Words cannot begin to describe the pandemonium that occurred at Citizens Bank Park Thursday night as the Mets faced off against the Phillies, in what was a very routine, boring game for much of the night.
Taijuan Walker got the start, the third consecutive time he faced Philadelphia to begin the season, and struggled from the jump. Walker allowed four runs in the first, as the Phillies jumped out to an early 4-0 lead, which only grew from there. In the second inning, they were able to plate another run before Bryce Harper and Nick Castellanos hit solo homers in the fourth, making it 7-0 Philadelphia.
Walker’s night ended after those four innings, as he gave up 7 runs, 6 of them earned, while allowing 9 hits and striking out only two batters. When he exited the game, it looked like Walker was in line for his first loss of the year.
At the plate, the Mets looked hopeless against Aaron Nola, as he moved up and down their lineup with ease, as they were unable to get anything going. In the sixth inning, Starling Marte hit a solo home run to put the Mets on the board and make it a 7-1 game. Nola’s night ended for the Phillies after 7 outstanding innings, as he allowed just the one run via Marte’s homer while striking out 7.
Following Taijuan Walker’s early exit, Chasen Shreve and Adonis Medina both had terrific relief appearances, combining for three scoreless innings and keeping the game at 7-1, allowing the Mets to have a fighting chance heading into the top of the ninth inning.
After Starling Marte led off the top of the ninth with a single, his second hit of the night, Francisco Lindor broke out of his recent slump in a big, big way, crushing a two-run homer deep into the night. This brought the score to 7-3, inching the Mets closer against what has been a Phillies bullpen that struggles at closing games in recent years.
Pete Alonso and Jeff McNeil kept the rally going, with hits of their own, putting two runners on with one out, and forcing Joe Girardi to bring in his closer, Corey Knebel. The first batter Knebel faced was Mark Canha, and Canha swung at an 0-1 fastball, lining the ball right back at Knebel. The ball hit off Knebel’s ankle, bouncing to the grass off the pitchers mound, allowing Canha to reach first on an infield single, and more importantly plating Alonso, and cutting the Phillies lead to 7-4.
This brought Dom Smith to the plate as the tying run, and he was able to work his at-bat to a full count, thanks partially to a generous call from the home plate umpire. However, Smith was unable to do any damage, striking out on a nasty 3-2 curveball, and leaving the Mets with only one out to play with two runners on.
Two outs was no problem for pinch hitter J.D. Davis, as Davis attacked a 2-0 fastball and ripped the ball down the leftfield line. Jeff McNeil was able to score while Canha advanced to third, putting the tying runs on base. Brandon Nimmo was up next, and kept the train moving, with a base hit of his own to centerfield. Both Canha and pinch-runner Travis Jankowski were able to score, as the Mets came all the way back to tie the game at 7.
The man who started off the inning was up next, and Starling Marte was able to cap it off, lacing a ball deep into left centerfield. If this were a couple of years ago, the ball of the bat most likely would have been gone for a home run, but instead Marte would have to settle for a go-ahead RBI double to put the Mets in the lead 8-7.
In the bottom of the ninth inning, closer Edwin Diaz continued his strong start to the season, throwing nasty pitch after nasty pitch, striking out two batters and retiring the Phillies in order, securing an 8-7 Mets victory.
This was a game that won’t soon be forgotten, as it is the one of the highlights of the Mets’ 2022 season thus far. It was a comeback of historic measures, as the Mets had lost their last 330 games when trialing by 6 or more runs when entering the final inning. They improved to 19-9 to start the season, and continue to show us day in and day out that they are in fact a Good baseball team.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big winner: Starling Marte, +39%
Big loser: Taijuan Walker, -35% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: -15% WPA
Total batter WPA: +65% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Starling Marte’s game winning RBI double in the ninth inning, +40.3% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Bryce Harper’s solo homer in the fourth inning, -22% WPA