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Mets claw their way to victory thanks to gifts from the Marlins and run prevention
The Mets made two key defensive plays on the bases, capitalized on two major miscues from Miami for the win
What’s Up with the Mets? ⚾
The Mets came from behind twice to defeat the Marlins 5-4 at Citi Field on Saturday (Box)
Carlos Carrasco danced in and out of trouble over 5.2 IP, but ultimately allowed just two runs on seven hits
The Mets fought their way from behind twice. The first time while trailing 2-1 in the sixth when Francisco Lindor hit a two-run home run off the foul poll, and the last coming in their final at-bat in the tenth inning while trailing 4-3 with two outs and the ghost runner still at second. Tomás Nido rolled a dribbler up the third base line and the ball went under 3B Bryan Anderson’s glove to tie the score at four, and then Brandon Nimmo dribbled a comeback to LHP Tanner Scott who then threw the ball away, allowing Nido to score the game winner
It was the first time the Mets have won a game on a walk-off error with two outs in extra innings since Game 6 of the 1986 World Series
Pete Alonso ended an 11-game home run drought and a ten-game RBI drought with his fourth inning solo home run - he joined David Wright (2006, 2008) and Mike Piazza (2000) as the only Mets to ever have 70 RBI before the All-Star Game
Alonso and Lindor are the first pair of Mets to have at least 60 RBI before the All-Star Game since Wright and Carlos Beltrán in 2008
The Mets are now 26-10 against the National League East, 28-14 at home, 6-3 in July, 7-0 in extra innings, got their 19th comeback win, their 4th walk off win, and are 39-4 when scoring five or more runs.
Jeff McNeil is expected to be placed on the paternity list before Sunday’s series finale with the Marlins
Injury Updates 🏥
Starling Marte left Saturday’s game in the fourth inning with groin tightness - he will undergo imaging today
James McCann left Saturday’s game in the sixth inning with side discomfort - he will undergo imaging today
Jacob deGrom (stress reaction in scapula) will make his next start with Triple-A Syracuse, although the date for that outing has not been determined yet
Travis Jankowski (broken hand) went 2-for-4 with a walk and a run scored for Triple-A Syracuse on Saturday
Roster Moves 📰
Chasen Shreve was granted his unconditional release on Saturday
Who’s Hot 🔥
Edwin Díaz struck out two batters in the ninth inning on Saturday - he has struck out 68 of the 136 batters he’s faced this season (50%), a span of 34.1 IP
Francisco Lindor has two home runs and three RBI during his three-game hitting streak
Today’s Game 🗓
Match-up: Mets (53-32) vs. Marlins (40-43)
Where: Citi Field, Flushing, New York
Starters: RHP Taijuan Walker (7-2, 2.86 ERA) vs RHP Sandy Alcantara (9-3, 1.82 ERA)
When: 1:40PM EDT
Where to Watch: WPIX, MLB Network
To Keith Hernandez…
Before I get into what was truly a memorable and thrilling game, I want to quickly share my thoughts on Keith Hernandez and his number retirement ceremony before the game on Saturday…
I am sure there are a lot of people who read our newsletter who never got to see Keith play and play for the Mets at that. They only know him as a member of what has become an institution and a standard of excellence in the Mets broadcast booth alongside greats Ron Darling and Gary Cohen.
I was young when Keith played for the Mets. But even at that early age I could tell he was the tick to the Mets tock.
I remember watching him at first holding runners on, holding down that low target which was two or three inches from the ground to give Darling, Dwight Gooden or whichever pitcher he was coaching from his station at first base, and then when the pitcher went into the kick he would quickly position himself on the edge of the grass. But like nobody I had seen before or have seen since, he would often sprint like a cheetah towards the plate because he knew either the hitter was bunting and if he wasn’t, he should have bunted. And if the hitter got one down, there was Keith ready to make that unlikely throw to second or third to get the lead runner.
There was nobody before or after him who could make that play look so routine, and do it as routinely as he did. Hell, there was nobody before or since who could make the most difficult of plays on the right side of the infield look so easy and routine. He was a wall at first base both with his play and leadership, and while the Mets have had a lot of great players pass through those doors of the clubhouse over the last 60 years, none are more unique than Keith Hernandez.
We see and hear his personality on a nightly basis during the SNY telecast. When he speaks, we listen. When he is talking about hitting, we listen. When he speaks about the do’s and dont’s at first base, we listen.
Everybody listens. Even Gary and Ron stop and turn while he speaks.
We see and hear the colorful, eccentric and charismatic side of that personality but it’s that same personality in a different presentation that made him the glue of those mid-1980’s Met teams and the one that won it all 36 years ago.
But it’s that same personality in a different manner which made him the player I remember watching all those years ago. While he’s funny and entertaining to the ears, he still takes the game very seriously and seriously cares about the success of this organization. And perhaps that endless pursuit of team-wide success matters more than the five straight gold gloves he won with the Mets from 1984-1988, or the MVP he won in 1979. Yes, Keith always seemed to come up with that big hit, as he did in Game 3 of the 1986 NLCS to spark a rally against the Astros, or the one that started their rally in Game 7 of the 1986 World Series. But it was his guile, grit, intensity and that endless quest for success which were the foundations for the excellence he demanded of himself and his team.
For me, he is the standard and the model player everyone should strive to be, on both sides of the ball. Even today, I find myself emulating that iconic batting stance as I did when I was a little boy looking up to a hero all those years ago and while I am not left-handed, I learned about in-game awareness just by watching him play first base. When I am teaching players how to play first base and how to hold runners on, the model I use is that from Hernandez whether it’s footwork, that super-low target when holding runners on, identifying and reading the bunts, and so on.
I know he was a model for many other people who have long since grown up as well.
Watching yesterday’s ceremony brought back all of those fond memories from my childhood. But honestly, it was less about remembering those iconic moments and more about the things I learned from him while watching him play. Yes, those moments are important but I have them at my disposal on YouTube or MLB.com.
What I didn’t have and now have again are those lessons he taught me, which I now impart on my own daughter as she endeavors to reach the stars in softball. And I realized yesterday I am teaching the lessons I learned by watching and listening to Keith to the kids I coach now.
So, to Keith Hernandez - congratulations on this long overdue honor. Every time I go to the ballpark, look up and see your number, there will be a special kind of thank you sent your way, from my entire family…
Mets win thanks to their defense and gifts from the Marlins…📝
There’s a lot to unpack in Saturday’s wild 5-4 win for the Mets on Saturday.
First there is Carlos Carrasco, who averted disaster on two occasions early in the game. He was faced with a bases loaded, 0 out mess in the first inning. It started with a leadoff double to Jon Berti, a walk to Garrett Cooper and then Jesus Aguilar reaching on catcher interference.
The game seemed to be on the brink of falling off a cliff right out of the gate. But then Carrasco pulled a rabbit out of his hat to strike out Jesus Sánchez before inducing an inning ending double play from Avisail García.
Carrasco then found another path after allowing a leadoff double to Aguilar in the fourth inning who advanced to third on a groundout from Jesus Sánchez. But then he got García again, this time on a strikeout before inducing a ground out from Brian Anderson to end the inning.
Mini-crisis averted again.
He wasn’t as fortunate in the sixth inning although the damage could’ve been a lot worse if not for an absurdly bad baserunning play from Sánchez. With one out, Anderson doubled to the gap in left center but Sánchez misread the fly ball, holding to tag at second instead of at least going half way. He tried to score but Luis Guillorme made an incredible relay throw to the plate to nab him in the nick of time, keeping an important run off the board in the process.
That was it for Carrasco, who would allow another run to come across thanks to a wild pitch from Seth Lugo with García at third.
Still, only two runs came across - it could’ve and should’ve been a lot worse.
Carrasco’s approach to the Marlins on Saturday seemed to be a form of reverse psychology. He was pitching backwards in large measure, depending strongly on his slider to get ahead of hitters in the process. To an extent, it worked for him since he induced nine swings-and-misses among the 30 sliders he threw. Of course, he was dealing with traffic in every inning so he needed those swings-and-misses in the worst way, that which he wasn’t getting a lot of among the 31 fastballs he threw. He got them though which helped him navigate that mess in the first inning and keep Miami off the board until the sixth inning. He arguably should’ve only been tagged with one run on his ledger, but all-in-all he deserves a lot of credit for the wizardry he displayed which kept the Mets in this game.
To the other side of the game, the Mets once again didn’t have a lot of offense in this one, something which has become a disturbing trend over the last month. Their roster is out of balance, and with both James McCann and Starling Marte leaving due to injury, they were even more left-handed as a result. Opposing teams are throwing every left-handed pitcher possible at the Mets given their general struggle to convert against them (they’re hitting .244 against lefties this season) and until those struggles turn around, there’s no reason to expect a different approach against them.
Having said that, the Mets found a way as they so often have in 2022 to figure out how to score the runs they need to score, even if it isn’t pretty at times. They did hit two home runs on Saturday - a solo shot from Pete Alonso which broke an 11 game homer-less streak - and a key go-ahead, two-run home run from Francisco Lindor, both of which came against Marlins left-hander Braxton Garrett. So maybe that’s a positive sign for both players and the Mets in general against southpaws?
We will see.
Still, the margin for error was very thin in this game and Adam Ottavino - who had allowed two runs in his previous 24 appearances - allowed a game-tying solo homer to Aguilar which knotted this thing back up at three and seemingly deflated the energy in the ballpark, given how difficult it has been for the Mets to score lately.
But after the Marlins more or less handed the game to the Mets in the sixth, they literally gave the whole game away in the tenth.
With the Marlins now leading 4-3 and Jon Berti on second base, Tomás Nido threw a seed to Lindor who was covering second. Berti’s momentum pushed him ever so slightly off the bag, Lindor held the tag (he did not push him off, its clear on the replay) and an all-important second run for Miami was erased due to another base running blunder. Colin Holderman retired the Marlins from there.
Then came the bottom of the tenth inning, which ended in an all-too fitting manner for the Mets, given the momentous occasion they celebrated before this wild game.
The first two Mets were retired quietly in the bottom of the tenth - Eduardo Escobar and Luis Guillorme were called out on strikes.
So, there were two outs and the tying run was on second. Sound familiar?
Nido - who saved the Mets cabooses with his incredible throw in the top of the frame - rolled one up the third base line. It was probably going to be a single anyway giving the Mets runners at the corners with two outs, but somehow the ball rolled under Brian Anderson’s glove, allowing Mark Canha (the ghost runner) to score the tying run.
Gift number three?
Then, Brandon Nimmo squibbed a comebacker to Tanner Scott, who bobbled the ball briefly but had picked it up in plenty of time to get Nimmo at first and get this game to the 11th inning.
But, it didn’t turn out that way.
Scott threw the ball about ten feet to the right of first base, allowing Nimmo to reach and Nido to score the winning run.
In a blink of an eye, the Mets went from the throws of defeat to celebrating one of the most unlikely wins anyone will ever see.
Again, sound familiar?
Per the Mets, it’s the first time they’ve won a game on a walk-off error with two outs since Game 6 of the 1986 World Series. Seems fitting on a day the Mets retired Keith Hernandez’s no. 17.
It was an ugly game for sure. But while many might argue the Mets didn’t deserve to win this game, I’d counter that simply in their run prevention ability.
The play by Guillorme to James McCann in the sixth inning changed the entire complexion of the game. If not for that play, perhaps this game never even gets to extra innings.
Which brings me to Nido.
Nido is unquestionably a defense-first catcher, but that defense is elite and that elite defense has been on full display in recent days. He’s thrown out two runners from his knees at second base, none more important than the one he threw out at second base in the tenth inning on Saturday with nobody out and a run already in. Yes, his hit ultimately tied the game for the Mets, but without that throw (and yes, a mistake from Berti), the Mets might not even have a chance in the bottom of the tenth inning.
All told, this was a game the Mets absolutely had to have. They are up against Sandy Alcantara today who deserves to start the All-Star Game for the National League this year, the Braves and Phillies had already won and they’re heading to Atlanta after today’s game for a huge, potentially table-turning series.
In the end, they got it. Sometimes games aren’t won with pitching and/or offense. On Saturday, the Mets won with their defense.
Down on the Farm 🌾
Joe Suozzi (OF/1B, Single-A): 1-for-4, HR, 2 RBI
Nick Dini (C, Triple-A): 1-for-4, 2B, 2 RBI (go-ahead, 8th inning)
Zach Ashford (OF, Double-A): 2-for-4, 2 RBI
Around the League 🚩
The Braves edged the Nationals 4-3 in Atlanta, which kept them 2.5 games behind the Mets n the NL East
The Phillies shutout the Cardinals for the second consecutive game on Saturday - they remain seven games behind the Mets in the NL East
The Red Sox walked off the Yankees in the tenth inning with three runs for a 6-5 win at Fenway Park
Clayton Kershaw struck out ten over 7.2 IP in the Dodgers’ 4-2 over the Cubs
Carlos Rodon fanned 12 in a complete game, 3-1 win for the Giants over the Padres
The Orioles shutout the Angels 1-0 for their seventh win in a row
The Mariners edged the Blue Jays 2-1 thanks to a key two-run home run from Carlos Santana in the seventh inning for their seventh win in a row
The Rays acquired C Christian Bethancourt from the A’s for two minor leaguers, but are likely to lose star rookie Wander Franco to a hamate bone injury