After their demoralizing loss in extra innings on Tuesday night, the Mets had to win on Wednesday to secure the series win. It was a battle of the southpaws, with young Mets starter David Peterson facing off against the veteran Madison Bumgarner.
Bumgarner had previously had great success against the Mets, but this is a different Bumgarner, one who is starting to show the effects of a lengthy career and the amount of work he had done in the past. Peterson is inconsistent, with some starts being great and others being downright bad. The Mets had to find a way to attack Bumgarner early to get Peterson a lead to work with, so he’d be okay if he had some rough patches.
Now, before this recap goes any further, let it be noted that today was the first annual Lou Gehrig Day across the league. June 2, the day Gehrig was born in 1903 and the day he passed in 1941, is a new baseball holiday where players wore patches on their jerseys, wristbands, and various activities were planned to pay homage to the Iron Horse. The idea behind the day is to raise awareness and funds for ALS research, the disease that bears Gehrig’s name, that claimed his life at such a young age. It’s understandable if this was in question, as today’s Youtube broadcast spent all of two minutes discussing it. (Note: the author has a personal connection to the disease.)
In the first inning, the Mets came out of the inning swinging. With Bumgarner showing big signs of weakness, the Mets pounced. It started with a leadoff single by Villar, then a single by Lindor, which raised his batting average to .202. Then James McCann rocketed a ball over the fence in left field, putting the Mets up 3 runs before they even recorded an out. Pete Alonso and Kevin Pillar both got singles, and then Dom Smith hit what looked to be a long flyout to right field, but a Pavin Smith misplay led to the bases being loaded with no outs. Brandon Drury grounded into a double play, but Alonso scored, tacking on another run. José Peraza grounded out to end the top of the first.
In the bottom of the first the Diamondbacks started giving it right back. Following a leadoff walk by Peterson to Carson Kelly, Ketel Marte hit a two-run home run to cut the lead in half. Eduardo Escobar popped out for the first out, then Christian Walker singled, prolonging the inning. Peterson proceeded to give up two consecutive walks to Pavin Smith and Nick Ahmed, and then a two-run single to the new Diamondback Ildemaro Vargas before being pulled for Robert Gsellman. Gsellman on the first pitch got a pop-up out to Alonso. Bumgarner then hit a single, driving in a run and putting the Diamondbacks ahead of the Mets. Gsellman got Carson Kelly (in his second at-bat of the inning) to ground out to Lindor and stop the bleeding.
In the second, Gsellman led off the inning with a strikeout, then Villar laced a double into right field. Lindor popped out, but with two outs McCann drove in his fourth run of the game with an RBI single to center field, tying up the score at five runs apiece. Alonso struck out swinging to bring the top of the inning to an end. In the bottom of the second, Gsellman got things started by inducing a groundout from Ketel Marte. Eduardo Escobar singled to right, but a hard line out from Christian Walker caused him to be doubled off by Alonso at first, ending the inning.
In the third inning, the Diamondbacks brought in Riley Smith to take over from Bumgraner, and Pillar led off by grounding out. Dom Smith gave the Mets a baserunner with a single to left field. Drury popped out and Peraza flew out, marking the first inning of the game in which the Mets didn’t score. In the bottom of the third Gsellman got Pavin Smith to ground out on the first pitch of the inning. He followed that with two more ground outs, Ahmed to Villar and Vargas back to Gsellman himself. The inning ended with neither team scoring, marking a first for the game.
In the fourth inning, the Mets started off with a groundout from Gsellman, followed by a groundout from Villar. Lindor then kept the inning going by dropping a bunt for a single with two outs. McCann hit a ground ball past Vargas for a single. After drawing a full count, Alonso grounded out to Escobar, ending the top half of the fourth with runners stranded on first and second. Gsellman had another clean inning in the bottom of the fourth. Locastro flew out to Drury, Riley Smith struck out, and Kelly lined out to Drury, ending the fourth.
At the start of the fifth inning Pillar started things off with a first pitch single to center field. Dom Smith hit what could’ve been a fly out, but Locastro couldn’t hold onto it when he dove to catch it, which got two men on with no outs. Drury followed up with another single, driving in a run to put the Mets on top for the first time since the first inning. Seth Lugo made his first appearance of the season in the bottom of the fifth, and started off his season on a strong note by throwing a clean inning with just 10 pitches. Marte popped out to Villar, Escobar struck out, and Walker lined out to Pillar. A good start of the season for one of the Mets best relievers.
In the sixth, the Diamondbacks brought in a new pitcher, Taylor Clarke, and Villar started things out with a fly out to Marte. Lindor hit a ball to the warning track that was caught by Locastro. McCann couldn’t make anything happen in his fourth at-bat of the game, lining out to Pavin Smith. Lugo’s second inning started off less than ideal, with Pavin Smith knocking a ball past new Mets infielder Travis Blankenhorn for a double, extending his hitting streak and creating a wrinkle for Lugo to work around. The next batter got a bloop single to center, creating trouble with men on first and third with no outs. Vargas hit a slow chopper up the third base line, and by the time Peraza (now playing third) got to it, he had no play at any base, and the Diamondbacks scored a run to tie up the game. Lugo combined good luck with skill, as he was able to catch a bunt from Locastro before it hit the ground and threw to Lindor at second to double off Ahmed. Lugo then struck out pinch hitter Josh Reddick, ending the inning before any more damage could be done.
In the seventh, the Diamondbacks brought in Kevin Ginkel to pitch. Alonso started things out by flying out to Pavin Smith. Pillar then popped up to Ahmed for the second out. Dom Smith drew a walk to prolong the inning. The Diamondbacks then switched pitchers again and brought in the lefty Ryan Buchter to face Mason Williams. Williams flew out to Locastro, stranding Dom Smith at first. In the bottom half of the inning Miguel Castro took over the mound for the Mets and had a clean inning on 10 pitches. He got two ground outs from Kelly and Marte, and then got Escobar to pop out in foul ground, keeping the game tied.
The Diamondbacks kept Buchter in for the eighth to face the lower third of the Mets’ lineup. Peraza started things out with a swinging strikeout. Billy McKinney, brought in to play right field in a defensive switcheroo a few innings earlier, also struck out. Blankenhorn, in his first at-bat, decided to shake things up in the inning by striking out. Miguel Castro came out in the bottom of the inning to get another inning of work. On the first pitch of the inning Walker hit a long fly ball that was run down and hauled in by McKinney. Pavin Smith walked on four straight balls, but before any trouble could brew Castro induced a double play, getting both Pavin Smith and Ahmed out and ending the inning.
The ninth inning arrived with both teams deadlocked at 6, and the Diamondbacks brought out Joakim Soria to try and keep the game tied up. The first batter he faced was Lindor, whose hot streak continued as on the second pitch he saw he laced a ball into the gap in right-center field and pulled into second with no one out and the heart of the lineup coming up behind him. James McCann followed that up with a groundout to Soria that didn’t even allow Lindor to move up a base. However, a passed ball by Kelly with Alonso at the plate allowed Lindor to move up to third base with one out. Alonso singled and drove in Lindor, putting the Mets up by a run. Pillar then popped out to Vargas. Alonso was moved to second after a balk, but the inning ended with a strikeout by Dom Smith. In the bottom of the ninth, Edwin Díaz came in to close the game. He started things out by getting Vargas to ground out, then Josh Rojas stepped up to the plate to pinch hit for Locastro, and Díaz struck him out. And on one pitch, Díaz got David Peralta to fly out to Dom Smith to end the game.
After securing the series win, the Mets are now headed to sunny San Diego to take on the vaunted Padres, who have become a little shakier as of late with an oblique injury to Fernando Tatis, Jr. and a collision on the field during today’s game between Tommy Pham and Ha-Seong Kim that resulted in both leaving the game early. The Mets will play four games in San Diego, and are projected to face three of the Padres’ big off-season acquisitions, Yu Darvish, Blake Snell, and Joe Musgrove.
*illar of the game
Tie: Villar went 2-for-4 with two runs scored before leaving the game with hamstring tightness. Pillar went 2-for-5 with one run scored—but it was also his first start since he was hit in the face with the fastball. So I’m going to call it dead heat.
Win Probability Added
Big Mets winner: Francisco Lindor, +29.9% WPA
Big Mets loser: David Peterson, -42.0% WPA
Mets pitchers: +12.0% WPA
Mets hitters: +38.0%
Teh aw3s0mest play: James McCann’s 3-run home run in the first, +17.7% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Ildemaro Vargas’ single in the first, -15.8% WPA