Mets finish with 101 wins, and a strength may be emerging in the bullpen
The Mets finished with their second-highest single-season win total in franchise history
What’s Up with the Mets? ⚾
The Mets won their final game of the regular season by a score of 9-2 over the Nationals (Box)
The Mets plated three runs in each of the first, second and third innings, getting three-run home runs from both Mark Canha and James McCann and a three-run double from Francisco Lindor
Mychal Givens made a successful return from the COVID-19 injured list with a scoreless inning to start the game, Trevor Williams allowed two runs over six innings, and both Trevor May and Joely Rodríguez shut the door on the regular season with scoreless innings to end the game
Terrance Gore started and got his first hit in three years in a 1-for-3 day at the plate
Jeff McNeil did not play, but finished the season as the Major League’s leading hitter with a .326 average - he is the second Met ever to win a batting title (José Reyes in 2011)
The Mets finished with 101 wins, their second highest total in club history - they had 108 wins in 1986
The Mets swept their seventh series of the season, went 54-27 at home, 36-11-4 in series, 17-5-3 in series at home, 81-16 when scoring first, 89-0 when leading after eight innings, 50-26 against the National League East, 76-5 when scoring five or more runs, and 43-26 after the All-Star Game
The Mets will start RHP Max Scherzer in game one of the National League Wild Card Series, but could hold Jacob deGrom out for either a game three start or a start in game one of the Division Series should they win tomorrow’s game
The Mets and Padres will hold a workout/media session at Citi Field later this afternoon and early evening
Roster Moves 📰
Mychal Givens activated from the injured list
Tylor Megill placed on the injured list
GAME 1 - National League Wild Card Series
Match-Up: San Diego Padres vs. New York Mets
Where: Citi Field — Flushing, New York
When: Friday, October 7, 2022, 8 PM
Starting Pitchers: RHP Max Scherzer (11-5, 2.29 ERA) vs. RHP Yu Darvish (16-8, 3.28 ERA)
Where to Watch: ESPN
A new strength may have emerged for the Mets…📝
Five of the six necessary outcomes took place for the Mets in their long shot attempt to comeback and win the National League East this week.
Of course, as I said all six were necessary and that didn’t happen. The Mets and Braves though finished with identical records (101-61) and in a mathematical tie for first place in the National League East in 2022.
It’s not “first place” because of the rules for the Mets, but nonetheless a 101-61 record is nothing to sneeze at. It’s their second highest single-season win total in franchise history, with only the 1986 World Champion Mets finishing with more wins (108).
The Mets enter the playoffs as the fourth seed in the National League and unquestionably have a treacherous road through October, far more than if they had won the division outright.
They open their playoff run at home tomorrow night at home against the Padres, a team they struggled against in six games during the regular season. The Padres have some arms to throw at the Mets and their program plays into the Mets main offensive weakness as well - they not only have Yu Darvish from the right side, but they have Joe Musgrove and both Sean Manaea and Blake Snell from the left side, all of which can serve as the Mets kryptonite if they’re on their game.
Why? The Mets had a .717 OPS against left-handed pitching in 2022, 39 points lower than that against right-handed pitching. Pete Alonso did post an .836 OPS against southpaws but hit .247/.364/.473 against them compared to .279/.348/.532 against the right side. So you can bet the Padres will look to neutralize Alonso and knock or keep Daniel Vogelbach out of the game at every possible turn this weekend.
On the other hand, there is an area of emergence for the Mets, something the Mets have seemingly been waiting for all year long, and that is their bullpen which has suddenly become a strength for them down the stretch, specifically on the left side of their bullpen.
The Mets have gotten improved performances from Joely Rodríguez over the last month or so - he’s posted a 2.74 ERA over his last 21 appearances. The Mets have also seen David Peterson successfully transition into a relief role, and so suddenly the Mets went from having essentially no reliable options from the left side to two at the right time.
Of course, time will tell if their performances are sustainable but they will indeed be put to the test against Juan Soto and Jake Cronenworth specifically this weekend as a starting point.
In the end, the Mets are going into the postseason with the league’s batting champion, RBI champion, the most productive 3-4 combination in baseball, two of the best starting pitchers in their era at the top, an emerging bullpen with the best closer in baseball, a staff overall with the best strikeout rate in the business and the home crowd all in their favor on Friday. The Padres are no slouch and they did win the season series against the Mets as one of the first to really seriously exploit their weakness against left-handed pitching, but despite their bad weekend this club has a lot of tools in the shed themselves and despite not winning the division, are as formidable a force as there is in the game right now.
The Mets will open the wild card series with Max Scherzer, and it’s actually the smart play for a variety of reasons.
If the Mets win with Scherzer on the mound, the Mets could opt to run Chris Bassitt out in game 2 with a chance to sweep the Padres. If that happens, the Mets could avoid using Jacob deGrom altogether in the wild card round and have him available to start game 1 of the division series on Tuesday in Los Angeles. If they lose game 1 or 2, they’d obviously run deGrom out there in a do-or-die situation and deal with the division series later. But if the gamble works out, the Mets get that reset rotation they were looking for in the division series anyway with deGrom in game 1, Scherzer in game 2 and Bassitt in game 3.
This strategy also nets deGrom some extra rest, which perhaps he might need these days. Since he came back from the injured list, stamina has at least appeared to be an issue for him in-game. After all, he did miss a year with two different injuries to his arm and it’s not that easy to comeback and simply be what he was all-around before all of this happened to him. Getting him at least another day’s rest is good for him and can end up benefitting the club in general if this strategy unfolds the way they’d like it to.
First things first though and that’s winning game one. The long game is over for the Mets - it’s all about each individual moment now, and winning them.
Around the League 🚩
The Royals fired manager Mike Matheny following their 65-97 season in 2022
Mike Trout hit his 350th career home run on Wednesday, but the Angels lost to the A’s 3-2 at the coliseum to finish with a 73-89 record
The Braves lost a slugfest to the Marlins 12-9 in Miami to finish with a 101-61 record, mathematically tied with the Mets for the top spot in the National League East
Luis Arraez secured the American League batting title on Wednesday in the Twins 10-1 rout of the White Sox on the south side of Chicago