Thanks to the a combination of good pitching, good defense, and good hitting—the holy trinity of baseball—the Mets beat the Marlins at Citi Field on Friday night. Coming off a series in which they took three of four from the division-rival Atlanta Braves and, before that, winning two of three games from the Texas Rangers, the Mets continued their recent stretch of success.
It all began with 24-year-old Zack Wheeler, who set the Marlins down in order in the first and second innings of the game. And although the Mets didn’t score in the first, either, they got on the board with a couple of runs in the bottom of the second.
With two outs and nobody on base, Juan Lagares doubled. Shortstop Ruben Tejada, who could have been pitched around or intentionally walked with Wheeler on deck, singled to score Lagares. And Wheeler then followed up with a hard-hit double to score Tejada. The Mets almost scored twice more as Curtis Granderson hit a long fly ball, but rather than going over the fence, it came up a bit short, and the inning was over. Still, the Mets had a two-run lead on a night that Zack Wheeler looked good on the mound.
Wheeler went back out and threw a scoreless third, though his early perfect game came to an end with a one-out double. The Mets, however, scored twice more in the bottom of the inning as Lucas Duda hit a two-run home run after a one-out single by David Wright.
In the fourth, Wheeler flirted with trouble, but that’s when the Mets’ defense showed up. Donovan Solano led off with a single, and after Wheeler retired Giancarlo Stanton on a fly ball, Casey McGehee doubled down the left field line. As the ball made its way into Citi Field’s left field corner, Kirk Nieuwenhuis did a good job of picking it up and throwing it to the cutoff man, Ruben Tejada, who then made a strong, accurate throw to Travis d’Arnaud at home plate to retire Solano as he attempted to score.
McGehee had advanced to third on the throw to home plate, and he very nearly scored when Garret Jones put down a bunt. But Wheeler made a great play fielding the bunt and throwing Jones out at first—on a play that was close enough to want a replay discussion—to end the inning.
Miami broke through with one run in the top of the fifth against Wheeler, but in the bottom of that inning, David Wright hit a two-run home run into the second deck in left field. The Mets were up 6-1, and after Wheeler’s scoreless sixth inning, the Mets tacked on one more run on a Kirk Nieuwenhuis triple and a Juan Lagares single. That was the team’s last run of the evening, but it was more than enough.
For some reason, Wheeler started the seventh inning, having already thrown 106 pitches on the night. He got a couple of outs relatively quickly, at least, before Terry Collins turned to Josh Edgin. He set down the first man he faced to end the seventh and retired the only other batter he faced to begin the eighth. Vic Black finished the eighth, and Jeurys Familia—who very recently was unavailable because of a tired arm—threw the ninth to finish off the game.
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Win Probability Added
Big winners: Zack Wheeler, +16.8% WPA (pitching), Zack Wheeler, +11.2% WPA (hitting), Ruben Tejda, +11.1% WPA
Big losers: none
Teh aw3s0mest play: Lucas Duda’s two-run home run in the third, +12.0% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Christian Yelich’s run-scoring single in the fifth, -5.8% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: +17.4% WPA
Total batter WPA: +32.6% WPA
GWRBI!: Zack Wheeler