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Mets Morning News: “That’s all you can really do. Because he’s pretty much a video game character.”

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Your Sunday morning dose of New York Mets and MLB news, notes, and links.

Baltimore Orioles v New York Mets Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Meet the Mets

The Mets fell to the Marlins 3-1 in walk-off fashion in the second game of a three-game series in Miami. It was a pitcher’s duel early, as Pablo López and Joey Lucchesi traded zeros for the first four innings. It was Lucchesi’s best outing as a Met; he struck out eight over four innings of work and allowed only one hit. López ended up lasting seven scoreless, shutting out a depleted Mets lineup. The Marlins scored first in the eighth on a sacrifice fly on which Tomás Nido dropped the throw while applying the tag. The Mets answered, tying it up in the bottom of the frame on a Dominic Smith RBI single. However, with one strike away from sending the game to extra innings for the second straight day, Drew Smith gave up a walk-off homer to Garrett Cooper in the bottom of the ninth.

Choose your recap: Amazin’ Avenue short and long, NY Post, Daily News, Newsday, North Jersey, MLB.com, Faith and Fear in Flushing

Jake Mintz of FOX Sports interviewed members of the Palm Beach Cardinals who faced Seth Lugo, Noah Syndergaard, and Jacob deGrom all in short order. The whole piece is chock full of incredible quotes but here is just one of them from pitcher John Beller, who was the starting pitcher on the day of deGrom’s rehab start: “During the game on Wednesday, our manager came up to me and said, ‘Hey, Papi, you’re going up against deGrom tomorrow.’ And I didn’t believe it because it wasn’t published anywhere yet. And he was, ‘I’ll bet you a bottle of wine.’ I thought he was lying, so I took that bet, thought he was just pullin’ my chain. Sure enough, within a few hours after the game, it’s blowing up on Twitter. ‘Jacob deGrom will be making a rehab start against Low-A Palm Beach,’ and I’m like, ‘You gotta be s---ting me.’ I immediately knew it was gonna be one of the coolest things I’ve ever experienced.”

Palm Beach shortstop Masyn Winn talked about how the players pitched with deGrom on MLB The Show before the game because, “That’s all you can really do. Because he’s pretty much a video game character.”

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” manager Luis Rojas said after Friday night’s win about his resilient group of rag-tag replacement players. “But I’m proud of the group. Very proud.”

Brandon Nimmo is close to swinging the bat again. “It’s been extremely frustrating, because obviously when it happened I thought this might be a few days,” Nimmo said prior to yesterday’s game. It turns out the source of the lingering pain is an irritated nerve in his finger that was aggravated by his bone bruise.

Meanwhile, Albert Almora Jr. will also need some more time on the IL for his bruised shoulder and Luis Rojas does not expect him back during the next home stand.

And Carlos Carrasco has yet to begin throwing off a mound again.

The Mets recalled Jordan Yamamoto from Triple-A Syracuse. To make room on the roster for him, the Mets designated Jake Hager for assignment.

“It was really tough,” Luis Rojas said about his conversation with Hager, who just got his first major league hit to help set up the twelfth inning rally in Friday night’s game. “I can imagine it was as tough for him, as it was tough for me. I did tell him that this is something that can happen, and he should not put his head down. He got himself here. He’s one of our best hitters in Syracuse. So just keep working hard, keep looking forward and I pray that he’s with us and he meets us again down the road.”

Regarding James McCann losing playing time to Tomás Nido, Rojas said, “Nido has been part of the winning formula lately. About the conversations with McCann, we’ve had it throughout the week. I told him that Nido is going to get a little bit more playing time since he’s been playing really good, and we wanted just to keep that going. The two times that we talked, I told him to see this as an opportunity for him to work on some things so he can get his bat going, and still work on his catching routine, which is very consistent when he and [catching coach] Brian Schneider work on some things. That’s the way he’s taking it. He’s a professional, he’s a great teammate and he’s been great about it.”

Outfield prospect Jake Mangum has been promoted to Double-A Binghamton.

Around the National League East

The Nationals beat the Orioles 12-9, despite Baltimore putting up a five spot in the first inning off Jon Lester. Josh Harrison hit a grand slam, Juan Soto went 2-for-4, and Ryan Zimmerman provided a tie-breaking home run in the fourth inning that broke the Nationals franchise record for home runs.

Brad Hand pitched well in the game also, snapping a streak of shaky outings. The Nationals remain committed to him as the closer.

The Phillies dropped their fourth straight in a tight 4-3 loss to the Red Sox at Citizen’s Bank Park.

Top prospect Spencer Howard was the starter for Philadelphia yesterday and saw a sharp drop in velocity on his fastball in the third inning, which is something he’s struggled with in the past and continues to be the subject of concern for the Phillies.

The Braves beat the Pirates 6-1 thanks to the bats of Ronald Acuña Jr. and Ozzie Albies. Acuña led off the game with a home run—his 15th of the season—and Albies contributed two long balls of his own.

The Braves acquired reliever Yoan López, who was designated for assignment by Diamondbacks last week. The Braves optioned him to Triple-A Gwinnett.

Around Major League Baseball

Joel Sherman of the Post has some suggestions for ways MLB can boost offense moving forward in what has become an era dominated by pitching: lower the strike zone, really address the use of sticky substances by pitchers, and limit defensive shifting.

Steve Martano of Beyond the Box Score also takes a look into what MLB can do to fix the aspects of the game that aren’t working right now.

Also for Beyond the Box Score, Randy Holt discusses the reckoning with mental health issues that baseball—and our society at large—is facing.

Former Met Ty Kelly has been signed by the Mariners to a minor league deal.

Amidst a series of roster moves, the Rays claimed catcher Deivy Grullon off waivers from the Mets.

Yesterday at Amazin’ Avenue

Michael Drago dove into David Peterson’s inconsistency on the mound, what might be driving it, and how it has impacted the team.

This Date in Mets History

Mike Piazza made his debut with the Mets on this date in 1998.