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Scherzer and Lindor star as the Mets sweep the doubleheader against the Giants

The Mets passed a big early season test, beating the Giants twice in one day.

San Francisco Giants v New York Mets - Game One Photo by Dustin Satloff/Getty Images

Game 1;

On a chilly, windy April afternoon, the Giants came out swinging. 5 pitches, all swung at, got Tylor Megill through the first inning unscathed. The Giants clearly had an ‘attack early’ approach at the plate, inspired by Megill’s lack of walks thus far this season.

The Mets struck first on the back of Starling Marte. A looper over the head of Thairo Estrada put Marte on first. A stolen base and an errant throw from Joey Bart put Marte on third with one out. A wild pitch led to a run, giving the Mets a 1-0 lead.

While the first inning was full of hard hit balls against Megill, the hardest hit ball came in the second inning, when Joc Pederson drilled a home run to straight away center to tie the game.

Following Pederson’s home run, the Giants continued to swing early and often, and hit three ground balls found holes, scoring a second run. Megill’s velocity, perhaps hindered by the weather, was down to a more expected 94-95, as opposed to the 98-99 he was hitting in his first two starts. The Mets got out of the inning with only two runs scoring after a strikeout by Bart and catching Jason Vosler in a rundown.

The first two runners in the third reached base on an inside-out grounder and Megill’s first walk of 2022. A wild pitch moved the runners to second and third, which led to a Brandon Crawford two-RBI single, putting the Mets down 4-1.

Megill settled in a bit in the fourth and fifth, and kept the Giants off the board. However, the Mets were having no luck at all against Alex Cobb, who looked absolutely dominant for the first four innings, working his splitter and curveball, plus a fastball that added a couple of miles per hour from last year.

The fifth inning saw the Mets get lucky which, as anyone will tell you, is often preferable to being good. J.D. Davis dribbled a slow roller that managed to stay fair. A ground ball led to a double play, except that the replay showed that Travis Jankowski was actually safe at first. James McCann then hit third base with a line drive, putting runners at second and third with two outs.

Jeff McNeil then hit a ball over the first base bag, scoring two and bring the Mets within a run. Cobb, running to cover first base, tweaked something in his leg or groin, and was pulled from the game. Dominic Leone relieved Cobb, who gave up two hard hit balls, out for an out, and the other an RBI double for Francisco Lindor to tie the ballgame.

The sixth inning looked quite different for Megill. With his velocity more consistently hitting 96, Megill looked like the pitcher of seven days ago as his start wound down. As pointed out on the broadcast, on the third time through the lineup, Megill gave up just one walk and no hits. For a start that began unceremoniously, Megill managed to pull his performance together in his final three innings of work. He may not be the second coming of deGrom, but Megill, especially if he can work around some bad innings, has value to this club.

Joely Rodríguez pitched a scoreless 7th where he looked as sharp as he has in a Mets uniform thus far, and then Seth Lugo walked a tightrope in the eighth, striking out Vosler with five straight curveballs before an up and in fastball.

Edwin Diaz pitched the ninth for the Mets. He started the inning off with a walk, followed it up with a strikeout and a double play. When the first two batters were walked in the bottom of the ninth, followed by a perfect sacrifice bunt by the ‘beardless wonder,’ to quote Gary Cohen, Luis Guillorme, it looked like there would be a ninth inning walk-off win.

However, Jankowski and pinch hitter Dom Smith both struck out, and the game went to extra innings. But first, your daily dose of managerial weirdness was on display.

Let’s see if you can follow this.

Tomas Nido replaced Travis Jankowski in the lineup, playing catcher. Pinch hitter Luis Guillorme stayed in the game as the designated hitter, replacing J.D. Davis. Brandon Nimmo, fresh off the Covid IL, replaced Dominic Smith, playing center field. More on this in a moment.

Adam Ottavino replaced Diaz in the ninth, and former Met and forever Met folk hero Wilmer Flores hit a fly ball that allowed the free runner to move to third. A walk to Darren Ruff put men on the corners with just one out. A liner caught by Robinson Canó got the second out. Crawford then hit a weaker grounder to Lindor, which looked to be an easy final out, but Lindor didn’t set correctly and threw the ball wide of first, allowing Belt, the aforementioned free runner, to score.

But no, that’s not what happened.

Pete Alonso saved the game by keeping his toe on the bag as he stretched and caught Lindor’s errant throw. Alonso celebrated with gusto that was both earned and awesome.

Remember all the lineup mishegoss? That was all done to ensure that Nimmo, without hitting, would be the man starting the tenth inning at second base as the ‘ghost runner’ (sorry, Gare). That’s a lot of moving parts, especially as Nimmo came out onto the field quite late. However, because Buck Showalter showed the lineup card to the umpires, it was all legit. Gabe Kapler was not pleased, and pleaded his case to start the tenth, but it wound up not mattering.

McNeil led off the tenth with a ground out, but moved Nimmo over to third. After a walk to Marte, Lindor came up with the winning run just 90 feet away. Lindor came through, shooting a ball in the right-center gap to the game winning run.

It was a weird, wild game that ended gloriously, and set up the Mets to both sweep the doubleheader and (at least) split the series with a very good Giants team.

SB Nation GameThreads

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McCovey Chronicles

Box scores

ESPN

MLB.com

Win Probability Added

Mets vs Giants 4/19/22 Game 1 WPA Chart
Fangraphs.com

What’s WPA?

Big winners: Adam Ottavino, +29.4% WPA, Francisco Lindor, +25.4%

Big losers: Travis Jankowski, -24.1% WPA, Tylor Megill, -22.3% WPA

Total pitcher WPA: 36.2% WPA

Total batter WPA: 13.8% WPA

Teh aw3s0mest play: Francisco Lindor’s game-winning single, +18.6% WPA

Teh sux0rest play: Brandon Crawford’s two-RBI single in the third, -17.2% WPA


Game 2;

After a closely contested extra innings battle in the first game of a doubleheader, the nightcap between the Mets and Giants featured one of the top pitching matchups of the young MLB season. Making his Citi Field Mets debut, Max Scherzer was going up against Logan Webb, one of the best pitchers in the majors.

The Mets got the early upper hand, getting to Webb in the third inning. Webb appeared to lose control of his fastball, throwing over 30 pitches in the inning. Following a strong afternoon game, Francisco Lindor continued his hot start to the season, with a one-out double. After a Pete Alonso walk, Eduardo Escobar lined a double down the right field line, scoring Lindor and Alonso. Dominic Smith was the next batter, and he was able to bring Escobar home, making it 3-0 for the Mets. Logan Webb’s night would be short lived, largely because of this third inning, as he threw just 3.2 innings total. While they had other chances throughout the rest of the game, these were the only three runs the Mets would score on the night.

However, it didn’t matter that the Mets scored just three runs in the game, as they have Max Scherzer, and no one else does. From the get-go, it was clear Scherzer was in the zone, having all five of his pitches working for him early on. He retired the first eight batters he faced, before walking catcher Curt Casali with two outs in the third inning.

The intrigue continued to build for Scherzer as he mowed down each Giants player with ease, entering the sixth inning with a no-hitter in tact. After striking out the first two batters of the sixth inning, Scherzer had the Citi Field faithful loud and on its feet, as everyone in the building knew what was potentially brewing. Unfortunately from there, Scherzer appeared to tire, walking Mike Yastrzemski and Brandon Belt back-to-back, driving his pitch count towards 90.

Scherzer then allowed his first hit and run of the game after allowing a single to Darin Ruf. Suddenly the Mets lead was just two runs, and Scherzer had to escape out of trouble. He did just that, and came back out for a dominant seventh inning, retiring the Giants on eight pitches, and striking out the last batter he faced.

On the night, Scherzer allowed just one run and one hit across seven innings, while striking out 10 batters. It was the 105th such time in Scherzer’s career he has reached double digit strikeouts, good enough for fifth all time. With the win in the game, Scherzer has also not taken a loss in 22 consecutive starts, a streak that now puts him 12th all time.

Drew Smith came on in relief of Scherzer in the eighth inning, and with a man on-base, gave up a very long out to Mike Yastrzemski. Off the bat it looked like it could have been a home run, and if not for the cold April weather the teams were playing in, it very well could have tied the game. From there, Trevor May pitched the ninth inning and pitched a 1-2-3 inning to secure the Mets second win of the day.

Overall, it was a great day of Mets baseball at Citi Field, as they took the first two games against the defending NL West champions. Chris Bassitt will take the mound on Wednesday night as the Mets look to secure a series victory against the Giants.

SB Nation GameThread

Amazin’ Avenue

McCovey Chronicles

Box Scores

ESPN

MLB

Win Probability Added

What’s WPA?

Big winners: Eduardo Escobar, +26% WPA, Max Scherzer, +25% WPA

Big losers: Jeff McNeil, -8% WPA, Tomas Nido, -8% WPA

Total pitcher WPA: 37% WPA

Total batter WPA: 13% WPA

Teh aw3s0mest play: Eduardo Escobar’s two-run double in the third, +22.8% WPA

Teh sux0rest play: Darin Ruf’s RBI single in the sixth, -8.6% WPA