Since Thursday night’s marathon game in Miami, each Met game has looked shockingly alike: close until late, when a poor managerial decision, bullpen arm, or over-the-hill third baseman makes an error that costs the team a heartbreaker. It looked like last night might be one of those nights again, but, against all odds, the Mets persevered and took the second game of the series from the Phillies, 5-4.
Robert Gsellman, who had not looked like the same pitcher from 2016 so far this season, looked much better last night, despite giving up three earned runs. The runs scored in curious ways: on a ground out, on a pitcher’s RBI single, and due to a dorked hit (to quote the great Keith Hernandez’s favorite term for a bloop) that somehow managed to get into the stands.
Aside from those fluky situations, Gsellman looked great, striking out seven and only walking one over his seven-plus innings tonight. He also became the only Mets starter to pitch into the eighth inning this season, if even for only one batter.
That one batter—Aaron Altherr—would come around to score in the eighth, tying the game, and making it look like last night would be like every other night this week.
But then he came though again—the mighty, never-doubted, totally accepted since Day 1 Jay Bruce.
Bruce hit two line drive home runs to right field in the sixth and eighth innings, accounting for all of the Mets’ offense with two swings of the bat. Bruce is now tied with Yoenis Cespedes for the second most home runs in the majors, and took what is believed to be his first Citi Field curtain call after his second dinger.
And Bruce better continue hitting, because two offensive pieces for the Mets went down last night as well. Lucas Duda and Travis d’Arnaud were both injured in the top of the fifth inning , and while both are considered day to day at this point, it wasn’t great news for the Mets.
Duda was injured when Cesar Hernandez ran across his arm when running to first base. Duda hyper-extended his elbow on the play, and came out of the game in the bottom of that inning, replaced by Wilmer Flores.
d’Arnaud was hurt in very d’Arnaud way: he was trying to throw out a base stealer, and sort of stumbled after releasing the ball, colliding with Altherr’s bat for a right wrist contusion. Rene Rivera replaced d’Arnaud in the seventh inning after d’Arnaud felt he could no longer swing a bat or throw in his present condition.
The bullpen was good, with Jerry Blevins getting two big outs before letting his second inherited runner of the year score, before Hansel Robles came in for the third out of the eighth inning. Robles earned his third win of the year thanks to that one batter.
In the ninth, Addison Reed gave up a one-out triple to Freddy Galvis, who eventually scored on a sacrifice fly by the next batter, Daniel Nava. Maybe a non-Bruce right fielder would have kept that to a double? Maybe? Reed struck out Hernandez to end the game, snap the losing streak, and earn his (potentially) last save for a while, as Jeurys Familia returns to the team tonight.
In addition to Familia’s return, tonight sees Noah Syndergaard take on Aaron Nola at 7:10 in Queens.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big winner: Jay Bruce, 72.3% WPA+
Big loser: Curtis Granderson, -17.5% WPA+
Teh aw3s0mest play: Jay Bruce’s first home run, +48.5% WPA+
Teh sux0rest play: Curtis Granderson hits into a double play in the 6th, -11.5% WPA+
Total pitcher WPA: 1.0% WPA+
Total batter WPA: 49.0% WPA+
GWRBI!: Jay Bruce