A magical day in Mets history ended with a necessary win in the scorecard
Old Timers Day included a grand surprise, plus the Mets won and gained ground in the NL East
What’s Up with the Mets? ⚾
The Mets shutout the Rockies 3-0 at Citi Field on Saturday night (Box)
Brandon Nimmo provided two of the three runs - he led off the bottom of the first with a solo home run, doubled in the second inning to plate Mark Canha, and then scored the third run on an RBI double by Starling Marte in the seventh inning
David Peterson came to the rescue again for the Mets, giving them six scoreless innings for his seventh win of the year, lowering his ERA to 3.21 for the season
The Mets got three scoreless innings of relief from Seth Lugo, Trevor May and Adam Ottavino to close it out
The Mets are a season-high 36 games over .500 - the last time they were 36 games over .400 was when they were 100-60 at the conclusion of the 1988 season
The Mets are 43-19 at home (having won 15 of their last 17 home games), 49-31 at night, 18-9 in August, 29-8-3 in series, 14-3-2 in home series, 71-0 when leading after 8 innings, 17-12 against the National League West, 13-40 when scoring 3 runs or less, earned their 17th shutout win and are 24-11 since the All-Star Game
Roster Moves 📰
LHP David Peterson has been recalled from Triple-A Syracuse
INF Eduardo Escobar has been reinstated from the 10-Day IL
RHP Connor Grey has been optioned to Triple-A Syracuse
INF Yolmer Sánchez has been designated for assignment
Injury Updates 🏥
Francisco Álvarez (ankle injury) hasn’t played for Triple-A Syracuse since Tuesday, and is currently being evaluated in New York. There is no timetable for him to return and he could miss the rest of the season (MLB.com)
Who’s Hot 🔥
Pete Alonso has a four-game hitting streak, during which he has hit .412/.412/.588 with a home run and three RBI
Brandon Nimmo has reached base in nine consecutive games, hitting .281/.452/.563 with three doubles, two home runs, four RBI and six runs scored during that span
Adam Ottavino has allowed just four runs in his last 31 relief appearances. He earned his second save of the year on Saturday, both of which have come in this series against the Rockies
Playoff Odds Tracker 🎲
The Mets are 82-46 and lead the Braves by three games in the National League East with 34 games to go. They are on-pace for 103 wins, which would be the second-highest mark in franchise history (108 in 1986)
The Mets have the easiest schedule down the stretch of the season (.445 opposing winning percentage, per Tankathon)
Playoff odds (FanGraphs):
Make the playoffs: 100 percent ↔️
Win the National League East: 83 percent ⬆️
Clinch a first round bye: 82.9 percent ⬆️
Win the World Series: 17.5 percent ⬆️
Today’s Game 🗓
Match-up: Rockies (54-74) vs. Mets (82-46)
Where: Citi Field - Flushing, New York
Starters: RHP Max Scherzer (9-3, 2.33 ERA) vs. RHP German Marquez (6-10, 5.22 ERA)
When: 1:40 PM EDT
Where to Watch: WPIX
Old Timers Day 🎉
The Mets held their first Old Timers’ Day celebration since 1994. There were over 60 former Mets players and managers in attendance from Joe Torre to Terry Collins and from Jay Hook to José Reyes.
The Mets held a quick two-plus inning game between their old timers, highlighted by appearances from Dwight Gooden, Al Leiter, Jesse Orosco, Pedro Martínez, Bartolo Colón, Turk Wendell, Terry Leach and Steve Traschel on the mound, with Mike Piazza, Todd Pratt, and Todd Zeile doing the honors behind the plate.
79-year-old LHP Steve Dillon, who pitched for the Mets from 1963-64, also made a brief appearance on the mound. Dillon only made three appearances for the Mets between those two seasons representing his only opportunities in the big leagues. But he will forever be remembered for pitching in the first ever night game at Shea Stadium on May 6, 1964.
As Wendell was entering the game, he followed his own tradition by slamming the rosin bag on the back of the mound, and did the same when he exited the game in the dugout.
As for Bart, He had to be zipping it in at 80+ mph, at one point catching Edgardo Alfonzo off-guard. He stepped out of the box, offered Cólon a smile who smiled back, and they went about the game as old timers usually do, filled with follies, bloopers, laughs, and lifelong memories for both the players and fans who were watching.
I did find it amusing that Howard Johnson - while playing first base with a body camera - was unable to secure the completion of a double play turned by Reyes and Murphy, two players he coached (along with Tim Teufel, who looked good at the plate by the way) and trained over the years as both hitters and infielders to do just that.
The highlight of the game itself, as expected, were the introductions. Dwight Gooden got one of the louder ovations as did José Reyes. But the loudest one of all went to Bartolo Colón, and boy did he put on a show. That part alone was a trip down memory lane, evoking memories of my childhood, early adulthood and even some of those during the days I was closest with the team as the Mets were building towards their pennant run between 2009-2015.
But I guess that’s what the event was supposed to be. A stroll through time and Mets space and remembering our place in it, whether it was at the Polo Grounds, Shea Stadium and/or now Citi Field. There are many who fit into all of those spaces with the Mets, those who have been there patiently since that 0-9 start in 1962 when Jay Hook finally delivered a win for that new National League ball club. Maybe you witnessed Tom Seaver’s nearly perfect game in July, 1969 and/or ran onto the field at Shea Stadium to steal some dirt and grass when they won the World Series just three months later. Or, maybe you’re like me who’s earliest memory of the team was that season of invincibility from Dwight Gooden in 1985 and that ball that miraculously dribbled through Bill Buckner’s legs a year later to setup a World Championship. Maybe you born into Robin Ventura’s grand slam single in 1999, Mike Hampton’s complete-game pennant clincher in 2000, or the dynamic duo of Reyes and David Wright who led the way to that dominant 2006 season. Or perhaps the Mets came onto your radar six years ago as you saw Yoenis Céspedes lead a surreal charge to the playoffs and Daniel Murphy’s super-heroic performance in the Division and League Championship Series that same year.
All of those memories were re-lived for a few hours on Saturday in one form or another through the announcement of the players, their faces and the cheers from the crowd for those players.
Old Timers’ Day became a long-lost tradition by the Mets. It was always fun, well attended and like yesterday served as a blast from the past, an escape which is necessary for players and fans alike.
But it’s also important that all clubs - including the Mets - celebrate and remember their history and do so on a regular basis. Yes, the Mets and all teams put players in their team hall of fames, retire numbers, and bring them back for specific events as part of their alumni programs.
But an Old Timers’ Day event brings them all together and links the different chapters in their history together. It’s not always the great or most significant players in those chapters which tell the whole story. After all, baseball is the ultimate team game and it’s those players like Steve Dillon, Benny Agbayani, Frank Thomas, Pat Mahomes Sr., and Terry Leach who help form that bond in history for a franchise with their own stories of significance.
And that’s why Saturday was so important for the Mets, the fans and the city.
Mets retire Willie Mays no. 24
The Mets announced on Saturday they are retiring Willie Mays’ number 24 as part of the Old Timers’ Day ceremony.
Mays spent the final two years of his major league career with the Mets from 1972-1973 and helped guide the Mets from last to first and win the 1973 National League Pennant, their second in franchise history.
“I want to thank Steve and Alex Cohen for making this day possible and embracing Mets history,” Mays said. “I can never forget the way it felt to return to New York to play for all the loyal Mets fans. I’m tremendously proud I ended my career in Queens with the Mets during the ’73 World Series. It’s an honor to have my number retired in my two favorite cities – New York and San Francisco. New York was a magical place to play baseball.”
Joan Payson, the original owner of the Mets who helped bring Mays back to New York so he could conclude his career with the Mets, promised at the time she would retire Mays’ number at Shea Stadium, but was never able to fulfill that promise as she passed away in 1975. Since then, only three players have worn 24 for the Mets - Kelvin Torve in 1990, Rickey Henderson from 1999-2000, and Robinson Canó from 2019-2022.
Mays was a 24-time All-Star, two-time most valuable player, earned 12 gold gloves, had 3,293 hits, 660 home runs and 1909 RBI. He became the first player ever to hit 300 or more home runs and steal 300 or more bases.
Mays will join manager Casey Stengel (#37), player/manager Gil Hodges (#14), Tom Seaver (#41), Mike Piazza (#31), Jerry Koosman (#36) and Keith Hernandez (#17) as the only players in Mets history to have their numbers retired by the club.
Wait, there was a game on Saturday? 📝
Yes, there was, and it couldn’t have been much smoother for the Mets on a variety of fronts.
Rather than shuffling the rotation and having Max Scherzer start on normal rest today and then on normal rest against the Dodgers next Thursday, the Mets opted to stay the course and go with David Peterson, who once again rewarded Buck Showalter and the club with that faith and delivered six mostly spotless innings against the team he grew up rooting for.
One of the issues Peterson has had over the course of his early career has been an ability to throw enough strikes. He has a great back-foot slider which is a nasty weapon against right-handed hitters and an excellent change-up which can be used against left-handed hitters. But sometimes his mechanics get away from him and those balls sail up and out of the strike zone, leaving him behind and in predictable counts. Fortunately, those two off-speed pitches are so good that he tends to fight his way out of trouble.
But Saturday seemed to be a real stepping stone for Peterson as he had better command of his fastball and really pumped the strike zone from the third inning on. He has earned his keep as a major league pitcher who has done everything the Mets have asked him to do, whether it’s live on the Syracuse express, make these temporary appearances in the rotation, or even pitch out of the bullpen at times.
And he has done this literally since day one in 2022 and done nothing but pitch to a 7-3 record and 3.21 ERA in the process.
It must be especially hard for Peterson to stay in sync given the uncertainty he faces game-to-game. But its a testament to his ability to stay in the moment and not let the demotions and boredom at Triple-A get the best of him. He has been one of the quiet, unsung heroes for the Mets in 2022, saving the pitching staff with what has to be considered silent heroism in his role.
After Peterson of course came the adventure in the Mets bullpen, who needed to get nine outs without the services of Edwin Díaz. But on this night, there was no adventure as Seth Lugo, Trevor May, and Adam Ottavino combined to allow just one hit over three scoreless innings of relief.
It was an encouraging night for May in particular, as he has struggled so badly between performance and injury all year long. He has appeared to be overthrowing at times for whatever reason, indicative by that fastball which has sailed wildly up and out of the strike zone. But he was composed and collected on Saturday night, almost appearing as though he closed his eyes and rebooted since his last outing. The Mets badly need the best version of Trevor May down the stretch of the season, as they need another reliable arm alongside Ottavino, Lugo and Díaz.
In between was a great night from Brandon Nimmo who put the Mets ahead for good right out of the gate with a leadoff home run against Kyle Freeland. He singled in another run in the second and scored the third and final run for the Mets in the seventh. It hasn’t come easy for Nimmo in the second half although he’s still managed to produced a .353 on-base percentage in 34 games since the All-Star Game.
As for the game as a whole, we’ve said time and time again that it is these games against these opponents the Mets simply have to soak up in the win column. Saturday proved no different as they took care of business while the Cardinals were busy coming back from a big deficit to walk the Braves off in a wild 6-5 win in St. Louis. The result? The Mets gained an all-important game in the standings and got that much more breathing room against an elite Atlanta ball club in the National League East.
And with the Dodgers coming to town on Tuesday, today has become the biggest game of the year for the Mets.