If you saw the news of Francisco Lindor’s injury and Jacob deGrom’s lingering soreness and thought to yourself “how could this day possibly get worse?”, I have news for you! Despite leading the no good, very bad Pittsburgh Pirates 6-0 going into the bottom of the eighth inning, the Mets somehow managed to lose Saturday night’s game 9-7 at the conclusion of the ninth.
It’s easy to forget that before the horrors of the final two innings of baseball descended upon the club we call the New York Mets, things weren’t half bad. To that point, I suppose the best place to start is, well, the start.
The first three innings of this ballgame essentially followed a pattern of the Mets getting one or more men on base before depressingly grounding into a double play while the Pirates did more or less the same thing just without the inevitability of the double play. If you’re really desperate for highlights of the first third, Michael Conforto and Luis Guillorme both getting stranded at second base is all I have for you, sorry.
Before getting into the offensive highlights of the Mets, it seems like a good time to give some attention to Tylor Megill for putting up the best start of his big league career up to this point. If you want to throw your hands up and say “well actually it was against the Pirates” I am not going to stop you, I’m a blogger, not a cop. Pirates or otherwise, Megill went six scoreless innings allowing no walks, striking out a pair and found himself in line for a win if [redacted] hadn’t happened. He lowered his season ERA to 2.63 and at the end of the day, that’s pretty good.
The Mets’ half of the fourth inning marked the beginning of the Era of Good Feelings as J.D. Davis followed Jeff McNeil’s walk with a two-run home run, giving him his first hit since May 1 and his first home run since April 25. From there, the Mets returned to their regularly scheduled shutting down at the hands of Will Crowe as the Pirates did the same against Megill.
Two innings later, a similar gameplan lead to a similar outcome as Pete Alonso singled to lead off the inning and J.D. Davis hit another two-run home run, his first since about 45 minutes earlier, giving the Mets a 4-0 lead. This dinger led to Crowe’s removal from the game and Old Friend Chasen Shreve entered to immediately give up a double to Dominic Smith before retiring Michael Conforto and James McCann to end the threat and close the top of the sixth.
It wasn’t long before the Mets found themselves scoring more runs as Luis Guillorme led off the seventh inning by reaching base on an error before coming around on a Travis Blankenhorn pinch hit fan interference’d double off the wall in center field. After a Brandon Nimmo walk and an Alonso groundout, Jeff McNeil came up with men on the corners and brought one more home on a slashed single into the shortstop hole. Naturally, the inning ended with a double play, but the Mets had a 6-0 lead in the seventh inning against one of the worst teams in baseball, surely that would hold up, right? [angry man off-screen does a throat slit gesture in my direction]
Though he walked a batter and allowed a hit, Trevor May got the Mets through the last of the seventh with their six-run lead intact while Kyle Crick worked his way around a walk and a hit of his own to keep the Bucs as they were. For those of you with weak stomachs and/or hearts, this is the part where I encourage your to disembark the ride.
Seth Lugo was given the ball in the eighth which seems like it should’ve been a pretty solid decision. To start things off, Lugo walked All Star Bryan Reynolds which wasn’t optimal, but hey, it’s only one batter. Lugo then gave up a single to Ben Gamel, bringing Reynolds to second base. Still not great, but at least it’s with a six-run cushion. Certified Clown John Nogowski doubled down the line in left field to bring a run home and leave two me in scoring position, still with none out. Gregory Polanco worked a walk immediately after this and suddenly the six runs didn’t seem nearly safe enough for the moment. Jacob Stallings popped out (we’ll get back to him later) for the first out of the inning and Kevin Newman beat out a double play ball to drag another run across and making it a 6-2 game.
With the relief pitcher’s spot coming up, the Pirates called Wilmer Difo off the bench to maybe bring one more run home, possibly two if they’re lucky. Difo defied expectations and sent the first pitch he swung at over the 21-foot Clemente wall in right field, bringing Pittsburgh all the way to a dangerously close 6-5 score. Aaron Loup was called on to get the last out and mercifully he got it without any issue.
Leading off the ninth inning, Brandon Nimmo hit his first home run since coming off of the injured list and gave the Mets a slightly more tolerable two-run lead. With no more runs coming home, it was up to Edwin Diaz to hold onto a 7-5 lead against Literally The Pittsburgh Pirates.
The first pitch Diaz threw hit Ke’Bryan Hayes, so I guess you can say things aren’t optimal. Four of Diaz’s next five pitches were out of the zone, allowing Bryan Reynolds to reach on a walk and bring the go-ahead run to the plate almost immediately. Ben Gamel struck out on five pitches which was neat, but John Nogowski dinked an infield single to load the bases. One mound visit later, Gregory Polanco was sent back to the dugout on strikes after a nine-pitch battle, leaving Jacob Stallings as the only thing standing between Edwin Diaz and his most impressive Wallenda stunt of the year. The first pitch Diaz threw was a fastball outside the zone and Stallings made contact.
93.7 MPH off the bat.
40 degree launch angle.
.030 expected batting average.
*illar of the game
Both *illars went 0-for-1 in their only plate appearances of the game so neither of them win the title...or maybe both of them do.
Win Probability Added
Big Mets winner: J.D. Davis, +35.5% WPA
Big Mets loser: Edwin Diaz, -91.2% WPA
Mets pitchers: -73.7% WPA
Mets hitters: +23.7% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: J.D. Davis’ first home run, +19.3% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Jacob Stallings walk off grand slam, -82.8% WPA