Game Recap

That Was Wild 

Baseball is funny. There was about a four month stretch where watching Mets baseball was a tedious and frustrating exercise. It was about as painful as watching Yoenis Cespedes try to play on an injured quad. 

Speaking of pain, seemingly everyone got hurt. Of all the people in the Opening Day lineup, only Curtis Granderson and Michael Conforto didn’t wind up on the disabled list at some point. With Conforto making two trips to AAA, that left Granderson as the only Met starter available all season. 

We saw something similar last year.  However, we saw last year that a team can make it to the postseason with some big trade deadline moves, a weak schedule to finish the season, and tremendous pitching. 

Well, the trade deadline wasn’t the boon it was last year. Jay Bruce would struggle mightily until the last week of the season. 

The starting pitching we all expected wasn’t there. Matt Harvey was never healthy and needed season ending surgery. Zack Wheeler had multiple setbacks during his Tommy John rehab, and he wouldn’t pitch this year. Both Steven Matz and Jacob deGrom pitched with injuries until they couldn’t anymore. Both had season ending surgeries. 

Speaking of season ending surgeries, the Mets also lost David Wright to cervical fusion surgery and Neil Walker to discectomy. Speaking of bad backs, Lucas Duda was nowhere to be found for most of the year with him suffering a stress fracture in his back. 

Still, the Mets made it back to the postseason. They did take advantage of that weak season ending schedule. Since August 20th, the Mets have the best record in baseball. How did we get here?

Well, Noah Syndergaard and his 95 MPH slider had a Cy Young caliber season. Bartolo Colon had his best season as a Met. Addison Reed and Jeurys Familia were the most dominant 8-9 combination in all of baseball. Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman became not only unlikely contributors, but also reliable starters in the stretch run. 

Offensively, Asdrubal Cabrera became the best hitter in all of baseball the final month of the season. Cespedes got healthy, and Granderson regained his stroke. Wilmer Flores and Kelly Johnson combined to reasonably replicate Walker’s production until Flores got hurt and Johnson regressed. At that point, T.J. Rivera took complete advantage of the opportunity with the 27 year old undrafted rookie playing solid defense and spraying line drives all over the field. And yes, Jose Reyes returned to the Mets after his domestic violence issues to play better than anyone could’ve reasonably expected. 

That coupled with the Giants and Cardinals playing sub .500 ball, the Mets had their 1973 window, and the Mets took full advantage. All they needed to do was win one more game. 

Fittingly, Colon got the start (pun intended). He’d get a 2-0 lead off a pair of RBI singles from Rivera and Reyes. As he has seemingly done all year, Reyes scored Travis d’Arnaud from second. As usual, it was a questionable send by Tim Teufel as the ball beat d’Arnaud to the plate. Fortunately, the throw was to the first base side of the plate, and d’Arnaud made a nifty slide to just avoid the tag. 

That’s when ghost of Phillies past Ryan Howard tried to put a damper on the party by hitting a game tying two run home run. Up until the Howard home run, he was cruising and showing no ill effects from his tendon injury. 

In the sixth, James Loney would do his best Dave Magadan impression:

He also had a Cabrera impression with an impressive bat flip. 

Of course, Cabrera would be heard from with an RBI single in the ninth. Cespedes would also be heard from, but in a completely different way altogether:

Reed and Familia locked down the eighth and ninth inning for the 51st time this season, which is by far the most in the majors. 

The last out was recorded by Conforto making a sliding catch in left. The last time a left fielder with the number 30 caught the clinching out was Cliff Floyd in 2006.  Hopefully, these Mets can have a long playoff run like that team. Honestly though, we’re hoping for more than that. 

With that, the 2016 Mets completed their 1973 Mets regular season run. Now comes the hard part. That begins Wednesday with Syndergaard taking the mound against either the Giants or Cardinals in the winner take all Wild Card Game. 

The Bruce Is Loose

Coming into tonight’s game, the Phillies made overtures they wanted to knock the Mets out if the postseason. 

Early on, Cameron Rupp would put the money where his mouth is by hitting a second inning sacrifice fly off Robert Gsellman. With Alec Asher starting with three perfect innings, it appeared that the Mets would have a dog fight on their hands. The Mets were up to the task. 

In the fourth, Yoenis Cespedes and Curtis Granderson would hit back-to-back two out singles to set the stage for Jay Bruce. Two weeks ago, it would be inning and rally over. Now?  He’s scorching hot, and he confined the hot streak with an RBI single in this spot. T.J. Rivera followed with an RBI single of his own to make it 2-1. 

That’s as close as the Phillies would get despite Jimmy Paredes giving one a ride in the sixth that looked as if it would put the Phillies ahead until Granderson ran his long fly down:

That would close the book on Gsellman who had a terrific slider going all night long. After that second inning rally, the Phillies wouldn’t get much going against him. Gsell man’s final line was six innings, seven hits, one run, one earned, one walk, and seven strikeouts. He’d hand the ball off to the unstoppable 7-8-9 combination of Fernando SalasAddison ReedJeurys Familia

Unlike most games where they find themselves walking a tightrope, the Mets would get them some insurance runs. 

First, Bruce would chase Asher with a home run in the seventh making it 3-1.  Then, in the eighth, the Mets would have one of the more bizarre rallies, you will ever see. 

It started innocently enough with an Alejandro De Aza pinch hit single. He’d move to second on a Jose Reyes single, and then he’d find himself on third when Aaron Altherr overran the ball. Then, well, it was one of the more bizarre sequences, you’ll ever see.

While Reyes was running back to first with his hands on his head, Ryan Howard just couldn’t get to it. He couldn’t get to a ball that landed on the first base bag!  With that the ball bounced off the bag, with Cespedes reaching safely, Reyes being forced out at second, and De Aza scoring from third. 

Granderson would then walk moving Cespedes into scoring position. Bruce then followed this tomfoolery with an RBI single just against the shift to make it 5-1 Mets. Bruce continued the hot hitting going 3-4 with a run, three RBI, and a homer. After his RBI single, he was lifted for Juan Lagares for defense as Collins was taking no chances.  

With the Mets looking to potentially lock down a Wild Card spot tonight, Collins stuck with the Reed-Familia plan to close it out. With the appearance, Familia would set a career high in appearances and games finished. 

Depending on the outcome of the Cardinals game, the Mets mission for the 2016 season is almost finished.  

Game Notes: Lucas Duda returned to the lineup going 0-4. James Loney replaced him for defense in the ninth. This was Ron Darling‘s last game of the year on SNY. Something tells me it won’t be his last Mets game of the year. 

Seth Lugo and the Mets Take Care of Business

That’s exactly what we’ve come to expect from a Seth Lugo start. He’s not going to give up more than two earned runs. He’s going to bear down and be at his best when there are runners on base. Most importantly, he’s going to give the Mets a chance to win. 

In the first, Lugo navigated his way out of a jam after a Martin Prado two run homer. Lugo would intentionally walk Justin Bour after a Giancarlo Stanton two out double to get to Jeff Mathis. Lugo struck out Mathis to get out of the inning. 

In the third, the Marlins would have runners at first and second with one out and Stanton walking to the plate. Lugo got Stanton to foul out, and then he got Bour to groundout to end the inning. 

In the sixth, Collins wouldn’t let Lugo get out if the “jam.”  After a Bour one out single, Collins lifted Lugo at 82 pitches so face the same Mathis who Lugo struck out to get out of the first. Hansel Robles would justify Collins decision by striking out Mathis and then inducing an Adeiny Hechavarria grounder to end the inning. 

That set up the Fernando SalasAddison ReedJeurys Familia 7-8-9 tandem to close out the 5-2 win. 

Once again, the Mets scored their runs off the long ball. 

In the second, James Loney, who was starting in place of Lucas Duda and his sore back, hit a two run homer off Jose Urena to tie the score. 

In the fourth, Lugo started a rally with a two out double. He then came around to score on a Jose Reyes double. 

In the fifth, Jay Bruce continued his hit hitting with a two run homer scoring Curtis Granderson. Over Bruce’s last five games, Bruce has gone 7-16 with three homers and five RBI. That accounts for roughly 40% of Bruce’s homers and RBI as a Met. 

With that, the Mets magic number to win the Wild Card now stands at three with three games left in the season. The Mets control their own destiny, and as long as they put together three more games like this, they will certainly return to the postseason. 

Game Notes: Granderson was 4-4 with a walk. He has now reached on eight straight plate appearances. Asdrubal Cabrera somehow went 0-5. Juan Lagares came on for Bruce for defense, and he was 0-1 at the plate. Familia recorded his 50th save of the season surpassing Francisco Cordero and Jose Valverde for the most saves by a Dominican born pitcher in a season. 

Mets Beat Up On the Marlins

After last night, the Mets needed to get things back on track lest they once again miss the playoffs due to them losing games to the Marlins. Things didn’t get off to a good start with Dee Gordon hitting a leadoff single, stealing second, and coming home on a Marcell Ozuna single.

Gordon’s stolen base would be the 48th stolen base against Noah Syndergaard. This was about as poor a start as you could expect. After that Syndergaard would get locked in. 

Syndergaard would go six innings allowing five hits, one earned, and no walks with eight strikeouts. It’s exactly the type of start both he and the Mets needed. 

The Mets quickly claimed the lead off Tom Koehler, who the Mets hit very well. In the second, Jay Bruce continued his hot hitting with a two run homer. He would go 2-5 with a run, two RBI, and a homer. 

In the third, Yoenis Cespedes hit a monster two run homer over the “Home Run Sculpture.”

This marked the first time both Bruce and Cespedes homered in the same game for the Mets. 

The Mets would have a 4-1 lead, and Don Mattingly would do all he could do to keep the Marlins in the game making seven pitching changes. It worked until the eighth inning. 

The Mets put a huge five spot on the board blowing the game wide open. After the Marlins intentionally walked Cespedes to load the bases, Curtis Granderson hit a two RBI single making it 6-1. 

Bruce then singled to reload the bases, and then with two outs, Lucas Duda got his biggest hit since being activated from the disabled list with a bases clearing double. Duda has been sharper than expected in his return, but this was his best game. On the night, he was 2-3 with three RBI, two walks (one intentional), and the double. 

As if things weren’t good enough with a 9– 1 lead, the Mets scored three in the top of the ninth to make it 12-1. The bases were again loaded. Michael Conforto hit an RBI force out, and Granderson hit a RBI double to deep center. It was a huge night for Granderson with him going 2-4 with two runs, three RBI, two walks, and a double. 

The final run was scored on a Juan Lagares sacrifice fly. It was the first time Lagares swung the bat at a pitch since returning from surgery to repair a torn tendon in his left thumb. 

Tonight, everything was clicking, and the Mets took care of business. Their magic number is now four. 

Game Notes: Syndergaard was 2-3 at the plate. Jose Reyes was 3-6 with two runs and a double. Addison Reed and Jeurys Familia each pitched an inning after not having pitched in four days. 

This Is How Braves Fans Must’ve Felt

Tonight, I got some sense of what it was like to be a Braves fan when Mike Piazza homered off Steve Karsay:

An emotional Dee Gordon, wearing a Jose Fernandez jersey just like the rest of his teammates, hit a leadoff home run off Bartolo Colon. As a fan of the game, you tip your cap, and you appreciate the moment. 

Starting with that home run, you got a sense the emotional Marlins team needed this game a little more, and they were meant to win it. 

Still, it was hard to watch as a Mets fan as the Mets have not yet clinched a Wild Card spot. It was hard to watch Colon throwing batting practice fastballs while seemingly getting squeezed by John Hirschbeck. I was hard to watch Ray Ramirez have to come visit him on the mound. That one was especially hard to watch. Thankfully, Colon brushed him off. 

All of Colon’s 2.1 innings were tough to watch. You had to question what Terry Collins was thinking leaving him out there to get knocked around to the tune of eight hits and seven runs. As Colon was fooling no one, he recorded no strikeouts. On the bright side, Gabriel Ynoa stabilized things for 1.2 innings before passing it off to Rafael Montero, who actually threw a scoreless inning. 

The Mets offense was a no show as well. They were shut down by Adam Conley, who pitched an emotional three innings before handing it off to the Marlins bullpen. Collectively, they down the Mets in the same way Fernandez, who was scheduled to pitch tonight, would have. 

The Mets had their chances. In the fifth, the Mets scored two runs on an Asdrubal Cabrera two RBI double. Who else would come through?  

In the sixth, the Mets loaded the bases with one out, but they would get nothing out of it. A Lucas Duda strikeout and Kelly Johnson ground out later, the Mets would come away happy. 

In the eighth, Duda did come through with a two out RBI single.  Alejandro De Aza would then strike out looking to end the rally. 

Ultimately, the Mets would lose 7-3 It was a hard night for all, including Yoenis Cespedes and the Mets:

Even with the Mets fighting for the Wild Card, on this night, the Marlins just had a little more to play for:

Game Notes: Jay Bruce started over Michael Conforto. He was 1-4, and he misplayed a Justin Bour line drive into an RBI triple. 

That’s How You Finish Out the Regular Season at Home

Growing up, my family did not always go to Opening Day.  It was sometimes difficult for my Dad to get off of work, and even if he could, we had my mother insisting that my brother and I could not miss a day of school just to go to a Mets game.  What eventually happened is that my father, brother, and I usually found ourselves going to the last game of the season, which usually falls on a Sunday.

When you go to Opening Day, there is always hope.  Even when your team stinks, you can find some reason for hope. I remember thinking back in 1993 that the 1992 Mets season was just a fluke.  Bobby Bonilla was certainly going to be better.  Howard Johnson was back in the infield where he belonged.  This could be the year Todd Hundley and Jeff Kent break out.  The team still had Dwight Gooden, Sid Fernandez, and Bret Saberhagen with John Franco in the bullpen.  It turns out the 1993 team was even worse than the 1992 team.

The last game of the season always has an interesting feel to it.  When we went to the final game of the season, it was more of a farewell to an awful season.  Being ever the optimist, we still had hope for a bright future with Pete Schourek throwing eight brillant innings to cap off a Mets six game winning streak.  It seemed like 1994 was going to be a big year in baseball.  It was, but that’s a whole other story.

There was the devastating 2007 finale.  Heading into that game, most Mets fans believed that despite the epic collapse, the Mets were going to take care of the Marlins.  They just snapped a five game losing streak behind a brilliant John Maine performance and the offense coming alive to score 13 runs.  Even better, the Phillies seemed to be feeling the pressure a bit with them getting shut down by Matt Chico and a terrible Marlins team.  The sense was if the Mets won this game, the Phillies would feel the pressure and lose their game.  Even if the Phillies won their game, the Mets would beat the Phillies and return to the postseason like everyone expected.

After Tom Glavine laid an egg, which included out and out throwing a ball into left field trying to get Cody Ross, who was going to third on the original throw to home.  At 5-0, the Mets were still in the game.  David Wright was having a torrid September.  Carlos Delgado and Carlos Beltran were big game players.  I don’t think Moises Alou made an out that entire month.  With that in mind, I turned to my father, and I said to him, “If the Mets allow one more run, the game is over . . . .”  As the words left my mouth, Jorge Soler allowed a two run double to Dan Uggla.  Sure, they would play eight and a half more innings, but the collapse was over right then and there.

That 2007 finale hung over the 2008 finale.  Mets fans were probably a bit more optimistic than they had a right to be.  The day before Johan Santana took the ball with three days rest, and he pitched a complete game three hitter.  The Mets had Oliver Perez going in the finale.  Back then, this was considered a good thing.  The offense was clicking again.  However, that bullpen was just so awful.  The Mets were relying on Luis Ayala to close out games, and believe it or not, his 5.05 ERA and 1.389 WHIP was considered a steadying presence to an injury ravaged bullpen.  Beltran would hit a huge home run to tie the game, but the joy wouldn’t last.  Jerry Manuel, just an awful manager, turned to Scott Schoeneweis to gave up the winning home run to Wes Helms (Mets killer no matter what uniform he wore), and then aforementioned Ayala gave up another one that inning to Uggla to seal the deal at 4-2.

Fittingly, the last out was made by Ryan Church.  He was the same Mets player the Mets flew back and forth to the West Coast despite him having a concussion.  Remember the days when the Mets didn’t handle injuries well?  Nevermind.  In any event, I was one of the few that stayed to watch Tom Seaver and Mike Piazza close out Shea Stadium.  Many disagree, but I thought it helped.

Last year, was just a celebration.  The Mets had already clinched the NL East, and they were off to their first postseason since 2006.  The only thing left was the Mets winning one more game to get to 90 wins.  The 90 wins was window dressing, but the shift from 89 to 90 is just so satisfying.  It means more than 86 to 87 wins or 88 to 89 wins.  That 90 win mark is an important threshold for the psyche of teams and fans.

This year was something different altogether.  In terms of pure baseball, the Mets entered the day tied with the Giants for the first Wild Card with the Cardinals just a half a game behind (tied in the loss column).  The night before the Mets had seen Sean Gilmartin and Rafael Montero combine to put the team in a 10-0 hole that the Las Vegas 51s just couldn’t quite pull them out from under.  Still, that rally had created some buzz as did Robert Gsellman starting the game.  However, there was the shock of the Jose Fernandez news that muted some of the pregame buzz.

After the moment of silence, there was a game to be played, and it was just pure Mets dominance.

Gsellman would pitch seven shutout innings allowing just three hits and two walks with eight strikeouts.  More amazing than that was the fact that he actually got a bunt single.  For a player that can only bunt due to an injury to his non-pitching shoulder, the Phillies sure acted surprised by the play.  Overall, it was a great day by Gsellman who was helped out by the Mets offense and a little defense along the way:

 

It was that type of day for the Mets.  After Saturday’s pinch hit home run there was a Jay Bruce sighting again on Sunday.  On the day, he was 2-4 with two runs and a double.  It was easily the best game he had as a Met.  His second inning double would start the rally that ended with James Loney hitting an RBI groundout.  Then, as  Cousin Brucey would say, “the hits just keep on comin’!”  No, that was not just an allusion to the Phillies pitchers who hit three batters in the game.  It refers to the Mets offense.

Curtis Granderson hit a fourth inning solo shot to make it 2-0.  It was his 30th of the year making it the first time  the Mets have had a pair of 30 home run outfielders since, really who even knows?  In the fifth, T.J. Rivera plated a run with an RBI single.  Later in the fifth, Jose Reyes would the first of his two RBI bases loaded walks.  Overall, the big blow would come in the seventh off the bat of Asdrubal Cabrera:

The grand slam put the capper on not just the game, but a pretty remarkable season at home where the Mets were 44-37 on the season.  The Mets also hit 193 homers at home, which was the most ever hit at Citi Field, and more than any the Mets ever hit at Shea Stadium in any one season:

In the eighth, the Mets just poured it on with some of the 51s getting into the game.  Gavin Cecchini was hit by a pitch, Brandon Nimmo and Ty Kelly walked, and Eric Campbell got another RBI pinch hit.  Throw in a Michael Conforto two RBI double, and the Mets would win 17-0.  Exiting Citi Field, you got the sense this was not the last time you would see this team at home.  As it stands now, the Mets back to being a game up on the Giants, and the Cardinals fell to 1.5 games back.

There haven’t been many final games to the season like this one, and I’m not sure there ever will be.  Overall, it was a great way to close out the regular season at Citi Field.  However, for right now, it is not good-bye like it was in 1993, and it certainly isn’t good riddance like it was in 2007.  Rather, this game had more of a feeling of, “See you again soon.”

  
  

 

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 ReyesAsdrubal CabreraYoenis Cespedes, and Curtis Granderson. He replaced them with T.J. RiveraGavin CecchiniTy Kelly, and Brandon Nimmo

Astutely, Collins also left in Travis d’ArnaudLucas 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. 

Seemingly Everyone Played and Contributed to this Win

It wasn’t too long ago that Terry Collins said he had no confidence in any of his right field options other than Jay Bruce. As Bruce struggled, the statement looked more and more ridiculous. Tonight, it looked downright absurd as most of Collins’ decisions of late are looking. 

Gabriel Ynoa had allowed two runs over two innings when his turn to bat came up in the bottom of the second. Simply put, Collins panicked at the early deficit, and he pinch hit Ty Kelly

Collins made this decision despite the bullpen throwing six innings yesterday. He did it with Addison Reed and Jeurys Familia unavailable. He did it with Sean Gilmartin having to pitch tomorrow with Noah Syndergaard unable to go tomorrow because he has strep throat. Collins surveyed the landscape and determined the only way the Mets win the game is it Kelly pinch hits there to knock in Travis d’Arnaud, who just hit an RBI double, to tie it up. That was worth going to his bullpen for seven innings. 

Collins, who was managing to win it, then went to Logan Verrett. Verrett went two innings, and the Mets were lucky he allowed just one run. 

That set the stage for a big fifth inning. 

The Mets quickly loaded the bases against Jeremy Hellickson, who was seemingly down 3-1 in the count to every Mets batter that inning. 

The first run would come off a Curtis Granderson RBI single. Kelly Johnson followed with an RBI single of his own. When Phillies right fielder Roman Quinn misplayed the Johnson single, Yoenis Cespedes came to score from second as well. Then with a base open, the Phillies opted to pitch to Michael Conforto:

The three run homer capped a six run inning and gave the Mets a 7-3 lead. Unfortunately, this wouldn’t be a laugher or an easy game. 

Heading into the fifth, Collins removed d’Arnaud and replaced him with Rene Rivera as part of a double switch to try to get two innings from Josh Smoker. As usual, Smoker pitched well in his first inning. However, in his second inning of work, Darin Ruf would hit a two run home run off of him. This was the third time this year Collins tried to go a second inning with Smoker. All three times Smoker allowed a home run in his second inning of work. 

Just like that it was 7-5. In the top of the seventh, the lead appeared in jeopardy. The Pbillies rallied off Josh Edgin putting runners at the corners with one out. When the right-hand hitting Tommy Joseph was announced as the pinch hitter for Peter Bourjos, Collins countered with Hansel Robles

Joseph would pull a grounder right down the third base line. With Jose Reyes guarding the line, it turned into a 5-5-3 inning ending double play. 

The Mets then blew it open in the bottom of thr seventh.

Cespedes got things started with a lead off double, and Granderson followed with a walk. Collins then pinch hit Juan Lagares for Johnson to bunt. Lagares got down the bunt, and Cameron Rupp pounced on it. Rupp went to third to try to get the force, but he made a slightly offline throw that Maikel Franco could’ve made a play on, but didn’t. 

On the error, Cespedes scored, and the other two runners moved up a base. With the Phillies having the lefty, Patrick Schuster, on the mound, Collins pinch hit Eric Campbell for Conforto because Collins obviously had no confidence in Conforto’s ability to hit a lefty. Campbell would make Collins look good hitting a pinch hit RBI single.  T.J. Rivera then pinch hit for Lucas Duda, and he hit a sac fly scoring Lagares to make it 10-5 Mets. 

The bigger lead allowed the Mets to do a couple of things. First, it allowed Collins to bring in Matt Reynolds for Asdrubal Cabrera, who had earlier fouled a ball hard off his good knee. It also allowed the Mets to keep Robles in the game. 

Robles pitched 2.2 innings earning his first ever major league save. He did get some help with a vintage Lagares catch. It was fitting when you consider everyone contributed to this win. 

Game Notes: With Collins going deep into his bullpen, both Smoker and Robles got at bats. 

Ender Inciarte Robbed a Yoenis Cespedes Homer and Mets Victory

There’s anothe name to add to the Braves collection of Mets killers. It started with Terry Pendleton who got his start as a Mets killer with the Cardinals. He passed the torch to Chipper Jones who passed it to Freddie Freeman. Apparently, Freeman has been tutoring Ender Inciarte

Not only would Inciarte get the game winning RBI, he would rob a game winning home run. He stole a homer, a Mets victory, and spoiled a terrific Bartolo Colon start. 

Colon had completely shut the Braves down through the first six innings. He was his usually nimble self popping off the mound on balls up the middle to make a neat defensive play. In the sixth, he caught Mallex Smith straying a little too far off second when he nabbed the Ender Inciarte comebacker. It started the routine 1-6-5 fielder’s choice. 

In the seventh, Colon reached the end of the line. Anthony Recker hit a two run homer off of Colon. I’ll spare you the “He Reckered It!” line. With two outs in the inning, Colon would be chased by a Dansby Swanson single. As Colon departed, he gestured to Swanson as if to compliment him for the base knock. 

However, it was Colon that deserved the praise. After Addison Reed got the Mets out if the inning, Colon’s final line was 6.2 innings, six hits, two runs, two earned, no walks, and six strikeouts. He would depart on the long side because of a pair of homers. 

In the first, Asdrubal Cabrera hit a two run homer off of John Gant, scoring Jose Reyes naturally, to give the Mets the 2-0 lead. That lead would grow to 3-0 on a Rene Rivera fifth inning home run. Unfortunately, those three runs weren’t enough. 

Reed would come back on to pitch the eighth.  The Mets defense would let him down. 

Inciarte would reach as James Loney completely bungled a sure out by being a bad first baseman. It was his second bone-headed play of the night. In the sixth, Loney had failed to stretch on a Colon pickoff attempt. Colon bailed him out by starting the aforementioned fielder’s choice. There was no bailing out Loney this time. 

In a controversial move, Collins removed Reed from the game to get Josh Smoker in against Freddie Freeman. It was absolutely the right move as Freeman was hitting .400/.500/.600 off Reed entering the night with two homers. Furthermore, Smoker did his job breaking Freeman’s bat thereby generating a weak blooper. Unfortunately, the ball had eyes and fell behind Cabrera. 

With runners on first and second with one out, Collins went to Jeurys Familia for the five out save. It didn’t happen.

The Braves immediately took advantage of Familia’s inability to hold on base runners by executing the double steal. Rather than throw to second and nail the slow Freeman, Rivera made the mistake of trying to get the speedy Inciarte at third. Rivera’s mental error proved costly. 

Matt Kemp had a terrific nine pitch at bat against Familia. He eventually lifted a fly ball to left, and Inciarte ignored the third base coach by breaking for home. It was the right move. Yoenis Cespedes didn’t get his momentum behind the throw, and his throw was up the line. Just like that tie game. 
The bottom of the eight could be best described as much ado about nothing. The Braves used three pitchers, and the Mets used three pinch hitters. The Mets would load the bases in the strangest way possible. 

Cespedes lead off with a double. It was a double instead of a triple. because he was posing as the ball hit off of Kemp’s close. Curtis Granderson was then intentionally walked. During T.J. Rivera‘s at bat, the Mets would return the favor with a double steal of their own. Rivera would strikeout setting up for some histrionics. 

The Mets announced Kelly Johnson as the pinch hitter for Matt Reynolds. The Braves then brought in the left-handed Ian Krol. The Mets responded by bringing in Eric Campbell, who Krol intentionally walked to load the bases. Kevin Plawecki pinch hit for Loney and struck out to end the inning. 

The Mets would immediately regret blowing the opportunity. The Braves would get two soft singles off Familia. Inciarte would then hit a soft grounder past Familia to score the go-ahead run. 

The Mets went back to their bench with three straight pinch hitters in the bottom of the ninth against Braves closer Jim JohnsonBrandon Nimmo hit a lead off single. The next pinch hitter was Jay Bruce who struck out of course. The last of the trio was Travis d’Arnaud who worked out a walk. This set the stage for Cabrera. 

Over this month, Cabrera was been willing the Mets to the Wild Card by being the best hitter in baseball over the stretch. All he could do against Johnson was to fly out. This set the stage for the Mets MVP Cespedes who looked foolish striking out against Johnson to end the game yesterday. 

Cespedes launched one to deep center which looked like the game winner. Inciarte came from absolutely nowhere to jump, leap over the fence, and literally snatch away the Mets victory. 

With that, just like old times, the Mets suffered a frustrating September sweep at the hands of the Braves. 

Game Notes: Alejandro De Aza got the start over Bruce. De Aza started in center shifting Granderson to right. 

Ender Inciarte Robbed a Yoenis Cespedes Homer and Mets Victory

There’s anothe name to add to the Braves collection of Mets killers. It started with Terry Pendleton who got his start as a Mets killer with the Cardinals. He passed the torch to Chipper Jones who passed it to Freddie Freeman. Apparently, Freeman has been tutoring Ender Inciarte

Not only would Inciarte get the game winning RBI, he would rob a game winning home run. He stole a homer, a Mets victory, and spoiled a terrific Bartolo Colon start. 

Colon had completely shut the Braves down through the first six innings. He was his usually nimble self popping off the mound on balls up the middle to make a neat defensive play. In the sixth, he caught Mallex Smith straying a little too far off second when he nabbed the Ender Inciarte comebacker. It started the routine 1-6-5 fielder’s choice. 

In the seventh, Colon reached the end of the line. Anthony Recker hit a two run homer off of Colon. I’ll spare you the “He Reckered It!” line. With two outs in the inning, Colon would be chased by a Dansby Swanson single. As Colon departed, he gestured to Swanson as if to compliment him for the base knock. 

However, it was Colon that deserved the praise. After Addison Reed got the Mets out if the inning, Colon’s final line was 6.2 innings, six hits, two runs, two earned, no walks, and six strikeouts. He would depart on the long side because of a pair of homers. 

In the first, Asdrubal Cabrera hit a two run homer off of John Gant, scoring Jose Reyes naturally, to give the Mets the 2-0 lead. That lead would grow to 3-0 on a Rene Rivera fifth inning home run. Unfortunately, those three runs weren’t enough. 

Reed would come back on to pitch the eighth.  The Mets defense would let him down. 

Inciarte would reach as James Loney completely bungled a sure out by being a bad first baseman. It was his second bone-headed play of the night. In the sixth, Loney had failed to stretch on a Colon pickoff attempt. Colon bailed him out by starting the aforementioned fielder’s choice. There was no bailing out Loney this time. 

In a controversial move, Collins removed Reed from the game to get Josh Smoker in against Freddie Freeman. It was absolutely the right move as Freeman was hitting .400/.500/.600 off Reed entering the night with two homers. Furthermore, Smoker did his job breaking Freeman’s bat thereby generating a weak blooper. Unfortunately, the ball had eyes and fell behind Cabrera. 

With runners on first and second with one out, Collins went to Jeurys Familia for the five out save. It didn’t happen.

The Braves immediately took advantage of Familia’s inability to hold on base runners by executing the double steal. Rather than throw to second and nail the slow Freeman, Rivera made the mistake of trying to get the speedy Inciarte at third. Rivera’s mental error proved costly. 

Matt Kemp had a terrific nine pitch at bat against Familia. He eventually lifted a fly ball to left, and Inciarte ignored the third base coach by breaking for home. It was the right move. Yoenis Cespedes didn’t get his momentum behind the throw, and his throw was up the line. Just like that tie game. 
The bottom of the eight could be best described as much ado about nothing. The Braves used three pitchers, and the Mets used three pinch hitters. The Mets would load the bases in the strangest way possible. 

Cespedes lead off with a double. It was a double instead of a triple. because he was posing as the ball hit off of Kemp’s close. Curtis Granderson was then intentionally walked. During T.J. Rivera‘s at bat, the Mets would return the favor with a double steal of their own. Rivera would strikeout setting up for some histrionics. 

The Mets announced Kelly Johnson as the pinch hitter for Matt Reynolds. The Braves then brought in the left-handed Ian Krol. The Mets responded by bringing in Eric Campbell, who Krol intentionally walked to load the bases. Kevin Plawecki pinch hit for Loney and struck out to end the inning. 

The Mets would immediately regret blowing the opportunity. The Braves would get two soft singles off Familia. Inciarte would then hit a soft grounder past Familia to score the go-ahead run. 

The Mets went back to their bench with three straight pinch hitters in the bottom of the ninth against Braves closer Jim JohnsonBrandon Nimmo hit a lead off single. The next pinch hitter was Jay Bruce who struck out of course. The last of the trio was Travis d’Arnaud who worked out a walk. This set the stage for Cabrera. 

Over this month, Cabrera was been willing the Mets to the Wild Card by being the best hitter in baseball over the stretch. All he could do against Johnson was to fly out. This set the stage for the Mets MVP Cespedes who looked foolish striking out against Johnson to end the game yesterday. 

Cespedes launched one to deep center which looked like the game winner. Inciarte came from absolutely nowhere to jump, leap over the fence, and literally snatch away the Mets victory. 

  
With that, just like old times, the Mets suffered a frustrating September sweep at the hands of the Braves. 

Game Notes: Alejandro De Aza got the start over Bruce. De Aza started in center shifting Granderson to right.