The Mets rolled over the Marlins 11-2 in what was a much-needed easy victory for a struggling ball club. The Mets entered the night with the fourth-lowest staff ERA in baseball for the month of May, but also the second-worst batting average and the second-fewest runs scored over the same span. This was around the time things started going wrong last season after a hot start. The Mets had an easy stretch of games ahead of them in their schedule and they didn’t want the same thing to happen to them again this year.
They’ve started things off on the right foot with this feel-good win. The Mets jumped all over the young Marlins starter Pedro Lopez and tagged him for eight runs in the first inning. Jeff McNeil played spark plug for his beleaguered team, leading things off in the bottom of the first with a drag bunt single, diving into first base and narrowly eluding Neil Walker’s tag. However, the next play looked like it might be a rally killer—and on many nights for the Mets it may have been. J.D. Davis singled sharply to right field and McNeil attempted to go first to third and was gunned down by an extremely impressive throw from Brian Anderson, playing out of his natural position.
But McNeil’s erasure from the base paths turned out not to matter at all, as the Mets were far from done hitting that inning. Robinson Cano knocked a single up the middle that caromed off the mound and over the shortstop Rojas’ head into center field to advance Davis to third. Davis then scored the game’s first run on a wild pitch from Lopez, who was only five pitches deep into the game and already getting a visit on the mound from his pitching coach. Whatever wisdom Mel Stottlemyre imparted was not enough to help Lopez escape, however. Pete Alonso then walked and Michael Conforto singled—the first of three hits he would have on the night—to load the bases. Lopez got the weak contact he wanted from Wilson Ramos, but somehow the ball was so perfectly dribbled up the right field line that Ramos beat it out at first, pushing another run across the plate to make it 2-0. Brandon Nimmo then walked to force in another run.
Amed Rosario then strode to the plate and delivered the shot that blew the game open—a grand slam, barely clearing the wall in right-center field. Lopez then got Wheeler to strike out swinging for the second out, but back-to-back singles from Davis and Conforto added yet another run to make it 8-0. Finally, the inning ended on a hard chopper up the middle by Pete Alonso that ricocheted off Lopez’s glove right to Starlin Castro, who stepped on second base.
Don Mattingly did not take Lopez out after the first inning, however. Lopez threw two more innings and gave up two more runs in the process—a Michael Conforto solo home run in the second and a Jeff McNeil solo home run in the third.
Meanwhile, Zack Wheeler worked a quick second after being handed his large lead. But he ran into some trouble in the third and the Marlins were able to scratch back two runs. Wheeler gave up four straight one-out singles, mostly bloops and bleeders, to put the Marlins on the board. He then got Brian Anderson to line out to right, but it was sufficiently deep to score Prado on a sacrifice fly for the Marlins’ second run. Wheeler then struck out Jorge Alfaro to end the threat.
This poor batted ball luck meant that Wheeler ran up his pitch count early in the game, but he settled in and would go on to strike out eleven Marlins over the course of his seven innings of work. He only walked one batter and scattered nine hits in total, limiting the damage by generating soft contact. He finished his night on a high note, tossing a 1-2-3 seventh, the first time he had retired the Marlins in order since the first inning.
Meanwhile, the Mets added one additional run in the fourth inning off righty Austin Brice, thanks to three straight one-out singles from Conforto, Ramos, and Brandon Nimmo. Brice would go on to load the bases in the fifth, but escaped that jam unscathed. The Mets left eleven total runners on base on the night, in part due to two double plays induced by Jose Quijada, who pitched the final three innings for the Marlins.
Tyler Bashlor came in the game to pitch the eighth, as many of the Mets’ regular position players were removed from the game, including McNeil, Cano, Alonso, and Conforto in favor of Juan Lagares, Keon Broxton, Adeiny Hechavarria, and the freshly recalled Dominic Smith. Bashlor tossed a scoreless eighth, working around a two-out walk to Rosell Herrera.
Daniel Zamora then came in to finish off the game for the Mets, but the ninth inning did not go without its share of weirdness. With one out, the pinch hitter Chad Wallach grounded sharply to third base and J.D. Davis made a nice diving grab, throwing from his knees to get Wallach at first. Zamora then walked Starlin Castro and then there were two straight ground balls which resulted in replay reviews. Neil Walker hit a grounder to Hechavarria at second, who gunned it over to Smith and Walker was called out. However, upon replay review, it was revealed that Smith actually bobbled the ball and did not have control of it in his glove as Walker crossed first base and Walker was ruled safe. Brian Anderson then hit another grounder, this time to the hole between short and third, and Amed Rosario ranged over and gunned a two-hopper over to Smith, who dug it out. Anderson was initially ruled safe on the close play, which would have loaded the bases. However, this time it was the Mets that challenged the play and the call was overturned to end the game and seal the lopsided victory for the Mets.
The Mets look to take the energy from this feel-good win and start a winning streak, as Jacob deGrom faces off against Sandy Alcantara in game two of this three game series with the Marlins.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big winners: None
Big losers: None
Total pitcher WPA: +5.2% WPA
Total batter WPA: +44.8% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Amed Rosario’s grand slam in the first inning, +9.4% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Jeff McNeil gets thrown out at third on J.D. Davis’ single, -3.3% WPA