the Mets the lead at 7-6. In the top of the 8th, Jeurys Familia allowed a two out run to tie the game. After a scoreless ninth inning for both teams, the Phillies struck in extra innings. With two outs and a runner on base, Jean Segura, who is now breaching the realm of “Met Killer” hit a two-run homer off of new acquisition Miguel Castro. The Phillies took a 9-7 lead, just a demoralizing hit. The Mets attempted a comeback in the ninth, but it was shut down.
The Labor Day loss put the Mets back to four games under .500 and two games back of the eighth seed. The Mets, who have 18 games left, have to jump four teams in order to make the playoffs. Losing today really hurts those chances. The team has to jump Milwaukee, Colorado, and San Francisco to get to the ninth seed, and then jump whichever team is the eighth seed. With the only semblance of a real starting rotation, being deGrom and Lugo one and two, and absolutely no bullpen, the Mets are in trouble. The team, which looked so good on Saturday and Sunday, has shown their inconsistencies yet again. Against a team they’re chasing, the Phillies, this game was not one you could afford to lose the way they did. The Phillies made mistakes, practically giving the Mets the game.
In the early innings, the Mets looked like the team that was going back into their shell, but they came out and took the lead late. To give it back almost immediately really signified to me that the team is not headed in the right direction. No matter how much the team looks like it’s improving or looks like it’s going to take the next step, it always takes a step back. The Mets need a hot three weeks to compete for a playoff spot. 12 of their last 18 games are against teams over .500, including back to back three-game series against the first-place Braves and Rays. They also play the second-place Phillies and Blue Jays back to back for six games. A tough road ahead for a team just barely hanging on.
STANDING: 4th in NL East