The Mets have now entered their final week of the season while staring at an uncertain future. The underperformance of the 2021 Mets will lead to some hard decisions by the front office, while a few players have decisions to make regarding their own future. One such player is Marcus Stroman, who got the start in game one of the doubleheader against the Marlins.
Stroman has done everything the Mets could’ve possibly wanted from him this season after opting out of the 2020 season. With free agency on the horizon, his final audition in front of the home crowd was another good showing. He certainly left his mark stealing a base and giving Jazz Chisholm a piggyback ride after a near collision at first, but he was also solid on the mound. He pitched five good innings, gave up two runs, and struck out four. The two runs came on one swing by Lewin Díaz which was Stroman’s only mistake.
Stroman also got some help from his catcher Tomás Nido, who threw out two runners on the basepaths. The caught stealing in the third was especially critical since it came with runners on first and third and one out. After Bryan De La Cruz struck out, Nido caught Jazz Chisholm attempting to steal but was helped out by a nifty tag by Javier Báez who continues to be magic in the field, and preserved the Mets’ slim one-run lead at the time.
The Mets’ lead was thanks to Francisco Lindor who drove in Brandon Nimmo with a single in the first after Nimmo tripled to open the inning. While looking poised to score more runs that inning, the offense stalled and the team had to settle for just the one run.
That continued to be the case until the Marlins’ defense got involved. Two misplays in the third led to two runs, which was the difference in the game until the sixth when Lindor struck again. He hit a two-run shot to left off Steven Okert to give Edwin Díaz some breathing room for the save in the seventh.
It turns out Díaz would not need the extra cushion; he looked flat out dominant. He struck out two and dispatched the Marlins with ease to nail down the victory. Seth Lugo also had a good outing the previous inning, as he looks to finish his season on a high note.
Overall, the pitching was good and even though the offense as a whole struggled, their star shortstop did enough to lead them to victory, which is a positive to build on heading into a critical offseason.
*illar of the game
This is a tough one since they both benefitted from shoddy Marlins defense. We’ll call it a draw.
Win Probability Added
Big Mets winner: Marcus Stroman, +14.0% WPA
Big Mets loser: Tomás Nido, -8.2% WPA
Mets pitchers: 28.1% WPA
Mets hitters: 21.9% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Jonathan Villar single in third
Teh sux0rest play: Lewin Diaz home run in fourth
Though the Mets are in the skull and crossbones zone when it comes to playoff contention, the second game of Tuesday’s doubleheader had a special reason to tune in and, even it was only for an inning, feel happy for a few moments. For the first time since 730 days ago when Dominic Smith walked off the Braves in the final game of the 2019 season, Noah Syndergaard was back and pitching on a major league mound. Syndergaard didn’t pitch long enough to earn the win, but after seven innings of regulation ball and two extra, the Mets ended their final doubleheader of the season with a 2-1 win over the Marlins.
Naturally, the place to start is, well, the start, as Noah Syndergaard took the mound, making his debut in 2021 and the Steve Cohen Era. The first batter he faced was Miguel Rojas and four 96mph fastballs later, Rojas struck out, giving Syndergaard an immaculate 100 K%. Jazz Chisholm was up next and things were more or less the same, four pitches later, this time with three changeups on the back end, Chisholm and struck out. Bryan De La Cruz had to ruin the fun and the perfect strikeout ratios though as he grounded out on the second pitch he saw, ending Noah Syndergaard’s debut, and potentially season, with a perfect inning of work.
Opposite Noah Syndergaard was one of the leading candidates for National League Rookie of the Year in the form of Trevor Rogers. By the time he departed, Rogers pitched five innings of the seven scheduled, allowing one run on three hits and striking out six. Prior to Javy Báez’s single with two out in the fourth, Rogers had successfully retired every Mets batter to step in against him.
The one blemish on Rogers’ record, and the entire Marlins’ pitching staff until Manfred Rules took over in the ninth inning was the run allowed in the fifth inning after Jonathan Villar doubled to the wall and came around to score on Kevin Pillar’s single, sending the game into a 1-1 tie that would hold for another four innings of play.
After Syndergaard departed following his inning of work, Trevor Williams was called upon to be the follower and did a respectable job. The first pitch he threw went over the wall on Jesús Sánchez’s 14th homer of the year, providing the Marlins only run of the night. Once Sánchez touched home and returned to the dugout, things got a lot better for Williams as he finished four innings of work only allowing four more hits and striking out six Marlins while keeping them off the board and, more importantly, keeping the Mets in the game.
Just as Richard Bleier, Anthony Bender and Dylan Floro kept the Mets’ bats quiet until their half of the ninth, Miguel Castro, Trevor May, Jeurys Familia, and Brad Hand silenced Miami for four consecutive innings, including two with a man starting on second. In Familia’s case, the first successful pickoff of his career erased the ghost runner before he even had a chance to truly live.
Speaking of Manfred Ball Rules, Javy Báez grounded out with two men on in the eighth, so he was standing on second to start the Mets’ half of the ninth inning. Pete Alonso plonked a grounder off the pitcher’s mound, moving Báez to third base with James McCann coming up, giving the catcher the best possible odds to win the game. Seven pitches deep into his at bat, McCann nudged a ball almost directly in front of the mound as Báez sprinted home, dove head-first, and scored on what was called a fielder’s choice, giving the Mets a 2-1 triumph. His teammates took James McCann to Titi Citi, and for those still paying attention to this detestably compelling team, it was a fairly successful Tuesday at the park.
*illar of the game
Kevin Pillar drove in a run, but Jonathan Villar was the man who scored, plus he had one more hit than Kevin, so this *illar crown goes to V.
Win Probability Added
Big Mets winners: Jeurys Familia & Brad Hand, +47.4% WPA
Big Mets loser: Jeff McNeil, -48.0% WPA
Mets pitchers: +128.1% WPA
Mets hitters: -78.1% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Kevin Pillar’s fifth inning RBI single, +20.2% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Jesus Sanchez’s second inning go-ahead homer, -13.7% WPA