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Mets sweep doubleheader from Phillies at Citi Field

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Two victories against the Phillies put the Mets over .500 and in first place in the NL East.

Philadelphia Phillies v New York Mets

The Mets swept today’s doubleheader against the Phillies, winning the first game in walk-off fashion and shutting them out for the nightcap. Walker and Stroman both delivered strong pitching performances and the bullpen was solid across both games. Jonathan Villar played the hero in the walk-off and Brandon Nimmo collected three hits and three RBIs in Game 2.

The Mets won the opener of the doubleheader 4-3 in eight innings. Taijuan Walker picked up exactly where he left off after his first start, maintaining the velocity bump he showed in his first outing with positive results, striking out two batters in the first inning.

Dominic Smith got the Mets on the board early with a two-run homer in first inning off Chase Anderson, but that was all the Mets could manage off him, despite a chance in third inning with a runner on second and one out. Meanwhile, the Phillies scratched out a run off Walker in top of a second, thanks to an Alec Bohm double, a Jean Segura single, and a sacrifice fly by Andrew Knapp. That was the only blemish on Walker’s afternoon; he went on to strike out eight Phillies in total—including striking out the side in the third inning—his highest strikeout total since before his Tommy John surgery in 2018.

It is clear that Walker may still be building up his stamina a bit, however. For the second start in a row, he tired rapidly after cruising early in the game. After being aided by a very pretty double play turned by McNeil and Lindor to end the fourth, Walker issued two one-out walks in the fifth. Luis Rojas then turned to Miguel Castro, who won a battle with Andrew McCutchen by striking him out for the second out. With Rhys Hoskins at the plate, the Phillies attempted a double steal and likely would have been successful because the throw from James McCann to Luis Guillorme at third was high, but Roman Quinn slid past the bag at third and Guillorme was able to tag him out to end the inning.

Castro stayed in for the sixth inning and ultimately surrendered the tying run, but it came in somewhat hard-luck fashion. To lead off the inning, Rhys Hoskins drew his first walk of the season, but a couple of the calls were borderline and did not go in Castro’s favor. Bryce Harper then poked a single the other way against the shift to advance Hoskins to second. Castro got Alec Bohm to strike out looking for the first out and then induced the ground ball he needed off the bat of Didi Gregorius, but it was not hit fast enough to turn two and the inning remained alive for the Phillies. Castro then induced another slow dribbler, this time off the bat of Jean Segura up the third base line, but Guillorme was not able to pounce on it in time (and opted not to attempt the bare-handed play) to throw Segura out at first and the tying run scored on the play. Castro limited the damage though by striking out Andrew Knapp to end the inning and keep the game tied.

Tempers flared briefly between the Mets and Jose Alvarado in the bottom of the inning when he threw a pitch near Michael Conforto’s head and then hit Conforto with the next pitch (thankfully in the hand, but it was at head height). It was almost certainly not intentional, but the Mets dugout voiced their distaste nonetheless and both managers strode out of their dugouts, but fireworks did not ensue.

Edwin Díaz tossed a 1-2-3 top of the seventh to give the Mets a chance to walk the game off in regulation. And they had a good shot to do so against Connor Brogdon, who allowed a leadoff walk to Luis Guillorme to start things off. Jonathan Villar pinch ran for Guillorme, representing the winning run. Kevin Pillar pinch hit for Díaz and Brogdon hit him with a pitch to put the winning run in scoring position with nobody out. But Brodgon bounced back and struck out Brandon Nimmo, got Francisco Lindor to fly out, and struck out Dominic Smith to send the game to extra innings. With Smith’s strikeout, the Mets were 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position on the day and 6-for-47 on the season.

Trevor May’s inning in the eighth unfolded much like Miguel Castro’s did; it was a well-pitched inning with some bad luck mixed in. With McCutchen standing on second base to start the inning per MLB’s new extra inning rule, May retired Hoskins via the strikeout for the first out. With first base open, the Mets intentionally walked Bryce Harper to get to Alec Bohm, who May got to pop out to first base after a long battle. Then, May’s first pitch to Didi Gregorius hit off of the heel of James McCann’s mitt and got away for a passed ball, allowing the runners to advanced to second and third; the go-ahead run was now just 90 feet away through no fault of May’s own. Gregorius then hit a grounder just to the left of the second base bag on which Lindor had no play at first due to a combination of the shift and the speed of Gregorius, which allowed the go-ahead run to score. Like Castro, May was able to limit the damage by striking out Segura to end the inning and keep the Mets within a run.

Due to the fact that the Mets double switched Dominic Smith out of the game and therefore the pitcher was now in the spot in the lineup where the final out was made in the top of the inning, it was Francisco Lindor (the batter before) standing on second base for the Mets to begin the bottom of the eighth. The Phillies turned to their closer Hector Neris to try to protect the lead, but Pete Alonso strode to the plate and came through big with a sharply hit single just out of the reach of a leaping Gregorius to score Lindor from second and tie the game. Jeff McNeil then hit a grounder on which Gregorius—who struggled a bit in the field all day—was unable to turn two, so the Phillies had to be content with just the force out at second. Neris then walked the struggling Michael Conforto and James McCann redeemed his earlier passed ball with an infield hit to load the bases for Jonathan Villar. Villar worked the count full against Neris and then struck a 3-2 pitch to left field that Andrew McCutchen allowed to soar over him to walk it off for the Mets.

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Win Probability Added

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What’s WPA?

Big Mets winner: Pete Alonso, +44.1% WPA
Big Mets loser: Trevor May, -32.8% WPA
Mets pitchers: -15.8% WPA
Mets hitters: +65.8% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Pete Alonso’s game-tying single in the bottom of the eighth, +52.4% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Didi Gregorius’ go-ahead infield single in the top of the eighth, -34.3% WPA


After the exciting comeback victory in Game 1, the Mets and Phillies suited up once again for Game 2 of the doubleheader. Marcus Stroman—who, lest we forget, threw a mere nine pitches on Sunday before the game was suspended due to rain—took the mound for the Amazins against Philadelphia ace Aaron Nola. The first few innings of the game were largely the pitcher’s duel that might be expected in a matchup between two players of their caliber. The Mets had a couple of opportunities in the early going—including in the first when Lindor secured his first extra base hit with his new team with an opposite field double, and in the third when the Mets got two two-out runners with a Nimmo single and a Lindor walk—but were unable to capitalize. Stroman, meanwhile, faced the minimum number of batters through the first four innings, with the only blemish during that time coming on a Matt Joyce leadoff single in the fourth (which was shortly thereafter erased by a double play ball to shortstop).

The offense finally got rolling in the bottom of the fourth inning. After a sharp lineout to third base off the bat of Alonso, McNeil got things started with a soft dribbler to shortstop which led to a close play at first base. McNeil was called safe, and the play was surprisingly upheld following a replay review. The Mets immediately benefited from some more good luck when Kevin Pillar hit a sharp ball to center in the next at-bat; Adam Haseley may have been able to make a play on the ball, but he made a bad read on it and let it fall in front of him for a single to put runners on first and second with one out. Game One hero Jonathan Villar then came to the plate and lined a double to center left field, scoring McNeil for the first run of the ballgame. The Mets weren’t done yet, though—the next pitch hit Tomas Nido to load the bases, and following a strikeout by Stroman, the red hot Nimmo came up to the plate. With a chance to do some damage, he eschewed his normal patient approach and went after the first pitch, scorching a single to right field to score Pillar and Villar. Lindor would then fly out to end the inning, but the Mets had put up a crooked number to make it 3-0.

Stroman would go on to allow leadoff singles in both the fifth and sixth inning, and he went so far as to allow two runners on in the fifth—with a two-out Segura single following the Realmuto single to lead things off—but throughout it all, the Mets’ coolest pitcher kept his composure. He got out of the two-baserunner jam in the fifth by getting Adam Haseley to fly out to left field, and in the sixth he secured his second groundball double play of the game to end the inning—this one coming with some assistance from Lindor’s defense, as the Gold Glove defender snagged a ball hit to him on a short hop to make a nifty play to help Stroman out.

Save for a one-out bullet double off the bat of Alonso, the Mets did not do any damage in the fifth, and Nola’s night ended with a rather pedestrian line (5 innings pitched, 7 hits, 3 runs, 1 walk, 7 strikeouts) by his standards. Spencer Howard came into the game to replace him in the bottom of the sixth, After getting a fly ball out to right field off the bat of Villar to start the frame, Tomas Nido—who, in case anyone needed a reminder, is not well-known for his speed—came up and hit a fly ball to deep right field that fell into the corner towards the wall. Nido raced around second and did something resembling a slide into third base for the first triple of his major league career.

With that, Stroman—who was at 86 pitches and thus presumably had enough juice left in the tank to go one more inning for the shortened complete game—-was sent to the plate. Rather than quickly getting out and going back to the dugout to rest up for a final inning of worked, he instead worked a one-out walk to put runners on first and third with one out—and he even gave a bat flip at the walk to boot. Nimmo once again came up to the plate, and once again he came through with an RBI single to right field which scored Nido and made it a 4-0 Mets ballgame.

Alas, there was a small price to the added Mets offense: between Nimmo’s hit and Lindor’s subsequent fielder’s choice groundout which moved Stroman to third base, the Mets suddenly found themselves needing to worry about how much time their pitcher was spending out on the basepaths in the cold. And indeed, when Smith struck out to end the inning, Stroman came back into the dugout and was told to hit the showers, meaning his night ended just short of the complete game, albeit still with a very impressive line: 6 innings pitched, 4 hits, 0 walks, 0 runs, and 3 strikeouts. Jeurys Familia instead came on for his third appearance of the young season to close it out for the Mets. Since the team had used all of their high leverage relievers in the first game of the doubleheader, Rojas was fortunate that the team gave him just a big enough lead to comfortably use Familia. And indeed, while the former Mets closer did allow some runners to get in—giving up two two-out singles to Bohm and Gregorius—he was ultimately able to secure three groundouts to end the game.

With the win, the Mets move to 4-3 on the season, and are now in first place in the National League East thanks to the magic of win percentage. They’ll be back at it tomorrow night against the Phillies, with David Peterson going against Zack Wheeler.

SB Nation GameThreads

Amazin’ Avenue
The Good Phight

Box scores

ESPN
MLB

Win Probability Added

Fangraphs.com

What’s WPA?

Big Mets winner: Marcus Stroman, +31.0% WPA
Big Mets loser: Dominic Smith, -10.1% WPA
Mets pitchers: +32.2% WPA
Mets hitters: +17.8% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Jonathan Villar’s RBI double in the bottom of the fourth inning, +21.2%
Teh sux0rest play: Matt Joyce’s leadoff single in the top of the fourth inning, -5.4%