From the bottom of the first inning until the top of the ninth, it looked like today would be another depressing, offense-less day for the 2018 Mets. The most enduring image of the game was the absolutely hideous “Hawaiian” shirt giveaway, adorned with various Diamondbacks ephemera. But then, with two outs in the top of the ninth, the bats awoke, and the Mets came back from a two-run deficit to beat the Diamondbacks 5-3.
The game started off nicely, with Brandon Nimmo hitting an opposite field double off of Clay Buchholz to lead off the game. A ground up by Asdrubal Cabrera moved Nimmo to third and, after a walk to Michael Conforto, Todd Frazier hit a sacrifice fly, plating Nimmo to put the Mets up 1-0.
Conforto was stranded on first after a Jay Bruce strikeout. This would not be the last time a Met was left on base today.
Zack Wheeler started for the Mets, and looked brilliant to start, retiring the first ten batters in a row. In the top of the fourth, after a strikeout to Jon Jay, Wheeler walked Paul Goldschmidt, but not before a seemingly blown call by home plate umpire Jim Reynolds. The call was so egregious, Jason Vargas was ejected from the game for barking at Reynolds from the dugout.
The wheels, temporarily, came off, pardon the pun, after that walk. Jake Lamb was up next, and singled to left, before David Peralta hit a doubled to right field, scoring Goldschmidt. A walk to Daniel Descalso loaded the bases, and a ground ball from Ketel Marte plated the second run.
Wheeler eventually settled down, only allowing one more base runner over his next two innings. His final line was six innings, two earned runs, eight strikeouts, and two walks. While he left the game behind, this was yet another quality start from Wheeler, who has been a pleasant surprise this season.
Buchholz matched Wheeler after the first inning, only allowing three additional base runners, none of whom came in to score. He was pulled from the game with two outs on the sixth, and Andrew Chafin replace him, striking out Jay Bruce to end the inning.
Yoshihisa Hirano started the seventh for Arizona, and back to back walks to Jose Reyes and pinch hitter Wilmer Flores gave the Mets their best chance to score since the first inning. But another borderline strike three call to Nimmo ended the inning and the Mets’ chances.
Hansel Robles was the first out of the bullpen, and got off to a shaky start, walking Descalso and a single to Marte. However, Alex Avila grounded into a double play, and Jarrod Dyson flew out to end the inning.
Jeurys Familia, just off the disabled list, entered to pitch the eighth inning, and had a rough first inning back. After a ground out from Nick Ahmed, Jay - who had struck out in his fist three at-bats - struck a double to left field. A Goldschmidt single - originally called an out - moved Jay to third, and a Lamb single drove in Jay, putting the Snakes up 3-1. After a walk to Descalso, Familia finally got out of the inning by inducing a ground ball from Marte.
Brad Boxberger came on in the top of the ninth for the save, and struck out Smith and Kevin Plawecki to start the inning. Down to their last out, Reyes attempted to bunt his way on. The ball was clearly kicking foul, but Avila picked up the ball and didn’t throw to first. Reyes then stole second, continuing his rare good offensive day. Pinch hitter Jose Bautista then struck a long double to right fielder Jay, who misplayed the ball, allowing Reyes to score.
The next batter was Nimmo and, and the best smile in baseball continued to have a great season, striking a long home run to right field, putting the Mets up 4-3. The next batter, Cabrera, struck his own homer run, giving the Mets an insurance run, leading 5-3.
Robert Gsellman pitched the ninth for the Mets, and quickly induced a ground ball from Avila. Cabrera threw the ball wide of first, but Smith caught it. However, he tried to do a fancy between the legs transition to his throwing hand, and bobbled the ball. Despite catching the ball on the bag, Avila was called single, confirmed by a review.
Gsellman wasn’t rattled, though, retiring the next three batters in a row and earning the save. The Mets scored ten runs in the last two games, and split the series with the first place Diamondbacks. The Mets travel to Colorado for a four games series with the fourth place Rockies. Jacob deGrom starts for the Mets, and will face the Rockies’ Tyler Anderson.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big winners: Brandon Nimmo, +68.0% WPA, Asdrubal Cabrera, +13.5% WPA, Robert Gsellman, +10.7% WPA
Big losers: Jay Bruce, -20.7 % WPA, Michael Conforto, -12.4% WPA, Dominic Smith, -12.4% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Brandon Nimmo’s ninth inning home run, +66.9% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Jose Reyes grounds into a double play in the fifth inning, -10.7% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: +19.2% WPA
Total batter WPA: +30.8% WPA
GWRBI!: Brandon Nimmo