The Mets clinched a postseason spot last night, and then had a fairly muted celebration afterwards. Given that there is still a division to win, it made sense to show some amount of restraint while still reveling in the team’s accomplishments. Still, even with said restraint, it was still easy to envision the headlines if the Mets had come out the next day and put up a poor performance: the critics who love to find reasons to pile on the team would have loved nothing more than to shout to the heavens about how the team had celebrated too soon and subsequently came out looking hungover, and how it demonstrated a lack of seriousness that would ultimately be the team’s undoing.
For the first few innings tonight, it looked as though the Mets were preparing to give the skeptics exactly what they wanted. But after initially showing some offensive listlessness, they ended up getting some incredibly clutch homers from the usual suspects, and they ultimately came away with a 7-5 win to maintain their one-game lead in first place.
The Mets loaded the bases in the first inning against Aaron Ashby, but they failed to score. Instead, the Brewers were the ones to draw first blood in the second inning, as Carlos Carrasco—coming off an excellent start against the Pirates—surrendered back-to-back leadoff doubles to Kolten Wong and Andrew McCutchen, followed by a one-out single by Omar Narvaez to plate another run. Then after recording the second out, Carrasco issued a walk to Christian Yelich and followed that with an RBI single to Willy Adames, giving Milwaukee an early 3-0 lead.
Carrasco threw over 50 pitches in those first two frames, virtually ensuring that he would not last long into the game, but he did manage to throw two scoreless innings after getting roughed up in the second. Trevor Williams came on to replace him in the fifth inning and had a rare rough appearance, giving up a leadoff double to Adames (his third hit of the day) and then, after getting the next two outs, surrendering an RBI single to Wong to extend the Brewers’ lead to 4-0. He very nearly gave up even more, as he put the next two batters on with a walk and a hit-by-pitch, respectively, but he managed to get out of the inning having given up just the one run.
Meanwhile, Ashby—who was making his return from the injured list and thus on a limited pitch count—left the game after just two innings, but for quite some time the Mets offense was unable to get anything going against the Brewers bullpen. Peter Strzelecki and Hoby Milner combined for 3.1 perfect innings, and it looked for a while like the Mets were determined to go down quietly. However, they began to make things interesting when Brad Boxberger came on to pitch midway through the sixth inning. He immediately greeted Mark Canha by hitting him with a pitch, and Francisco Lindor followed that up with a groundball single to right field. That brought Pete Alonso to the plate, and the league leader in RBIs added three more to his total by socking a long three-run bomb to center field, getting the Mets to within a run.
After Williams and Joely Rodríguez combined for a scoreless sixth inning, the Mets offense once again took advantage of a new pitcher when Taylor Rogers came on with one out in the seventh. It was immediately evident that his control was not there, as he walked pinch-hitter Darin Ruf on four pitches and then quickly issued free passes to the next two batters as well to load the bases. The Mets threatened to squander that opportunity after Mark Canha struck out on three strikes, but that simply allowed Lindor hitting behind him to play the hero. On the very first pitch from Rogers, the star shortstop hit a long grand slam to left field to make the score 7-4 and give the Mets their first lead of the game. It was, in my professional opinion, a really fucking cool moment.
The bullpen still had three innings to get through to seal the win, and they proceeded to bend slightly without fully breaking. After Rodríguez (who has quietly looked quite solid in his last few appearances) retired Rowdy Tellez to start off the seventh, Trevor May came on and gave up two well-struck singles, but also recorded two strikeouts to get through the frame. Adam Ottavino then came on for the eighth and also gave the Brewers a chance, as Garrett Mitchell got on-base with a single and, after stealing second, scored on a two-out single by the red-hot Adames to make it 7-5. Not looking to fool around, Buck Showalter turned to the well-rested Edwin Díaz to record a four-out save. Díaz quickly got to work by striking out Tellez to end the inning, and he wasted no time in ending things when he came back out for the ninth, recording two more strikeouts and shutting the Brewers down with ease to secure the victory.
With that, the Mets have won six straight. The Braves are still refusing to make things easy for the Amazins, as they continue to rack up victory after victory. But as long as this team continues to take care of their own business as well as they have done over the past several days, it will hardly matter. The Mets will now go for their second straight sweep tomorrow afternoon with Taijuan Walker taking the mound.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big Mets winner: Francisco Lindor, +58.9% WPA
Big Mets loser: Carlos Carrasco, -15.3% WPA
Mets pitchers: 0% WPA
Mets hitters: +48.6% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Francisco Lindor grand slam in the seventh, +53.2% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Andrew McCutchen RBI single in the second, -9.8% WPA