The last time Rafael Montero faced the Reds he was lights-out and fell just shy of pitching a complete-game shutout. He was not quite as dominant in this game but still did just enough to pick up the win in the 6-1 victory.
Montero got some help from Brandon Nimmo in the first, who made another sensational diving grab in the outfield, but other than that hard-hit ball, Montero was perfect in the opening inning and it seemed he was picking up where he left off against Cincinnati.
However, the next four innings were not quite as easy for the resurgent righty. The second inning was the most damaging when a run scored on Scott Schebler’s sacrifice fly. The Reds also loaded the bases that inning with two-outs but Phillip Ervin popped up to end the threat.
It was more of the same in the third through fifth innings for Montero. Walks again became an issue for him, and in the third alone he walked two batters. However, he never completely fell apart and pitched out of it every time. In the fifth he had a strong inning and gave up just one single to Scooter Gennett, but with a high pitch count that was the end of his night. In his five innings of work he walked five but struck out five and gave up just the one run.
The Mets almost immediately erased the one-run deficit against Reds’ starter Homer Bailey. Bailey walked Dominic Smith with two-out in the second, and then Kevin Plawecki handed the Mets a lead with a blast to left.
That was the only scoring by either side until the sixth when Dominic Smith extended the lead with a RBI single. Despite giving up the three runs, Bailey was pitching a good game but ran out of steam when he came back out for the seventh. He hit Matt Reynolds with a pitch and then pinch-hittter Jacob deGrom was set to sacrifice bunt but he instead drew a walk. That was it for Bailey and reliever Michael Lorenzen allowed both those runners to score when, after a Jose Reyes sacrifice bunt, Norichika Aoki squeezed a single past a drawn-in infield. He scored the Mets’ sixth run when Asdrubal Cabrera blasted a double to right to finish off the scoring.
It was still a 2-1 ballgame when the bullpen first got the call in the sixth. Earlier in the season the bullpen perhaps got a bit overtaxed when the pitchers where not going deep into ballgames. The bullpen struggled to hold leads, especially in the middle innings, before Addison Reed could be given the opportunity to close it out in the ninth.
The bullpen looks a lot different than it did in the beginning of the year and in this game they were fantastic. Four different pitchers were used and they did not surrender a hit in four innings. Only Chasen Bradford allowed a baserunner on a walk, but he also pitched 1.2 innings and struck out four. Josh Smoker relieved Bradford and retired the only batter he faced, and both Jeurys Familia and Jamie Callahan pitched perfect innings to finish off the game.
The Mets have lost Reed but the bullpen has looked much better as of late, and could be a real strength of this team if the pieces Sandy Alderson acquired at the deadline turn out to be quality relievers. Chasen Bradford has been a nice surprise and could be the piece they had been missing to get them through the middle innings on nights when the starter does not go deep into the game.
Overall, it was a good game at Citi where every piece of the team did their job to earn the win.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big winners: Kevin Plawecki +19.5%, Rafael Montero +15.9%, Chasen Bradford +11.2%, Dominic Smith +10.4%
Big losers: Juan Lagares -14.4%
Teh aw3s0mest play: Kevin Plawecki home run in second
Teh sux0rest play: Eugenio Suarez walk in second
Total pitcher WPA: +31.7%
Total batter WPA: +18.3%
GWRBI!: Asdrubal Cabrera