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Mets stars shine bright in Game 2 to save their season, force winner-take-all bout
Jacob deGrom guts out six innings and the Mets get home runs from Alonso and Lindor to force a Game 3. Plus, what to expect entering a do-or-die game on Sunday.
What’s Up with the Mets? 🚩
The Mets bounced back with their backs against the wall, defeating the Padres 7-3 in Game 2 of the NL Wild Card Series (box)
RHP Jacob deGrom allowed two runs over six innings pitched with eight strikeouts
SS Francisco Lindor and 1B Pete Alonso each hit their first home runs of the 2022 postseason to jumpstart the club’s offense
2B Jeff McNeil delivered with a clutch two-run double with the bases loaded to help break the game open in the 7th inning
New York’s offense went 3-for-10 (.300) with runners in scoring position after going just 1-for-11 (.090) in Game 1 of the series
RHP Edwin Díaz came into the game in the 7th inning and to record three outs, then came back to start the 8th after sitting for nearly 45 minutes and the club expanded their lead to 7-2
RHPs Adam Ottavino and Seth Lugo combined to close the game out in relief of Díaz in the 8th and 9th innings
The Mets are now 5-5 all-time in postseason games played at Citi Field
Tonight, New York will play in their first winner-take-all game since the 2016 NL Wild Card Game and advance to their first NLDS since 2015
Roster Moves 📰
Joely Rodriguez (shoulder) has been removed from the playoff roster. He will be eligible to return if the Mets advance to the National League Championship Series
Taijuan Walker has been added to the playoff roster
Match-up: Mets (1-1) vs Padres (1-1)
Where: Citi Field — Flushing, New York
Starters: RHP Chris Bassitt (15-9, 3.42 ERA) vs. RHP Joe Musgrove (10-7, 2.93 ERA)
When: 7:07 PM EDT
Where to Watch: ESPN
Recaps: Gm 1 (L, 7-1)
Moment of the Night ⭐
Who’s Hot 🔥
Jacob deGrom is now 4-1 with a 2.90 ERA, 37 strikeouts, 10 walks and a 1.161 WHIP in five career postseason starts
Francisco Lindor connected on the sixth postseason home run of his career and now has a .817 OPS over 27 playoff games
How the Mets stars and a return to form for the lineup forced a decisive Game 3… 📝
With their backs against the wall, facing the brink of their 2022 season, the New York Mets reminded us who they were and why we fell in love with them over the course of this year.
Dating back to their NL East-deciding series in Atlanta last weekend, the Mets had effectively played four playoff games over the past week – and they’d lost them all. Despite having their pitching lined up the way they wanted Jacob deGrom, Max Scherzer and Chris Bassitt didn’t perform up to their expectations or capabilities, pitching to an 8.68 ERA while allowing 10 home runs in 18.2 innings. On top of that, the offense has also gone ice cold, averaging just 2 runs per game over those four.
It had appeared that the pressure of the moment had gotten to this club that had gone most of the regular season looking like one of the best teams in all of baseball. While there are plenty of veterans with postseason experience on the roster in deGrom, Scherzer and Francisco Lindor, there are also plenty of players who had never been in situations like this in their careers.
Suddenly this 101-win team was up against the wall, a single loss away from their once-promising season being cast asunder with little hope in sight.
On Saturday night, however, everything changed…
After they’d been let down by their highest profile players in the games prior, the Mets were led by their stars in Game 2 of the NL Wild Card Series, propelling them to a victory to breathe new life into their season. Francisco Lindor delivered the keynote of the evening, blasting a solo shot with two outs in the bottom of the first inning to give New York an early lead that they desperately needed. For Lindor it his first extra-base hit and RBI in any of these “big games” from the past week, and was the sixth postseason home run of his career.
And while Jacob deGrom did not have his A-plus stuff (he did give back a pair of one-run leads early in the game), he wound up gutting out a victory that was incredibly reminiscent to his greatest personal playoff triumph — Game 5 of the 2015 NLDS.
In fact, here are his lines from both of those starts…
Game 5, 2015 NLDS: 6 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 7 K
Game 2, 2022 NLWS: 6 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 8K
Not to be outdone, Pete Alonso was ready for the first postseason moment of his young career, blasting a go-ahead home run well over the fence in left field in the bottom of the 5th inning, giving the Mets their third one-run lead of the night.
This time, though, it would not be relinquished as deGrom ratcheted down in his sixth and final inning of work by retiring the Padres in order, finally giving the club the shutdown inning they needed and capping off his night in a strong way.
The entire lineup really had a return to form in this game, as well, going back to the grind-it-out, wear-them-down offense that we’d seen for so many stretches throughout this season but had been sorely missing of late. And while they did strand several baserunners early on in the night, the offense kept pushing and finally broke through in both the 5th and 7th innings as the club got three huge hits with runners in scoring position to drive home four runs, and tacked on a fifth with a Daniel Vogelbach sacrifice fly.
It was the kind of rally and situational hitting that so many fans had come accustomed to over the course of this season, and it reminded everyone of what this lineup can accomplish when they’re clicking on all cylinders.
Even more importantly — aside from the fact that they staved off elimination, of course — is that maybe this finally allows this team a moment to exhale. After those games in Atlanta and the opener of this series, it was fairly evident that the hitters were gripping their bats a little tighter, the pitchers doing the same with the ball on the mound, as they struggled to live up to the pressure.
Perhaps their break-through last night, both on the mound and at the dish, is the very thing that will remind this team of how good they are, and bring back that level of swagger and confidence they’d had for much of this year going into a decisive Game 3 later this evening.
This team will certainly be tested once again, as the Padres are not likely to be an easy out, but if they can build on their success from Saturday night, they’ve got a real shot to extend their season even more.
Maybe all it took for this team to wake up was being put into a win-or-go-home situation. Go figure.
The October Chase 🏆
The Mariners overcame an 8-1 deficit to sweep the Blue Jays 10-9 in Toronto and move on to the ALDS against the Astros
Guardians RF Oscar Gonzalez smashed a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 15th inning for the game’s only run, which sent Cleveland to the ALDS where they will face the Yankees
The Phillies became the third team to sweep the Wild Card Series this weekend, blanking the Cardinals by a score of 2-0 on the back of a scoreless start by RHP Aaron Nola, and will face the Braves in the NLDS