Eduardo Escobar saves the day, Mets retake NL East lead, and the calm before the storm
Eduardo Escobar and the Mets come back from 4-0 down to retake a one-game lead in the NL East. Plus, what to know ahead of season-defining series in Atlanta.
What’s Up With the Mets? ⚾️
The Mets won a thriller against the Marlins, defeating Miami 5-4 in 10 innings (box)
New York overcame a 4-0 deficit in the 7th inning thanks to a five RBI night from Eduardo Escobar
RHP Taijuan Walker was solid over five innings, allowing three earned runs on six hits and two walks with eight strikeouts
SS Francisco Lindor extended his hitting streak to 13 games
RHP Edwin Díaz made just his sixth appearance in the last 27 days and promptly struck out the side
RHP Drew Smith came up clutch, stranding the free runner in the 10th inning at second base and striking out a pair of batters
The Mets moved RHP Jacob deGrom up in the rotation to start against Atlanta on Friday night
The Braves lost in a walk-off to the Nationals, giving the Mets a one-game lead in the NL East with six to play
Injury Updates 🏥
Starling Marte (fractured right middle finger) returning to the club will not be “imminent” as he continues to wear a splint on his finger
Mychael Givens (COVID-19 IL) in rehab appearance: IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K
Eduardo Escobar… 🧨
Eduardo Escobar is hitting .330/.379/.649 with eight home runs, four doubles, a triple, 24 RBI, 18 runs scored and a 1.028 OPS in September.
He is the first Mets third baseman to have multiple games of five-plus RBI in a single season since David Wright in 2012
8 of his 20 home runs have come in September
His 24 RBI are the third-most by any MLB player this month, his eight home runs in September are tied for the sixth-most in MLB
Escobar had five RBI last night - it was the sixth time in Mets history a player has recorded a 5+ RBI game and drove in all of the teams run in a win
He became one of 15 players with 20+ home runs in each of his last five full seasons and joined Francisco Lindor and José Ramirez as the only switch hitters with 20+ home runs in their last five full seasons
The Pennant Race 🏁
The Mets have clinched a postseason berth (9/19)
NL East lead: 1️⃣ game
Magic Number to win NL East: 6️⃣
Win pace: 1️⃣0️⃣1️⃣
Playoff odds (Fangraphs):
Win the National League East: 78.8 percent ⬆️
Clinch a first round bye: 78.8 percent ⬆️
Win the World Series: 16.4 percent ⬆️
Today’s Game 🗓
The are off Thursday - they will take on the Braves for a three-game series starting in Atlanta on Friday.
Welcome to The Eduardo Escobar Show 📝
“It’s the month of Escobar,” Mets play-by-play broadcaster Gary Cohen exclaimed on Wednesday night.
On an evening where the Mets appeared to be in trouble once again vs second division club, Eduardo Escobar picked this team up off of the mat and carried them to a euphoric victory.
Trailing 4-0 to the Marlins entering the 7th inning, New York hadn’t shown much of any life whatsoever. After losing two of their last three games against the Marlins (91 losses) and A’s (98 losses), it looked as if it was going to be another sleepy night for a Mets offense that has been either all or nothing as of late.
Escobar, who has been scalding hot all September long, finally got things into gear in 7th inning with a two-run shot, his 20th of the year and eighth this month, to cut the deficit to 4-2 and inject some life into this team and a previously anxious Citi Field crowd. In the very next inning, after both Francisco Lindor and Jeff McNeil were unable to get a run home with multiple runners on, Escobar came through yet again, grounding a single through the right side of the infield to tie the game up at four runs a piece.
Though the 9th inning appeared to be a moment where the Mets were poised to walk this baby off with Pete Alonso and Francisco Lindor coming up with the winning run in scoring position, New York was unable to convert on the opportunity and the game went to extra innings as the Braves were simultaneously trying to hold off the Nationals in the 10th inning in D.C.
After finding out that the Braves lost their game in Washington right before his at-bat, it was Escobar — who the Marlins elected to face after intentionally walking Jeff McNeil ahead of him — who once again stepped up to the plate with a chance to convert on a massive scoring chance. On a 1-1 pitch, Escobar inside-outed an inside sinker through the shifted infield, sending Lindor racing around third base and diving in just ahead of the throw at home plate to deliver a huge walk-off win for this team.
This is a club that had struggled to play their best baseball all month against a soft schedule, and hadn’t done much coming-from-behind in games lately, and they were able to engineer a four-run comeback over the final three innings in a game they absolutely had to have. With the pennant race pressure on, this club was able to pull it out all thanks to a single player who had been much maligned for the majority of this season.
After hitting just .216/.269/.384 with 12 home runs, 44 RBI and a .653 OPS over his first 102 games of the season, Escobar has completely turned his season around in magical fashion. In 29 games since returning from the injured list on August 27th, Escobar is hitting .324/.368/.610 with eight home runs, 24 RBI — the second most by any player in the major leagues in that timespan — and a .978 OPS.
When they have needed him most, Eduardo Escobar has transformed himself into the player the Mets hoped they were getting when they signed him this offseason, and then some. While the offense has gone through its extreme ups-and-downs over this month, Escobar has remained a stable constant in this lineup and has come through with clutch hit after clutch hit over the last few weeks.
We can only hope that streak continues on in Atlanta. Speaking of which…
The Calm Before the Storm… 📝
It’s all come down to this.
We’ve been talking about it for weeks, if not months now, but we have finally reached the monstrous Mets/Braves series that could ultimately decide the fate of the National League East.
It’s been an unbelievable race to this point, with the Braves making up huge deficits in the division on multiple occasions — they’ve come back from 10.5 game and seven game deficits already — while the Mets have continued to hold them off from fully overtaking them despite their nearly four-month-long charge.
Wednesday night continued that drama, as both clubs entered the day at a dead heat in the division and each found themselves in extra inning battles against the bottom two teams in the division. Ultimately, Atlanta was the team that was incapable of coming through with the big hit while the Mets did, once again giving New York a one-game lead heading into this three-game weekend set.
Both teams are off today, meaning they each have the ability to set their rotations the way they want to. That means both the Mets and Braves will be featuring the best they have to offer in the rotation with Jacob deGrom, Max Scherzer, Chris Bassitt, Max Fried, Kyle Wright and Charlie Morton all set to start in this pivotal series.
But the thing everyone really wants to know — what are the magic number and clinching scenarios at play here? I’m glad you asked…
If the Mets sweep…
Magic number: 0️⃣
The Mets would clinch the NL East title on Sunday night with a sweep in Atlanta.
If the Mets win 2-of-3…
Magic number: 1️⃣
New York would enter their final three games of the season vs the Nationals needing just one victory OR one Braves loss to clinch the NL East.
If the Mets win 1-of-3…
Magic number: 3️⃣
While losing the series would not be ideal, the Mets would still leave Atlanta with destiny in their own hands. While they would be mathematically tied with the Braves in the division, the Mets would have already clinched the tiebreaker against them in this scenario, and would be a combination of three wins/Braves losses away from clinching the division.
If the Mets get swept…
TRAGIC number: 1️⃣
This is the one situation you definitely don’t want to come into play. A Braves sweep would put firm control of the division in Atlanta’s hands, as they would be just one win or any Mets loss away from winning the NL East. A sweep by Atlanta would also give them the season tiebreaker advantage vs the Mets.
Down on the Farm 🌾
All Mets minor league affiliates have had their seasons come to an end after Triple-A Syracuse played their final game on Wednesday afternoon.
Francisco Álvarez (C, No. 1 prospect, Triple-A): 2-for-3, 2 BB, run scored
Bryce Montes De Oca (RHP, Triple-A): 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, BB, 3 K
JT Riddle (SS, Triple-A): 1-for-4, 2 RBI
Box Scores: Triple-A
Around the League 🚩
Aaron Judge tied Roger Maris for the all-time, single-season American League record with his 61st home run of the year in the Yankees’ 8-3 win over Toronto
The Phillies lost for the 8th time in their last 11 games and had their Wild Card lead reduced to just a half-game over the Brewers
Milwaukee defeated the Cardinals 5-1 thanks to a 10-strikeout performance by RHP Brandon Woodruff