The Las Vegas 51s Made This Fun
Look, even with the Mets remaining schedule, it was unrealistic to expect them to finish the year undefeated. They’re going to lose some games. Tonight was a game you’d expect with Sean Gilmartin, who hasn’t started a game in over a month, having to make the spot start because Noah Syndergaard has strep throat.
Things went worse than expected. Right off the bat, the Phillies went up 3-0 off a Maikel Franco three run homer. Gilmartin then loaded the bases, including an intentional walk to the right place hitter Jorge Alfaro. Things were going so poorly for Gilmartin tonight, he couldn’t escape the jam. Opposing pitcher Alec Asher would hit a two RBI single chasing Gilmartin from the game.
Terry Collins brought in Rafael Montero, who eventually got out of the jam. Of course with him being Montero, he’d make things a lot worse.
Under his watch, the Phillies lead would expand to 10-0. Given the state of the Mets bullpen, Collins did the smart thing and made Montero just get through it. Montero allowed five earned on 3.1 innings. Collins pulled him after 67 pitches.
The bright side about going down 10-0 is Collins was able to pull his starters and give them some time off. Collins gave his starters to put a run on the board, but they didn’t. With that, Collins pulled Jose Reyes, Asdrubal Cabrera, Yoenis Cespedes, and Curtis Granderson. He replaced them with T.J. Rivera, Gavin Cecchini, Ty Kelly, and Brandon Nimmo.
Astutely, Collins also left in Travis d’Arnaud, Lucas Duda, and Michael Conforto. Each of these players need to get some reps if they are going to be the postseason contributors the Mets need them to be.
This is the group of players that would make the game some fun. While the starters couldn’t hit Asher the backups could.
Duda got the rally started by busting it out of the box and reaching on a Freddy Galvis error. After a d’Arnaud single, Franco would throw the ball away. Instead of a possible inning ending double play, Cecchini reached, and Duda scored.
After a Rivera single, Nimmo would hit a double scoring Cecchini. Kelly then hit a sac fly scoring Nimmo. Collins then pinch hit James Loney who ruined everything by making an out. Being fair, he did hit the ball hard down the line, but still, it’s Loney.
The 51s would then get two more in the sixth. Collins actually kept Conforto in against the left-handed reliever Joely Rodriguez. Conforto got the rally started with a one out walk, and Duda followed with a single up the middle. After a d’Arnaud strikeout, Cecchini would get his first career hit with an RBI double to right-center. For some reason (oh right, he’s a bad third base coach), Tim Teufel held Duda who could’ve scored easily. Fortunately, it wouldn’t come back to bite the Mets as Rivera dribbled down the line for an RBI single. It’s a hard hit single in the box score.
In an attempt to not go to anyone who will pitch in the playoffs, Collins tried to push Jim Henderson to a second inning. Normally, this would a really bad move, but all things considered, it was understandable. When Henderson got in trouble, Collins went to Josh Smoker to try to get the Mets out of the jam.
With Cesar Hernandez reaching on a bunt single Smoker double clutched on, and A.J. Ellis swiping third when d’Arnaud tried to pick him off, it looked like the come back dream was dead. When Odubel Herrera lifted a fly ball to left, it was a foregone conclusion. Except it wasn’t. Kelly would unleash a parabolic throw home that would beat Ellis by a mile to keep the score at 10-6.
Kelly would then lead off the bottom of the seventh with a single. Alejandro De Aza pinch hit for Smoker and flied out to center. Eric Campbell then hit into an inning ending double play. It seemed as is the Mets best chance of winning the game was over. You would be wrong.
Phillies reliever Hector Neris would issue back-to-back one out walks to Duda and d’Arnaud. Cecchini would then hit his second career double, barely missing a home run, scoring Duda to make it 10-7. Finally, the Mets could bring the tying run to the plate. Unfortunately, Rivera flied out to shallow center, and Nimmo popped out.
At this point, you were expecting the Mets to come back in the ninth to win it.
Things got so insane Jay Bruce hit a pinch hit no doubt home run against Phillies reliever Michael Mariot. Campbell then came back from 0-2 and worked out an 11 pitch walk. That allowed the Mets to bring Conforto to the plate as the tying run with Duda behind him. Once Conforto walked, Duda came up as the go-ahead run. It was the first time all night, the Mets got the go-ahead run to the plate.
Duda popped out leaving it to d’Arnaud. Sadly, d’Arnaud hit a come backer to end the game. There was some slight disappointment with that. However, the young players made this a fun game to watch. Instead of losing 10-0, we got a sense of what the future may look like. It looks like a group of gritty, never say die, talented players.
Yes, the loss hurts, especially with the Cardinals having already won and the Giants winning. However, if you are going to lose, you might as well have your big guys get some rest and watch your young players thrive in the process.
Final Score: Phillies 10 – 51s 8 – Mets 0
Game Notes: With Cecchini, Nimmo, and Conforto playing, the Mets had three of Sandy Alderson’s first round draft picks in the same lineup. With the loss, the Nationals clinched the NL East.