The Mets have long since been eliminated, having been officially removed from mathematical contention nearly a week ago. The Braves clinched their playoff spot last night with a win over the Phillies. So for both teams, this October baseball game was meaningless, with neither team having any skin in the game whether they won or lost. Both teams rested several regulars, so neither team had any distinct advantage. All the makings of an exciting game of baseball for most people.
In the top of the first, the Mets had three fairly quiet at-bats, with Brandon Nimmo, Francisco Lindor, and Javy Báez all striking out swinging, all three coming on twelve pitches from Huascar Yhoa. The Braves had the same in the bottom of the inning, with Joc Pederson, Ehire Adrianza, and Ozzie Albies all striking out swinging on eleven pitches from Tylor Megill.
In the top of the second, Pete Alonso got the Mets first hit on a single to Guillermo Heredia in center field. He was quickly erased by a Dom Smith double play, and James McCann grounded out to Orlando Arcia at shortstop to end the Mets’ half of the inning. In the bottom of the inning, Austin Riley led things off with a strikeout. Eddie Rosario then popped out to Lindor, and Arcia ended the inning with a ground out of his own to José Peraza.
At the start of the third, Kevin Pillar popped out to Riley in foul ground for the Mets’ first out of the inning. Peraza then followed that with a fly out to Rosario in left field. Megill got the Mets’ second hit of the game with a long double to center field, but Brandon Nimmo struck out to end the inning, stranding Megill at second. In the bottom half of the inning, Heredia led off with a swinging strike out, but William Contreras walked to give the Braves their first base runner of the night. Ynoa popped out to Alonso, and Pederson grounded out to Peraza who got the force at second to end the inning.
In the top of the fourth, the Mets began to make things interesting. Lindor walked to give the Mets an immediate baserunner, but Báez followed that with a strikeout. Alonso then hit a double that drove in Lindor, and when the ball was thrown to Contreras at home he wasn’t able to corral it and Alonso made his way to third (in a play where Alonso was originally called out at third but was ruled safe after a challenge). Smith hit a bullet, but right at Riley for the second out, which didn’t allow Alonso to score. However, McCann hit a single to left field which drove Alonso in. Pillar then hit another single to left field which gave the Mets runners at first and second with two outs. Peraza then walked, loading the bases for Megill. Megill struck out swinging to end the inning. In the bottom of the inning Adrianza started off with a ground out to Alonso. Albies then got the Braves’ first hit of the evening, a single to Nimmo in center. Albies then stole second on the first pitch of Riley’s at-bat. Riley ultimately struck out, and Rosario hit a bullet that Alonso snagged, then threw to Megill to get the out at first.
In the fifth inning, Brandon Nimmo gave the Mets another run on the board with a leadoff home run. Lindor followed that up with a ground out to Albies at second for the first out. Báez then grounded out to Arcia for the second out. Alonso then hit a ground out to Arcia of his own to end the Mets half of the inning. In the Braves’ half of the season, Arcia led off with a ground out to Báez for the first out. Heredia then hit a ground out to Lindor for the second out. Contreras then hit a ball to Lindor, who had to make a long throw to get Contreras at first and end the inning.
In the top of the sixth inning, the Braves brought in Jacob Webb to pitch. Webb’s name might sound familiar, as he was the pitcher who hit Pillar in the face back in May. Smith, the first Mets batter of the inning, led off with a single to center. McCann hit a ball hard, so hard Albies wasn’t able to get a handle on it and it went into the outfield, allowing Dom to go to third and put runners on first and third with no outs for Pillar. Pillar, after sharing tips of the cap with Webb, struck out for the first out. During Peraza’s at-bat, McCann got caught in a rundown when he started running too early. Peraza then struck out, ending the inning with Smith stranded at third. In the bottom of the inning the Mets brought in Jeurys Familia to pitch. He struck out Webb to start the inning. He then struck out Pederson, but Adrianza kept the inning going with a single to Smith in left. Adrianza stole a base during Albies’ at-bat on a Familia wild pitch, and Albies hit a double into right-center field to drive in Adrianza and cut the Mets’ lead to two runs. Riley popped out to end the inning before any further damage could be done.
In the seventh, the Braves brought in Spencer Strider to pitch in his major league debut. The first batter he faced was a pinch-hitting Jeff McNeil. McNeil popped it up in front of the pitcher’s mound, and Strider made the play himself for his first major league out. Brandon Nimmo greeted Strider in his debut with another home run, adding another run to the Mets’ lead. Lindor then hit a single into right field for his 999th career hit. Báez hit a ground ball to Adrianza at third which led to an inning ending double play. In the bottom of the inning the Mets brought in Heath Hembree to pitch. Rosario, the inning’s first batter, hit a home run to cut the Mets’ lead once again. Arcia then grounded out to Lindor for the first out of the inning. Heredia also grounded out to Lindor for the second out. Contreras then grounded a ball to center for a single. Dansby Swanson came in to pinch hit for Strider, and was called out on strikes to end the inning and prevent any further scoring by Atlanta.
In the eighth, the Braves brought in another brand new rookie, Dylan Lee. Pete Alonso welcomed him with a line single into center. Smith hit into another double play to erase Alonso from the basepaths and quickly give Lee two outs. James McCann struck out to end the Mets half of the inning. In the bottom of the inning, Trevor May was tapped to pitch for the Mets. He started things off with a strikeout of Pederson. Ehire Adrianza then hit a home run to put the Braves within one run. Albies flew out to Nimmo for the second out of the inning, but Riley hit a single to left to get the tying run on base. Rosario hit a bloop double to put runners at second and third with two outs. Arcia hit a deep fly ball to left but Smith was there to catch it and extricate May from trouble.
In the top of the ninth, Chris Martin came in to pitch for the Braves. On the first pitch Pillar hit a line drive directly at Albies for the first out. Peraza hit a ground ball to Arcia for the second out. Jonathan Villar came in to pinch hit for May, and he struck out swinging to end the Mets’ ninth still just one slim run in the lead. In the bottom of the ninth the Mets brought in Edwin Díaz to close the game. Heredia led off the inning with a fly out to Lindor. Contreras then struck out swinging, leading the Braves down to their final out, with former Met Travis d’Arnaud pinch hitting for the Braves. But this time Díaz triumphed, striking out d’Arnaud to end the game.
The Mets won the first game of their final series of the season. A win that means nothing for the Mets, who have nothing left to play for except the moving of the calendar closer to their vacations and months off. And the Braves suffered a loss that also meant absolutely nothing for them, as they cruise through the rest of the season with an eye on the NLDS, where they have to face the National League Central winner Milwaukee Brewers. But I’m sure the Mets are happy to add another number to the win column of their mediocre final record.
-illar of the day
Despite neither -illar really contributing (Pillar only got one hit, a single, and Villar struck out in his only plate appearance), I do have to salute Kevin Pillar here for tipping his cap to Jacob Webb and being a class act after Webb accidentally hit him in the face with a pitch a few months ago.
Win Probability Added
Big Mets winner: Tylor Megill, +27.7% WPA
Big Mets loser: Dominic Smith, -16.5% WPA
Mets pitchers: +46.2% WPA
Mets hitters: +3.8% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Pete Alonso’s RBI double in the fourth inning, +16.7% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Ehire Adrianza’s home run in the eighth inning, -12.4% WPA