After a sloppy loss to the Phillies on Friday, and with time quickly running out for the Mets to scramble into a playoff spot, the Mets entered Saturday’s game desperately needing a victory. The Phillies entered the game on a tear, having won ten of their last eleven games and occupying the second playoff spot in the NL East. The Mets sent Seth Lugo to the mound to start for them, and needed him not only to pitch reasonably well, but also provide them with length.
For the most part, Lugo did just that despite clearly not having his best stuff or command. Lugo managed to strikeout Andrew McCutchen to start the game, but gave up a solo home run to Rhys Hoskins immediately after to put the Mets in an early 1-0 hole. Lugo settled in from there, working his way out of further trouble in the first, and cruising from there through the fifth inning. In five innings pitched, Lugo struck allowed just the one run in the first, and struck out eight.
Finding themselves down 1-0 heading into the bottom of the third, the Mets went to work on the offensive side of the ball. Jeff McNeil led off the inning with a ground rule double to center, and scored on an RBI single from Andres Gimenez immediately after. Gimenez advanced to third on a pair of groundouts from Robinson Chirinos and Brandon Nimmo, and scored later in the inning on a bloop single from Michael Conforto to give the Mets a 2-1 lead. The Mets extended their lead early and often from there. Todd Frazier got hit by a pitch with one out in the bottom of the fourth inning, and advanced to third on Jeff McNeil’s second double of the night. Frazier later came around to score on a sacrifice fly from Andres Gimenez that barely cleared the infield, giving the Mets a 3-1 lead. The ball probably would not have been deep enough to score the runner, but Neil Walker had to field the pop up on his heels because Bryce Harper was not in position to make the play.
Momentum continued to build for the Mets from there, when Bryce Harper got ejected from the game for arguing calls before the bottom of the fifth started. Brandon Nimmo walked to lead off the inning, and advanced to third on Michael Conforto’s second hit of the day. After J.D. Davis got hit by a pitch to load the bases, Nimmo was able to scramble home on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Dom Smith. The Mets added an additional insurance run in the bottom of the sixth, when Robinson Chirinos doubled Andres Gimenez home from first to give the Mets a 5-1 lead.
The Mets bullpen picked up right where Lugo left off, and kept the Phillies off the board from there on out. Lugo departed the game following the fifth inning, and the bullpen continued to stymy the Phillies. Jeurys Familia pitched a scoreless sixth, and Justin Wilson contributed a scoreless seventh, despite an error from Brandon Nimmo that put runners on second and third. Miguel Castro allowed an infield single to J.T. Realmuto to start the eighth, but got Jean Segura to ground into a double play later in the inning to send the Mets into the ninth inning with a 5-1 lead. Edwin Diaz came out for the ninth, despite having pitched two innings in Thursday night’s win over the Yankees. Diaz generally looked a bit tired, but managed to strike out Alec Bohm and Neil Walker to put the Mets within an out of victory. Diaz worked his way into a bit of trouble with two outs in the inning, walking Adam Haseley and Andrew McCutchen back to back, but managed to strike Rhys Hoskins out shortly thereafter to secure the victory and tie the series against the Phillies at one game apiece.
The Mets and Phillies will square off again tomorrow at 1:10 ET in game three of a four game series. Following Friday’s victory, the Mets are 3.5 games behind the Phillies for the second playoff spot in the NL East, and have a chance to pull within 1.5 games if they win both of the remaining games in the series.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big winner: Seth Lugo, +14.7% WPA, Jeff McNeil, +14.7% WPA
Big loser: Robinson Cano, -6.9% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: +25.0% WPA
Total batter WPA: +25.0% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Michael Conforto RBI single, +11.0% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Rhys Hoskins solo home run, -10.5% WPA