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Steven Matz, Mets get revenge against Phillies

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The lefty was solid in the Mets’ victory over their rivals.

MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at New York Mets Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier on Monday evening, it looked like the Mets’ series opener against the Phillies could get called with some nasty weather in the area, but after about an hour-and-a-half rain delay, the game got underway and the Mets were able to defeat the Phillies 5-1 to open the home stand.

After failing to record an out against Philadelphia in his last start, Steven Matz came out firing. He got the Phillies in order in the first, including strikeouts of Andrew McCutchen and Bryce Harper. Philadelphia put together a rally against Matz in the third, and when the pressure increases, Matz has been known to crumble in the past. With runners on second and third and one out, however, Matz again struck out McCutchen and got J.T. Realmuto to ground out to end the threat.

Jake Arrieta didn’t have the same fortune in the bottom of the inning. The Mets had put runners on in the first two innings, but they finally broke through in the third. Brandon Nimmo singled and stole second, but an errant throw allowed him to get to third with one out. That brought up Pete Alonso, who somehow hit a sinker on the outside of the plate for a double. He came home two batters later when Wilson Ramos singled to give the Mets a 2-0 lead.

The Phillies got one right back when Rhys Hoskins hit a solo home run the following inning, but the excitement did not end there. Harper struck out for the second time and was eventually ejected from the dugout when he voiced his displeasure about the strike zone to the home plate umpire. The Mets got lucky with the Phillies losing a big bat in their lineup, but Matz was solid all night long. He pitched six strong innings, struck out six, and walked two.

The bullpen picked up where Matz left off and did not allow another batter to reach base. The combination of Seth Lugo, Jeurys Familia, and Edwin Diaz overwhelmed the Philadelphia hitters, and any lead the Mets held would have been safe in their hands. But the Mets’ offense tacked on to give them a bigger cushion.

First it was Jeff McNeil, who blasted his first home run of the season in the fifth, and then the Phillies’ defense and bullpen imploded in the seventh. After Juan Lagares singled to lead off the inning, Mickey Callaway sent up pinch-hitter Robinson Cano as a decoy to force Arrieta out of the game. In came Jose Alvarez and instead of Cano he faced J.D. Davis. He hit a shot to second that Cesar Hernandez threw away and everyone was safe. Brandon Nimmo popped up, but then both McNeil and Alonso got hit with pitches to force in a run. Michael Conforto followed with a sac fly to give the Mets a 5-1 lead.

With solid pitching and an offense that capitalized on Philadelphia’s mistakes, the Mets picked up an important victory against their division rivals and are once again tied for first in the tight division.

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What’s WPA?

Big winners: Steven Matz +21.1%, Jeff McNeil +11%
Big losers: none
Total pitcher WPA: +30.2%
Total batter WPA: +19.8%
Teh aw3s0mest play: Jeff McNeil home run in fifth
Teh sux0rest play: Rhys Hoskins home run in fourth