Michael Conforto put the league on notice in a 9-4 win over the Phillies. Conforto led the Mets with three hits, his 26th home run of the year, and six RBI, picking up Zack Wheeler, who allowed four runs in seven innings in what might be his final start of the season. Jeff McNeil and Brandon Nimmo were also bright sptos - McNeil had yet another three hit game, and Nimmo had a double and a walk.
Early in the game, everything was coming up Mets. Wheeler looked dominant through the first four innings, allowing only a walk to Carlos Santana, who was promptly erased on a double play. He only struck out three, but this felt like another in what has been a fantastic streak of elite-level starts for Zack Wheeler.
Meanwhile, the Met offense handled Jake Arrieta, getting some revenge for his dominance in two starts earlier this season. After Jeff McNeil was left on base in the first, a leadoff walk to Brandon Nimmo (what else is new), a single from Dominic Smith, and a hustle double from Austin Jackson plated the Mets’ first run. Smith and Jackson were stranded and the Mets wasted a leadoff double from Nimmo in the fourth, but Amed Rosario and Michael Conforto came through in the fifth with a sacrifice fly and a two-run single respectively. The Mets chased Arrieta after five innings and held a 4-0 lead.
The wheels (*rimshot*) fell off in the fifth, unfortunately. Wheeler’s control evaporated seemingly in an instant, and the Phillies started teeing off on everything. Wheeler compounded the issue by hitting two batters, and after two singles and a HBP loaded the bases, J.P Crawford’s three-run triple got the Phillies within one run. Two batters later, Cesar Hernandez drove in Crawford with a sacrifice fly, and the game was tied.
Wheeler’s control problems persisted into the sixth, when he hit another batter and walked one, but he managed to navigate things without allowing a run. Mickey Callaway made the puzzling decision to leave Wheeler in to bat in the top of the seventh, essentially giving away an out in a late, tied game. Amed Rosario and Michael Conforto picked up their manager, however, with the former singling and stealing second and the latter driving in the go-ahead run with a two-out double.
Callaway’s decision to leave Wheeler in paid off, as Wheeler put up another scoreless inning, ending his night after seven innings. He allowed four runs, struck out four, walked three, hit three batters, and allowed three hits. Robert Gsellman replaced him and recorded a scoreless eighth, and the Mets headed to the ninth with a 5-4 lead.
That wasn’t enough for Jeff McNeil and Michael Conforto, who are hell bent on giving us some hope for the 2019 season. A walk and a single set the stage for McNeil, who lined his third hit of the day into right field and gave the Mets a 6-4 lead. Seven pitches later, Conforto parked his 26th home run of the year into the bushes in center field, and the game was blown open. McNeil is now hitting .335, has a 143 wRC+, and has recorded 17 of his 60 hits against the Phillies. Conforto, meanwhile, improves his second half wRC+ to 140, supported by greatly improved pull and hard hit rates.
Daniel Zamora gave up a leadoff single in the ninth and was promptly replaced by Drew Smith, who induced a fly out from Jose Bautist and a doubly play off the bat of Aaron Alther to close out the win. It was a good win for the Mets, and it keeps the Phillies 6.5 games out of first in the NL East and 5 games out of the second wild card. On the downside, it does ensure that the Mets will not finish with a nice win total.
Tomorrow, Steven Matz takes the mound against Aaron Nola, as the Mets look to score a double whammy and both spoil things for the Phillies and hurt one of Jacob deGrom’s two competitors for the Cy Young.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big winners: Michael Conforto, +28.5% WPA; Robert Gsellman, +14.4% WPA
Big losers: None
Teh aw3s0mest play: Michael Conforto gives the Mets the lead with a double in the seventh, +19.2% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: J.P. Crawford hits a three-run triple in the fifth, -26.2% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: +19.0% WPA
Total batter WPA: +31.0% WPA
GWRBI!: Michael Conforto