If the Mets are to get themselves back into legitimate contention for a postseason spot this year, they’re going to need to take advantage of the—to borrow a phrase from Keith Hernandez—second-division teams out there. On Tuesday night at Citi Field, they did exactly that, as they put together one of their best first innings in a long time at the plate and proceeded to cruise to victory.
First, though, we’ll get to the downside of the game. Some big parts of Matt Harvey’s final line looks halfway decent. He struck out six and gave up two runs in five innings, which isn’t spectacular but is at least serviceable. But he walked four, needed 103 pitches just to get that deep into the game, and mostly didn’t look very dominant in the process. And if not for a single that hit Padres baserunner Austin Hedges to end the top of the fourth inning, there’s a chance the line would have looked worse.
But to Harvey’s credit, it wasn’t his worst start of the year. Against a weak-hitting team like San Diego, you’d prefer to see him put together six or seven innings with somewhere between zero and two runs allowed, but this start wasn’t a big step back, either.
At the plate, Michael Conforto had about as good a game as a leadoff hitter can have, hitting a home run to begin the bottom of the first and singling in two more runs later in the inning after the Mets had already scored five. That seven-zip lead was really all they’d need, but Conforto hit another home run leading off the fourth, and Lucas Duda, who had hit a two-run double during that seven-run first inning, singled in one more run in the seventh.
Josh Smoker, who had just returned to the roster in place of Hansel Robles, gave up a solo home run to the first batter he faced, but he and Paul Sewald, Jerry Blevins, and Fernando Salas combined to keep the Padres from scoring again the rest of the way. And yes, Jerry Blevins really did pitch in this lopsided game.
And one other thing: Jay Bruce left the game early with back tightness. We’ll see how that ends up playing out.
With that, Robert Gsellman will take the hill for his first start in a bit and attempt to help the Mets win their second game against San Diego tonight.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big winners: Michael Conforto, +16.7% WPA
Big losers: none
Teh aw3s0mest play: Michael Conforto hits a leadoff home run in the first, +10.6% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Ryan Schmipf hits a solo home run in the sixth, -1.8% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: +9.2% WPA
Total batter WPA: +40.8% WPA
GWRBI!: Lucas Duda