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Good Matz And Competent Defense Return

Recently, the Mets pitchers have been struggling mightily. While the pitchers have their own share of the blame, part of their struggles have emanated from just horrific defense behind them.

The Mets defense has been the worst in the NL with a -22 DRS. It should come as no surprise the Mets have the worst BABIP and LOB%.

Well, now with Todd Frazier coming off the IL, the defense was improved dramatically. Other improvements today was Luis Guillorme at short over the sick Amed Rosario. In addition to that, the Mets best defender, Juan Lagares, was patrolling center.

Between a much better defense and some VERY questionable ball/strike calls, Steven Matz was very good tonight. In six innings, he allowed just one earned on three hits with two walks and six strikeouts.

This start was another good start for Matz making that four good starts and one putrid one. Essentially, if Matz gets at least one out, he’s going to have a good start this year.

He really wasn’t in trouble all night, and the only run came off a Rhys Hoskins fourth inning homer. That was not enough for the Phillies to overcome their then 2-0 deficit or beat the Mets.

In the third, Brandon Nimmo got it started with a single, and he’d score on an impressive double by Pete Alonso.

Wilson Ramos increased that lead to 2-0 with an RBI single scoring Alonso. Interesting thing with Ramos is he’s only hitting with runners on base.

Jeff McNeil made it 3-1 with an impressive shot off Jake Arrieta in the fifth.

Things did not go well for the Phillies past that point, and that was partially because Bryce Harper was ejected in the fourth for arguing (going ballistic) over balls and strikes.

In the seventh, the wheels came off for the Phillies.

Lagares got the rally started with a single leading off the inning, and Mickey Callaway then sent Robinson Cano to pinch hit for Seth Lugo, who had a scoreless seventh.

What’s interesting here is Cano didn’t start the game after getting hit on the hand yesterday. Really, it was fair to question if this was a deke to get a favorable pitching matchup. If so, Gabe Kapler took the bait and sent in Jose Alvarez to pitch, and Callaway countered with J.D. Davis.

Davis would hit what should have been a sure-fire double play ball, but Cesar Hernandez threw it away. The ever hustling Lagares made it to third. As the inning continued the Phillies bullpen unraveled a bit.

McNeil was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Juan Nicasio came on for Alvarez, and he hit Alonso to force home a run. Michael Conforto then made it 5-1 Mets with a sacrifice fly.

Jeurys Familia and Edwin Diaz took care of the Phillies in relatively short order to preserve the 5-1 Mets win. It was as easy a win as the Mets have had all year, and it’s a win where the Mets looked like a much better team than they have recently.

Better defense will do that for you.

Game Notes: Justin Wilson went on the IL with a sore elbow. He was replaced on the roster by Guillorme. Paul Sewald, not Jacob Rhame, was sent down to make room for Frazier. With the win, Matz snapped a 14 game winless streak at Citi Field.

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