A little sloppy in the end, but Justin Verlander, Mets even their series against the Giants
The Mets hit three solo home runs in the third, including back-to-back jacks from Brandon Nimmo and Francisco Lindor. And, Justin Verlander gave the club a stabilizing performance
What’s Up with the Mets? ⚾️
The Mets defeated the Giants 4-1 on Saturday at Citi Field to end their three-game losing streak (Box)
The Mets were powered on the strength of three solo home runs in the third inning - one from Francisco Álvarez and then back-to-back homers from Brandon Nimmo and Francisco Lindor
Justin Verlander gave the Mets seven strong innings, allowing only an unearned run on five hits with a walk and six strikeouts
The Mets had only one other hit on the day - a double from Tommy Pham in the fourth inning
Justin Verlander… 📈
Is the active leader with 247 career wins
Has a 0.84 ERA in his last five home starts
Is the 11th pitcher in franchise history to allow 1 or 0 runs in five straight home games
Has a 1.80 ERA over his last four starts, allowing 21 hits and just three walks in 25 innings during that span
Today’s Game 🗓
Match-up: Mets (37-46) vs. Giants (46-37)
Where: Citi Field – Flushing, NY
Starters: LHP David Peterson (2-6, 7.00 ERA) vs RHP Ross Stripling (0-2, 6.88 ERA)
When: 7:10 PM EDT
Where to Watch: ESPN
It wasn’t pretty in the end, but the Mets held their fort… ✍️
Hey, the Mets won a game yesterday. If they win today, that’s two in a row. If they win tomorrow, it’s called a winning streak. It has happened before!
Thank you Lou Brown from Major League II for one of my all-time favorite clubhouse speeches.
But seriously, the Mets had a feel-good win on Saturday. A lot went right that needed to go right - they got one of the best performances from a starting pitcher they’ve had to-date, they hit for power, and they played generally well, at least for the first 2/3 of the game.
The Mets got that stopper-like performance on the mound from Justin Verlander, who is now starting to resemble the pitcher the Mets signed in the off-season. He had a very slider-heavy approach to the Giants yesterday and it worked, specifically against Joc Pederson and the left-handed crew in the Giants lineup. He was able to bury that pitch inside on the hands all day and enabled non-competitive swings against that pitch from start to finish. In fact, 50% of the swings he induced on his slider were missed, an impressive rate and a testament to the awesome location he had and his ability to jam those left-handed hitters.
As for the non-technical breakdown on Verlander, he checked so many boxes for the Mets yesterday. He recorded 21 outs for them, which means the bullpen needed to only record six outs to secure the win. Going into the game, the Mets were 22-4 when the starting pitcher goes at least six innings, a phenomenal winning percentage and a stat for the Mets to lean on.
The problem had been, of course, the other 56 games.
But between Verlander and Max Scherzer, they’ve appeared to have righted their ships and are at least giving the Mets a chance to win in their two rotation spots on a consistent basis. Of course, they’re not going to go at least six innings in every start but it needs to happen more often than it doesn’t if the Mets are to have any prayer to get back into a playoff conversation.
Also - when those guys are pitching like this, its a treat to watch.
As for the rest of it, the Mets powered their way to the win on Saturday thanks largely to three homers in the third inning. Francisco Álvarez got the scoring started with an opposite field dinger and then the Mets enjoyed back-to-back homers from Brandon Nimmo and Francisco Lindor. They would go onto add another run in the fourth on another big hit from Tommy Pham, this one an RBI double to plate Pete Alonso.
As for Pham, who would’ve thought he’d be the Mets most consistent hitter in 2023? That is setting a low bar of course considering nobody in that lineup outside of Nimmo has been any sort of consistent presence all year. But imagine if the Mets were just 25% better offensively and then there was Pham augmenting the lineup in this manner. He has been great and at a minimum, the Mets should find him a contender to help should they be unable to get back into the hunt.
Now, for the red flags…
The Mets gave up their run on yet another sloppy play on the infield in the seventh, and another one from Alonso at that. On a routine ground ball to first with one on and nobody out in the seventh, Alonso made the easy grab, pivoted for second and threw the ball into left field. That setup an unearned run for the Giants and obviously, extra pitches thrown by Verlander.
Then in the ninth, the Mets got away with a sloppy play to end the game on a routine 6-4-3 double play ball. Lindor flipped the ball to Luis Guillorme at second base, who never actually touched second before turning to throw to first. Don’t get me wrong - it was a pretty play, Guillorme’s quick transfer was on full display, and somehow, the umpires on the field and in the replay center all got it wrong. The Mets ended up getting the call, the Mets ended up winning and everyone went home happy.
But, 9 times out 10 that call should be overturned, and the inning should’ve continued.
Now, in the end, the Mets won. So what am I complaining about, you might ask?
You know Buck Showalter wasn’t happy with that execution from the Mets even though the call went their way. It was more of the same kinds of mistakes this club has been making all year long and if they’re going to have any kind of chance, the quality of play simply has to be better, especially in innings 7-9 where it seems these mistakes are happening most often.
In the end, a win is a win, especially around here where it doesn’t happen too often these days. They have a chance to win a series today, which would be a huge lift for this team since its been over a month now since that has happened (they swept the Phillies May 30-June 1).
It’s a big game for the Mets today.
Around the League 🚩
The Yankees and Cardinals endured another long rain delay as they split their doubleheader in St. Louis - The Cardinals won 11-4 in game 1 and the Yankees won 6-2 in game 2
Alec Bohm and Kyle Schwarber led the Phillies in a 19 run scoring barrage against the Nationals - they prevailed 19-4 at Citizens Bank Park on Saturday
The Braves blanked the Marlins 7-0 as they continue to run away with the National League East
The Royals put up a five-spot on the Dodgers in the first inning against Julio Urias, and held on to win 6-4 in Kansas City
The Rangers increased their lead on the Astros in the AL West with a 5-2 win over their Texas rivals - Nathan Eovaldi allowed just two hits over seven innings for the win