Mets bring the offensive power to take the series from the Marlins, go 4-2 on road trip
Both the offense and Taijuan Walker were fantastic in the series finale in Miami as the Mets expanded their lead to 1.5 games in the NL East
What’s Up with the Mets? ⚾
The Mets took their series from the Marlins with a 9-3 win in Miami (Box)
RHP Taijuan Walker rebounded from both his previous start and a blister issue with a brilliant performance. He allowed only one run in seven innings and struck out ten
C Tomás Nido enjoyed a big day at the plate, going 3-for-4 with a home run and three RBI. The home run was his first of the season
DH Mark Vientos went 0-for-5 with two strikeouts in his major league debut
3B Eduardo Escobar blasted his seventeenth home run of the season as he continues to rake since his return from the injured list
CF Brandon Nimmo also went deep and was 2-for-4 for the day
2B Jeff McNeil picked up another three hits to bring his average to .322 as he tries to chase down Paul Goldschmidt and Freddie Freeman for the batting title
The Mets are now 43-29 on the road, 6-4 in September, 32-9-3 in series, 17-5-1 in series on the road, 71-13 when scoring first, 78-0 when leading after eight innings, 46-22 against the National League East, 66-5 when scoring five or more runs, and 31-17 since the All-Star Game
Injury Updates 🏥
LHP Joey Lucchesi (Tommy John) allowed no runs in 1.2 innings and struck out three in his latest rehab start
Luis Guillorme (oblique strain) went 1-for-2 in his second rehab game with Triple-A Syracuse - he is expected to be activated either Monday or Tuesday
C Francisco Álvarez (ankle) returned to the lineup for Syracuse and went 0-for-4
Who’s Hot 🔥
With Eduardo Escobar’s big day on Sunday, he is now hitting .380/.418/.857 over his last fifteen games
Jeff McNeil is in a dogfight for the batting title and he has turned it on over the past week. He is hitting .400/.438/.440 over his last seven games
Brandon Nimmo is heating up at the top of the order. He is hitting .296/.424/.556 with two home runs and seven RBIs over the last seven games
The Pennant Race 🏁
NL East lead: 1️⃣.5️⃣ games
Magic Number to win NL East: 2️⃣1️⃣
Playoff odds (Fangraphs)
Win the National League East: 74.1 percent ⬆️
Clinch a first round bye: 74.1 percent ⬆️
Win the World Series: 16.4 percent ⬇️
Today’s Game 🗓
Match-up: Mets (89-52) vs. Cubs (58-81)
Where: Citi Field — Flushing, New York
Starters: RHP Chris Bassitt (13-7, 3.24 ERA) vs. RHP Javier Assad (0-1, 2.93 ERA)
When: 7:10 PM EDT
Where to Watch: SNY
All is well for the Mets despite a bumpy ride through Pittsburgh and Miami… 📝
by Michael Baron
In the end, all’s well that ended well for the Mets this past weekend.
It started out of course ominously with the offense misfiring and the Mets subsequently falling out of first place thanks to a lackluster 6-3 loss to the Marlins on Friday, and the Braves taking over the reigns in the National League East with their win against the Mariners later that night.
But maybe, just maybe, that was the wakeup call the Mets needed?
It didn’t seem that way at the jump on Saturday night. The Mets notched three hits in the first inning with a double play groundout from Francisco Lindor sandwiched in between, and then the Marlins immediately responded by putting the Mets behind in the bottom of the first with two hits and a run.
But then the monster was let out of the cage, and the Mets offense hasn’t looked back since.
The Mets exploded for an eight-run eighth inning highlighted by Mark Canha’s grand slam, and that was more or less that as the Mets went on cruise control through the rest of their series in Miami, plating 20 runs over the final two games with the offense seemingly firing on all cylinders once again.
All-told, the Mets scored 40 runs during their 4-2 road trip and outscored the Pirates and Marlins by 19 runs over the six games.
On the other coast, the Mariners figured out how to keep the Braves from casting their spell on them, even if it was for two days, although they won by the skin of their teeth and perhaps undeservingly on Sunday afternoon. With that, the Mets can breathe a little bit again as they are coming home with a 1.5 game lead in the National League East with 21 games to go.
Back to the offense for a moment, it was very encouraging to see Pete Alonso have a productive road trip. He doubled, homered, drove in three runs and produced a .795 OPS during the six-game trip. He’s still not all the way back of course and it’s clear that at times he’s still pressing and struggling to identify and attack hittable strikes. But he’s shown over the last four years his emergence from slumps is a process and it starts with shortening and loading up on singles in the middle of the field before he rediscovers his power stroke. The Mets are going to need him to continue this upwards path as October draws closer. A strong finish with momentum into the playoffs is what both he and the club needs when the tournament starts.
There are two under-discussed stories from the weekend as well, and those are the performances of Carlos Carrasco and Taijuan Walker. Both stepped up and gave the Mets very important outings, each of whom were able to pitch into the seventh innings and protect the weaker part of the Mets bullpen in the process. It’s also important in that they offered some reassurance they can be valuable and healthy members of the rotation down the stretch, especially with uncertainty surrounding Max Scherzer and that balky oblique of his.
But all-told, despite a bumpy ride at times, this was a successful road trip for the Mets and despite a scare, ended up no worse at a minimum than where they were when they departed Citi Field eight days ago, with six fewer games on the schedule for Atlanta to work with to win the National League East.
The Mets have a Darin Ruf problem 📝
by Linda Surovich
When GM Billy Eppler went searching for offensive upgrades this summer, he settled on Giants DH Darin Ruf to be a right-handed platoon bat with the newly acquired Daniel Vogelbach. At the time of the trade, he had a .887 OPS against lefties with San Francisco and the Mets desperately needed someone who could hit southpaws. While the reasoning was sound the price tag was a bit of a head scratcher. The Mets traded away J.D. Davis, and prospects LHP Thomas Szapucki, LHP Nick Zwack, and RHP Carson Seymour.
Davis had been struggling this season although it should be noted, that according to Tim Healey of Newsday, the wrist surgery he underwent in the offseason had a 10-12 month timetable for it to fully heal. Szapucki certainly struggled when he got called up to the majors and the other two were prospects in the lower minors.
However, in an organization that is currently bereft of pitching prospects, those were alot of arms to give away.
It has been well chronicled the Mets did not do enough at the deadline and instead played the margins in the trade market. But had the trade for Ruf panned out, the team’s position down the stretch and beyond would be a little less precarious.
But the Ruf trade has been nothing less than an outright disaster.
He took another o-fer at the plate in the finale against the Marlins and is now batting just .140/.182/.200 with an OPS of .382. He has no home runs and just seven RBIs in 50 at bats.
What is done is done of course, but the Mets are getting no production out of Ruf right now and he is very limited in the field. In the coming weeks, Trevor May, Luis Guillorme, Starling Marte, Max Scherzer, Tylor Megill, Drew Smith, and Joey Lucchesi should all return from the injured list and roster moves will need to be made. Unfortunately for Ruf, nothing he has done has justified a roster spot for him down the stretch, no less the playoffs.
Davis could not have been worse, right?
Does Mark Vientos deserve to be a roster casualty when the team is fully healthy? What about in the postseason when Brett Baty could potentially return?
There is no denying the team will have some crucial roster decisions to make in the coming weeks and in October. Does Billy Eppler have the fortitude to admit his move failed while putting this team in the best position to win?
Only time will tell.
Down on the Farm 🌾
Jake Mangum (CF, Triple-A): 2-for-4, HR, 2B, 2 RBI, 1 R
Alex Ramirez (OF, No. 4 Prospect, Single-A): 2-for-4, RBI, R
Kevin Parada (C, No. 3 Prospect, Low-A): 2-for-3, HR, 2B, RBI, R
Around the League 🚩
The Mets extended their lead in the division after the Braves were walked off by the Mariners - the Braves scored six runs in the eighth and ninth innings to overcome a 6-1 deficit and take the lead, but both Julio Rodriguez and Eugenio Suárez hit solo home runs in the ninth to win it for Seattle
Albert Pujols is now in sole possession of fourth place on the all-time home run list after he slugged home run number 697 for his career
The Dodgers defeated the Padres 11-2 to make them the first team to clinch a postseason berth
Diamondbacks ace Zac Gallen had his scoreless streak ended after 44.1 innings which set a franchise record and is the seventh-longest scoreless streak in MLB history
Gleyber Torres hit two home runs to help the Yankees take their crucial series against the Rays with a 10-4 win on Sunday in the Bronx
The Brewers held off the Reds with a dicey 7-6 victory in Milwaukee to pull back to within two games of the third wild card spot
The Phillies tightened their grip on the second wild card spot with a 7-5 win over the Nationals - they now lead San Diego by 1.5 games, who currently hold the third wild card spot
Former Braves pitcher Anthony Varvaro, who retired from baseball to become a Port Authority police officer, was tragically killed in a car accident as he made his way to the September 11 ceremony