It’s poetic in a way.
A day after Francisco Lindor and Jeff McNeil, two of the most important players on the 2021 Mets (and likely beyond that), got into a heated debate on what was scurrying around in the dugout tunnel, the middle infield duo provided basically every part of the offense in the 4-2 victory on Saturday night.
Tommy Hunter, who has been a reliever for a better part of a decade, got his first start since 2012 with the Baltimore Orioles, though this was as an opener rather than a full-fledged starter. Hunter, who threw two scoreless innings the night before, did the same in this game, striking out one in two scoreless innings. The Mets offense followed suit, and Joey Lucchesi entered a 0-0 game in the third inning. He tossed a scoreless inning of his own, and we went to the bottom of the third.
Lucchesi led off in the inning, and worked a walk to set up McNeil. McNeil delivered, tattooing a baseball into the bullpen, putting the Mets up 2-0. Lindor walked, and back to back outs by Michael Conforto and Pete Alonso saw the Mets potentially waste that aforementioned Lindor walk — though he would not let that happen.
Lindor, who showed a more aggressive side on the bases tonight overall, stole his 100th base of his career, though the play did not end there. An errant throw by Carson Kelly saw the ball ricochet off of Lindor’s foot while he’s sliding, and horrible fundies by the entire Arizona Diamondbacks outfield — who simply decided they were not going to back up the play — allowed Lindor to take third and then score, putting the Mets up 3-0 in what probably is the most memorable stolen base of his career.
The next two innings were rather uneventful. Lucchesi had a perfect top of the fourth, and the Mets stranded a a Kevin Pillar double in the bottom of the frame. Lucchesi worked around (yet another) Tim Locastro hit by pitch to keep the score 3-0 going into the bottom of the fifth. The bottom of the fifth was similar to the fourth, as they stranded another double, this time off the bat of Francisco Lindor.
Arizona finally got to Lucchesi in the sixth inning, after a lead off single by Josh Rojas (which actually broke up a combined no-hit effort), an error by Alonso on a pick-off throw, and a single by Christian Walker set Arizona with first and third, none out, and a 3-0 deficit was made suddenly attainable. Luis Rojas opted to keep the lanky lefty in against David Peralta, who grounded out to Jonathan Villar and chased home a run, making it 3-1 Metsies.
Jeurys Familia came in to relieve Lucchesi, who finished his best outing of the season by far and set himself up as the winning pitcher, which he went on to be. Familia struck out old friend Asdrúbal Cabrera and Eduardo Escobar to keep the lead intact. The Mets offense did not do much in the bottom of the sixth, a non-surprise considering neither Francisco Lindor or Jeff McNeil came to the plate. Jonathan Villar worked a nice two out walk, but nothing came of it. Familia set out for his second inning of work, which was an adventure for him, though hardly his fault.
A Nick Ahmed flyout and an excellent play by Pete Alonso on a Tim Locastro grounder saw Familia get two quick outs. And then he got BABIP’d into oblivion.
Pavin Smith grounded into a weird spot in the shift, and Lindor played it conservatively, resulting in an infield single. Back to back broken bat singles by Carson Kelly and Josh Rojas saw the bases loaded on balls that were all hit approximately four miles per hour. However, as everyone reading this knows, ball don’t lie, and Familia got Christian Walker to ground out on a hard hit ball to Lindor, who bobbled an in-between hop and nearly overthrew Alonso, who made his second nice play of the inning.
The Mets added a much needed insurance run in the seventh. Jose Peraza led off with a pinch hit walk, and was forced out on a fielder’s choice hit by McNeil, who beat out a would-be double play ball. He subsequently stole second after what felt like one million throw-overs by Chris Devenski, and scored on a broken bat bloop single off the bat of Lindor.
Aaron Loup had a heck of a time in the eighth inning, giving up a one out single to Cabrera and a two out walk to Ahmed. Stephen Vogt pinch hit and knocked a single through the shift, making it 4-2 Mets in the process. Loup got Pavin Smith to ground out back to him, ending the threat. Albert Almora and the -illars went three up, three down, and noted YouTuber and Twitch streamer Trevor May came in for his first save as a Met.
A lead off, hard hit, single by Kelly would be all he gave up, as three fly outs in a row secured their fourth win in a row, May’s first save as a member of the Mets, and a series win for the ballclub.
The Mets will look for the sweep with the best pitcher in baseball, Jacob deGrom (likely) taking the mound in his return from a lat injury on Sunday afternoon at 1:10 pm.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big Mets winner: Jeff McNeil, +15.5% WPA
Big Mets loser: James McCann, -6.2% WPA
Mets pitchers: +34.1% WPA
Mets hitters: +15.9% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Jeff McNeil’s two-run home run in the third, +18.8% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Christian Walker’s single off of Joey Lucchesi in the sixth, -8.4% WPA