In a battle of two aces on their third clubs, Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole lived up to their billing in the finale of the Queens-based Subway Series games in 2023. Once they left, everything got sloppy, and the Mets barely eked out a 4-3 victory.
Both Verlander and Cole started the game off with innings where both men had to work. Both escaped damage in the first, and continued to pitch excellent games, keeping both teams off the board until the fifth inning.
In the bottom of said inning, a pair of doubles by Francisco Lindor and Tommy Pham led to the Mets’ first run. Unfortunately, the Yankees followed suit in the top of the sixth, with a double by José Trevino, a sacrifice fly and a single led to the Yankees tying the game. An impressive 5-4-3 double play, with excellent defensive work from Eduardo Escobar, Jeff McNeil, and Mark Vientos ended the threat.
The Mets came out swinging in the sixth, with Mark Vientos and Brandon Nimmo each reaching base via hard hit singles. However, a strikeout, a fly out, and a foul pop up got Cole through six with just one run allowed.
Verlander was excellent in his six innings tonight, giving up just three hits and one run, along with six strikeouts and no walks. He was matched nicely by Cole, giving up four hits and no walks with eight strikeouts. The first six innings of this game were a wonderful, enjoyable pitchers’ duel.
Sadly, the final three innings of the game had little of the grace or joy of the first six.
For as effective as Verlander was, Jeff Brigham was the opposite. His first eight pitches led to a walk and a hit batsman without recording an out. A strikeout of DJ LeMahieu gave the Mets a little hope, but a ground ball by Isiah Kiner-Falefa that as never going to be a double play was bobbled at first base by Vientos, and allowed Josh Donaldson to score the go-ahead run. As much as Vientos should have made that play, McNeil should have known who was running and put the ball in his pocket.
Brooks Raley relieved Brigham, and a terrible throw to second to attempt to throw out Kiner-Falefa led to a runner at third. Raley never looked over at third base, which led to Kiner-Falefa stealing home to bring in the third run. The entire Mets infield and dugout seemed indifferent to IKF’s extreme lead off of third, not alerting Raley to the situation, which seems like the least a teammate can do in that situation.
The Mets loaded the bases against Jimmy Corder, bringing in Ron Marinaccio with two outs to face Brandon Nimmo. Nimmo was hit by a pitch bringing in the second Mets’ second run. A single ripped off the bat of Starling Marte brought in the tying run, but Nimmo never looked up when rounding second on his way to third, and when Vientos was held, was tagged out on the play. A review challenge was not successful for the Mets, and the game was tied going into the eighth inning.
Adam Ottavino was greeted by an Anthony Volpe single but, aside from a very questionable shift-violation against McNeil at second, the inning was uneventful, with Ottavino not allowing another baserunner. Tommy Kahnle struck out two on his way to a clean bottom of the eighth.
Facing David Robertson with one out, LeMahieu banged a single off the tarp, allowing him to reach second. A walk to pinch hitter Gleiber Torres put two on with one out. Former Met Billy McKinney was next up, and he hit a slow dribbler to first, moving the runners on a ground out. Willie Calhoun was the second pinch hitter of the inning for the Yankees, but could not push a run across to give the Yankees the late lead.
Albert Abreu induced weak contact from Brett Baty and Pham for the first two outs, and struck out Escobar for the final out in regulation.
Dominic Leone entered for the tenth and did not allow the Manfred Man, or anyone else for that matter, to cross the plate. Aside from an intentional walk to Giancarlo Stanton, Leone didn’t allow a baserunner. This seemed like the kind of minor miracle that the Mets had to capitalize on in the bottom of the inning, so that the already shorthanded, overused, belabored bullpen could not roll the dice yet again against a dangerous Yankees lineup.
After Abreu got the first out of the tenth, Nick Ramirez came in to face Nimmo. Nimmo, whose outfield play may have cost the Mets the game last night and whose baserunning almost cost them the game tonight, blasted a ball off of the right-field wall to bring in Escobar, the Manfred Man, for the win. Escobar almost got thrown out at the plate for, somehow, tagging up on that play and not being at least half way to third by the time the ball hit the wall. However, since he scored, no harm, no foul, in what was the end of a sloppy night in Queens.
The Mets are off tomorrow before welcoming in the Cardinals for Pride Night on Friday.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big Mets winner: Brandon Nimmo, +48.2% WPA
Big Mets loser: Brett Baty, -20.9% WPA
Mets pitchers: +19.2% WPA
Mets hitters: +30.8% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Brandon Nimmo’s game-winning double, +32.2% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Anthony Volpe’s eighth inning double, -13.8% WPA