Encyclopedia Showalter helps pocket an important win for the Mets in Miami
Buck Showalter called for a rule book challenge on the field, setting up a big night for Francisco Lindor
What’s Up with the Mets? ⚾
The Mets defeated the Marlins by a score of 5-3 on Friday night in Miami (Box)
Francisco Lindor drove in four of the five runs for the Mets - one on a solo home run in the first inning and then three more on a bases-clearing three-run double in the sixth inning after Buck Showalter won a rule challenge and a challenge on two miss-calls
Taijuan Walker allowed three runs in six innings, although one of the three runs were allowed on a bases loaded walk by Drew Smith in the seventh - he has a 3.03 ERA for the year
The Mets are now 22-16 on the road, 10-3 in series openers on the road, 41-4 when leading after six innings, 23-8 vs the NL East, 29-4 when allowing three or fewer runs, and 36-8 when scoring first in 2022
Injury Updates 🏥
Max Scherzer (strained oblique) will not start for the Mets on Sunday - team officials are still deciding on next steps in Scherzer’s rehab process. Instead David Peterson will start for the Mets
Jacob deGrom will throw another session of live batting practice Saturday with the club in Miami
Carlos Carrasco (lower back tightness) is on-track to make his next scheduled start. His MRI showed no structural damage and he worked out during Thursday’s off-day
Joey Lucchesi (Tommy John Surgery) expects he has eight weeks left in his rehab process
Jeff McNeil (tight hamstring) was available off the bench on Friday night, but did not play
Roster Moves 📰
C James McCann (hand surgery) activated from the IL
C Patrick Mazeika optioned to Triple-A Syracuse
RHP Seth Lugo activated from the paternity list
RHP Yoan López optioned to Triple-A Syracuse
Signed RHP Cristofer Gómez to a minor league contract
Signed C Rubén Yustiz to a minor league contract
Who’s Hot 🔥
Over his last three starts, Taijuan Walker has gone 3-0 with a 2.41 ERA, having allowed just five earned runs with 24 strikeouts during that span
Francisco Lindor has reached base in 11 of his last 13 games and has 14 RBI during that span
Adam Ottavino has allowed one earned run in his last 19 appearances, a span of 18 innings. He has allowed five walks with 18 strikeouts during this stretch - opponents are hitting .148 against him over this span
Today’s Game 🗓
Match-up: Mets (46-26) @ Marlins (32-37)
Where: LoanDepot Park - Miami, Florida
Starters: RHP Chris Bassitt (5-5, 4.03 ERA) vs LHP Trevor Rogers (3-6, 5.83 ERA)
When: 4:10 PM EDT
Where to Watch: WPIX
Mets pocket a win thanks Buck Showalter’s brilliant performance 📝
Just like most everything else that has a large sample size, baseball is always about the rule of thirds.
Over the course of 162 games, teams will almost always win a third of it’s games and lose a third of it’s games. That brings every team to 54-54 for the year.
It’s what the club does with that other 54 games which defines a season either positively or negatively. And on Friday night in Miami, a game that fell into that defining 54, the Mets got their money’s worth from their manager and put yet another win into that all-important third of the season.
That’s not to say it was easy or even pretty for the Mets on Friday night. Coming off a very disappointing series during which they were clobbered by the Astros, were held to five runs over two games, and saw their lead in the National League East shrink to four games, the Mets needed to pull out all the stops, prevent a third straight loss, and create positive vibes in the process.
For a while on Friday, if not for most of the night, the road was indeed rocky for the Mets. They were tangled in a low-scoring duel between the resurgent Taijuan Walker and Marlins stud ace Sandy Alcantara into the sixth inning. The Mets enjoyed two slim leads - one in the first and again in the fifth - each followed by an immediate response by the Marlins to tie the game.
But then came the sixth inning.
The Marlins lost Jazz Chisholm Jr. to an injury, forcing them to use Willans Astudido at second base. And of course, the game found Astudido - as it always seems to find the hole - almost immediately.
Tomás Nido and Brandon Nimmo got things started for the Mets with two singles to start the frame. Then, Starling Marte grounded one to Astudido at second base, who appeared to tag Nimmo in between first and second and then threw on to first to try and nab Marte for a double play.
The situation would’ve left the Mets with the go-ahead run at third and two outs, but Mets manager Buck Showalter intervened and called for not just one challenge (Marte was safe at first) but another on Nimmo.
See, Astudido did indeed tag Nimmo, and second base umpire Pat Hoberg called Nimmo out immediately. Nimmo stopped dead assuming he was out.
But he was not.
Because Astudido tagged Nimmo with his glove without the ball inside. Astudido recognized his mistake and yelled for the ball so he could tag Nimmo and giving the mistake away in the process, who was still in between first and second.
Of course, by rule the fielder must tag the runner with the ball. That was the easy part of the challenge to overturn. But in that case, how do the officiators deal with the runner who was mistakenly called out, assumed he was out and appeared dead in the water?
The rule in this case calls for the runner to be awarded the next base. Showalter of course knew this and was clearly arguing for this outcome. After review, the umpires awarded Nimmo second base, the call at first was overturned, and Marte was safe at first base.
On this day, replay as well as perhaps the sharpest manager in the sport turned what appeared to be an inning gone by the wayside into one of opportunity. Instead of a runner at third and two outs, the bases were loaded with nobody out and Francisco Lindor was coming up.
And Lindor cashed right in.
The Mets shortstop slugged a change-up in the middle of the plate off the right-center field wall, plating all three runners (which might not have been without Showalter) to give the Mets a 5-2 lead, proving to be all the Mets would need to kill off their two-game slide and get themselves back on the horse with a feel-good win.
“I am glad we had instant replay and got them right,” Showalter said afterwards. “When the out call is made, you can’t penalize the offense because if he thought he was safe he would have gotten up and scrambled to second. The play continues, but you can’t penalize the runner for the out call.”
Is there any other manager who would’ve called for that specific rule book challenge?
“Buck is Buck. He is very smart, very clever. He knows probably the rules more than any umpire out there,” Lindor explained after the game. “It was a huge play in the game right there.”
It’s not to say other managers, fans, and onlookers wouldn’t have understood the correct call and outcome. But there have been countless instances with countless managers where nuances in the rules have been missed and not challenged on the field since baseball implemented replay.
Make no mistake - Lindor deserves props for his big hit and big night overall - he is now fourth in the game with 56 RBI. Despite his ebbs and flows overall, he has been as productive as anyone could ask him to be over the first half of the season. He has hit .308 with two outs and runners in scoring position, .299 with runners in scoring position overall in 2022.
But without Showalter, the opportunity would’ve otherwise been limited for Lindor on that other timeline.
Seriously. Would Luis Rojas have challenged the play in that manner? Would anyone else have for that matter?
Aside from his strategic acumen, Showalter’s ability to win a game by winning a rule book challenge - and put a win into that all-important season defining third of the schedule - makes him worth his weight in gold, however heavy that might be.
Down on the Farm 🌾
Omar De Los Santos (OF Single-A): 3-for-4, 3B, HR, 4 RBI
Nick Zwack (LHP, Single-A): 5 IP, 4 H, 1 BB, 6 K
Trevor Cahill (RHP, Triple-A) 4 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 5 BB, 1 K
Box Scores: Triple-A | Double-A | Single-A | Low-A
Around the League 🚩
Justin Verlander shut down the Yankees in the Bronx, bouncing back to a 3-1 win to even their showdown series and ending the Yankees 15-game home winning streak
The Dodgers beat the Braves in Freddie Freeman’s homecoming in Atlanta, extending the Mets lead in the NL East to five games
The Dodgers lost a key member of their bullpen to injury on Friday - RHP Daniel Hudson will have season-ending surgery to repair a torn ACL
Austin Nola’s go-ahead, opposite field RBI single against brother Aaron Nola keyed a 1-0 win over the Phillies in San Diego
Blue Jays C Alejandro Kirk homered for a third straight game in Toronto’s 9-4 win over the Brewers
The Angels designated former Met Juan Lagares for assignment, and the Cubs designated former Met Jonathan Villar for assignment
Royals C Salvador Pérez underwent thumb surgery - he will be out of action for at least eight weeks
The Buck factor is real and last night was the perfect microcosm. The umps now basically defer to his knowledge of the rulebook, which is fascinating to watch, unless you're on the other team.
I totally believe in Lindor but clearly Buck has made a difference in how he's settled in.
The controlled aggression on the bases and taking smart risks is also not a coincidence. John Berti could take a lesson in that.
Lastly, to see the confidence level of Walker, Smith and Sugar, even when things aren't going perfect, was also a takeaway last night. As was Buck knowing that Ottovino was the right guy to pick up Smith in that situation. Ottovino will get himself in trouble with walks, no doubt, but he's good when cleaning up a mess.
If Jake and Max are healthy for October we have as good a playoff team as anybody and probably a better one.