The lineup on Labor Day looked a lot different than it did on Opening Day, but the young hitters still thrived against Phillies pitching in the 11-7 victory.
Since his most recent call-up, Kevin Plawecki has looked much better both at the plate and behind it. In 22 at bats in August he hit .364/.440/.591 with a 1.031 OPS. Obviously that is a small sample size, but for comparison, in May, he hit .105/.217/.158 with a .375 OPS in 19 at bats.
Early on he made an impact in all facets of the game. He threw out a runner attempting to steal in the first, and after picking up an infield single, he stole the first base of his career in the second. After getting himself into scoring position, he scored the game’s first run on Juan Lagares’s two-out hit. Plawecki was on base three times and scored two runs by the time the game was over.
Juan Lagares’s defense was on full display during the last game in Houston, but his offense is still a bit of a question mark. He can use this last month to showcase what he can do at the plate and in this game he did just that. He picked up two hits and was able to hustle into second for a double to set up a big inning in the fourth.
The Mets were already winning 4-0 against Al Leiter’s nephew, Mark Leiter, when they exploded for six runs in the fourth. Brandon Nimmo led off the inning with a single, and after Lagares’s double, Gavin Ceechini brought them both home with a single. Rafael Montero attempted a bunt, but when Leiter threw the ball to second, Freddy Galvis dropped the ball and everyone was safe. Jose Reyes brought home another run with a single, and the first out of the inning was finally recorded when Norichika Aoki grounded out to bring home the Mets’ fourth run of the inning.
That was it for Leiter who was replaced by Kevin Siegrist. While pitching to Asdrubal Cabrera, Siegrist threw a wild pitch to bring home Jose Reyes. Cabrera struck out but then Dominic Smith and Kevin Plawecki walked, and Brandon Nimmo picked up his second hit of the inning and drove in the Mets’ tenth run.
Nimmo is another player that needs to seize the opportunity that has been given to him and he too shined in this game. He went 3-for-4 at the plate with two RBIs.
Rafael Montero was coming off the best start of his career and seemed to pick up where he left off. He cruised through the first four innings, but the long fourth seemed to affect him a bit when he returned to the mound in the fifth. His pitches were not as sharp, but he might’ve gotten through the inning unscathed except Aoki lost a ball in the sun that fill in for a hit. That runner would be the only one to cross the plate that inning.
The sixth inning was a different story. Walks became an issue for Montero and he departed the game with the bases loaded and one out. Paul Sewald replaced him and was perhaps rusty since he had not pitched in a week. He threw a wild pitch to bring home the Phillies’ second run, and then a double by Hyun Soon Kim and a single by Andres Blanco cut the Mets’ 10-run lead in half.
The Mets got one of those runs back in the bottom half of the inning when Nimmo drove in Plawecki and it was up to the bullpen to make the comfortable lead stand up. Jerry Blevins was perfect in his one inning of work but Hansel Robles was not as effective. He was good in the eighth but was pushed into the ninth and fell apart. He allowed two runs to score before AJ Ramos came in and shut the door to nail down the victory.
There were some positive signs out of the young players in this game and they will need to keep it up as the team looks toward 2018.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big winners: Rafael Montero +17.5%, Juan Lagares +14.2%
Big losers: None
Teh aw3s0mest play: Juan Lagares single in second
Teh sux0rest play: Cameron Rupp reached on error in third
Total pitcher WPA: +17.7%
Total batter WPA: +32.3%
GWRBI!: Brandon Nimmo