Max Scherzer's brilliance and the Mets offense combine to clinch a postseason spot
Max Scherzer retired the first 18 batters he faced, Pete Alonso homered and the Mets recorded three more two-out RBI on Monday. Plus, the Mets clinched their first playoff appearance since 2016.
What’s Up with the Mets? 🥂
The Mets clinched a playoff spot with a 7-2 win over the Brewers in Milwaukee on Monday (box)
Pete Alonso hit a three-run home run in the fourth inning which put the Mets up for good on Monday - it was his 36th home run and RBI number 116, 117, and 118 on the year for Alonso
Max Scherzer came off the injured list and was literally perfect over six innings, retiring all 18 batters he faced, striking out nine of them to brilliantly earn his 200th win of his major league career
Tomás Nido, Daniel Vogelbach, and Tyler Naquin each contributed two out RBI and Francisco Lindor tripled in a run of his own, his 95th of the season
Tylor Megill returned from the injured list and struggled in his new role as reliever, allowing a two-run home run to Rowdy Tellez in the sixth inning
Seth Lugo and Adam Ottavino locked up the Mets tenth playoff appearance in their 60 year history and their first since they won the National League Wild Card in 2016, combining for two innings of scoreless relief
The Mets are now 44-29 on the road, 11-7 in September, 33-14 in series openers, 17-7 in series openers on the road, 76-13 when scoring first, 83-0 when scoring first, 22-9 vs the National League Central, and have won 5 games in a row
The Braves won again, keeping the Mets lead in the NL East at one game
Postseason Clinch Show 🎙️
Following the Mets clinching their first postseason appearance in six years, Just Mets hosted a live call-in show on Twitter Spaces to celebrate and take calls from fans.
You can listen to that show here…
Roster Moves 📰
Max Scherzer reinstated from the 15-Day IL
Tylor Megill reinstated from the 60-Day IL
Stephen Nogosek optioned to Triple-A Syracuse
Alex Claudio optioned to Triple-A Syracuse
The Pennant Race 🏁
NL East lead: 1️⃣ game
Magic Number to win NL East: 1️⃣4️⃣
Magic Number to clinch a Wild Card: CLINCHED
Win pace: 1️⃣0️⃣2️⃣
Playoff odds (Fangraphs):
Win the National League East: 69 percent ⬆️
Clinch a first round bye: 69 percent ⬆️
Win the World Series: 16.3 percent ⬇️
Today’s Game 🗓
Match-up: Mets (94-55) vs Brewers (78-69)
Where: American Family Field — Milwaukee, WI
Starters: RHP Carlos Carrasco (15-6, 3.70 ERA) vs. LHP Aaron Ashby (2-10, 4.58 ERA)
When: 7:40 PM EDT
Where to Watch: SNY
These aren’t the same ol’ Mets, you know… 📝
You know you were worried last night. Weren’t you? There was a part of you just fighting to come to the surface and scream when Tylor Megill allowed that two-run home run to Rowdy Tellez in the seventh inning to make it a three-run game.
It’s ok to admit it. It was a stomach churner given Max Scherzer had just exited after not allowing a baserunner over six magnificent innings. After all, these are the Mets, a franchise who has littered their history with one disappointment or letdown after the next, especially during this time of year when they have seemingly come close more often than actually getting to the finish line before winking out when it mattered most. That plus simply not contending has created that understandable stigma around this franchise.
But these are not those same old Mets.
Gone are the days of 2007 and 2008 when they had the talent but not the might or mettle to finish the job or the depth to withstand injury to simply get the team across the finish line. No, these are a new brand of Mets who’s business-like approach to baseball even under the most difficult of circumstances keeps their eye on the prize and shows them the way.
And on Thursday, after it seemed as though the Mets had lost their North Star after a confusing sweep at the hands of the Cubs, the Mets woke up and found that mojo that made them a powerhouse force through the season’s first 130 games, and they haven’t looked back.
Coming into Monday, the Mets had won four in a row and hadn’t trailed in any of those four games. They were four wins against the Pirates, wins which were expected if not assumed they would get, but those wins helped keep the Braves at bay who also haven’t lost since Friday.
On Monday, Max Scherzer made his highly anticipated return to the mound, notably behind Jacob deGrom who pitched on Sunday (their rotation is setup to have both of them pitch in their series against Atlanta next week) with all eyes on his efficiency and his stamina as he aimed for his 200th career win and the main item on his agenda, which was delivering the club’s first playoff berth since 2016.
The only way to describe Scherzer’s performance is, “vintage.” Not so much because he retired all 18 batters he faced and blew one Brewers batter away after the next, but did so with the energy and determination to get his team into the playoffs and force only Scherzer can provide.
Yes, he was utterly brilliant and once again demonstrated his worth to the franchise on Monday. Selfishly, I wanted him to stay in because of the entertainment value he provides when he’s firing on all cylinders. But understandably, he needed to come out as the Mets manage his oblique situation as they try to build his stamina up for Atlanta and beyond next week.
As he was dealing, the Mets bats were back to being the brand they were through the first 130 games. They jumped out to an early 3-0 lead thanks to Pete Alonso’s three-run home run and drove in three runs with two outs over the course of the night - one on a Daniel Vogelbach double in the sixth, and then one from both Tyler Naquin and Tomás Nido in the seventh.
That’s the kind of baseball the league had grown accustomed to seeing over the first 130 games. Shutdown pitching and an offense that simply bleeds the opposition to death with long at-bats and timely hitting.
And it’s that kind of baseball that ultimately got the Mets into the playoffs.
After the win, the Mets went about their celebration in a very business-like manner. All of the players acknowledged the accomplishment of getting to the playoffs, as well they should. Between the schedule, the long absences from deGrom and Scherzer in the rotation, the doubleheaders and the strength of their opponents for most of the year, they have continually found a way to see it through and win the games they’re supposed to win and make a lot of key statements against those opponents along the way.
And yet they all acknowledged they’re not done yet from the owner on down - they all have a division title in their sights and won’t let up until that regular season goal is met.
But still, this was a glorious night for the Mets nonetheless and an important one in this chapter of their history. Scherzer got his 200th win and the new Mets under Steve Cohen and Sandy Alderson and their modern way of building and running a franchise (and spending a lot of money, we won’t forget that part), has transformed the culture and the daily business of baseball on the field to turn them into the powerhouse Mr. Cohen envisioned during his first press conference nearly two years ago.
Sure, there has been a lot of cleaning up to do, a few mistakes and a few bumps in the road. Last season represented all the problems top to bottom that needed to be fixed going forward.
And they were. The Mets have made themselves a destination, they have cleaned up their reputation and are emerging as part of the class of baseball.
And they’re going to be must-see TV as a postseason force with their two big horses on the mound in October, no matter what their starting point will be in the tournament.
Down on the Farm 🌾
All Mets Minor League affiliates were off on Monday.
Around the League 🚩
The Braves kept pace with the Mets in the race for the NL East title on Monday night with a 5-2 win over the Nationals in Atlanta - Austin Riley and Eddie Rosario homered for the Braves
The Astros clinched both the AL West and a first-round bye with a 4-0 shutout win over the Rays at Tropicana Field
Clayton Kershaw allowed just a run on six hits with 10 strikeouts for his ninth win of the season as the Dodgers ensured a first-round bye in the playoffs with their 5-2 win over the Diamondbacks
The fading Orioles were blown out by the Tigers in Baltimore 11-0 - they’ve lost six of ten and now sit five games behind the Mariners - who blew out the Mariners in Anthem 9-1 - for the last Wild Card spot with 16 games to go