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Mets win second straight vs Pirates, Vogelbach heating up, and remembering John Stearns
Taijuan Walker pitches into the 8th as the Mets hang on vs the Pirates on the day they lose their former catcher John Stearns. Plus, is Daniel Vogelbach starting to heat up?
What’s Up with the Mets? ⚾️
The Mets managed to hang on and win their second straight game vs the Pirates, this time by a 4-3 score (box)
RHP Taijuan Walker had one of his best starts of the season, allowing three runs (two earned) over 7.1 innings pitched
DH Daniel Vogelbach hit a solo home run (17), his first since August 22nd
RHP Edwin Díaz converted on his first save opportunity over the club’s last 12 games, recording five outs in the process
The Mets are now 73-13 when scoring first, and are 80-0 when leading after eight innings this season
New York won their 91st game, their most in a regular season since 2006
The Braves came back to beat the Phillies, keeping the Mets lead in the NL East at a single game
Remembering John Stearns
On Friday, the club announced that former catcher John Stearns passed away at the age of 71 after a long battle with cancer.
Stearns played for the Mets from 1975 through 1984, compiling an 18.9 fWAR and making four All-Star teams in that time span. Stearns was also on the club’s coaching staff from 2000-2001 under manager Bobby Valentine.
“I am heartbroken,” former teammate Lee Mazzili said. “John was just a joy to be around. He loved the game so much.”
Stearns was seen at Citi Field as recently as last month when he participated in batting practice for the club’s first Old Timers’ Day since 1994.
Injury Updates 🏥
RHP Drew Smith (strained right lat) will in his second game of a back-to-back in Double-A later today and could rejoin the club after if all goes well
LHP Joey Lucchesi (recovering from Tommy John surgery): 2.2 IP, H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K in Triple-A rehab assignment
RHP Tylor Megill (right shoulder strain): IP, 2 H, ER, BB, K in Triple-A rehab assignment
Who’s Hot 🔥
Over his last two starts, Taijuan Walker has gone 2-0 while allowing just three earned runs and zero walks over 14.1 innings pitched
Since blowing his last save on May 24th, Edwin Díaz is 20-for-20 in save opportunities with a 0.71 ERA, 0.03 FIP and 73 strikeouts over 38 innings pitched
The Pennant Race 🏁
NL East lead: 1️⃣ game
Magic Number to win NL East: 1️⃣7️⃣
Playoff odds (Fangraphs):
Win the National League East: 67.9 percent ⬇️
Clinch a first round bye: 67.9 percent ⬇️
Win the World Series: 17.0 percent ⬇️
Today’s Game 🗓
Match-up: Mets (91-55) vs Pirates (55-90)
Where: Citi Field — Flushing, New York
Starters: RHP Chris Bassitt (13-8, 3.44 ERA) vs. RHP Bryse Wilson (3-8, 6.03 ERA)
When: 7:10 PM EDT
Where to Watch: SNY
Bringing Vogey Bach? 📝
Houston, we have signs of life.
Maybe not from the Mets offense as a whole, who scratched out four runs and went 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position to edge out the Pirates on Friday night, but from one of their key contributors who’s been missing in action over the last few weeks.
In the 4th inning of last night’s game with New York holding a slim 1-0 lead, Daniel Vogelbach connected on a long home run to deep left-center field, his 17th of the season. The long ball was Vogelbach’s first in 18 games when he blasted a two-run shot at Yankee Stadium on August 22nd.
It was the latest recent sign that perhaps one of the Mets’ designated hitters was finally starting to pick themselves back up.
When he was first acquired by the Mets prior to the trade deadline, Vogelbach performed like a bat out of Hell, hitting .341/.473/.568 with two home runs, four doubles, 10 RBI, 10 walks, six runs scored and a 1.041 OPS over his first 15 games with the club. Things quickly fell off for the team’s new slugger, however, as he suffered a hamstring injury that likely acted as an instant hindrance to Vogelbach’s performance. Over his next 24 games, Vogelbach hit just .145/.284/.290 with two home runs, three doubles, six RBI, 20 strikeouts and a .574 OPS.
Between the recent struggles of Vogelbach and the massive slump Darin Ruf has gone through ever since being acquired, the Mets have gotten virtually nothing out of the DH spot in their lineup over the last month, harkening back to the days of Dominic Smith and JD Davis at the position.
And while there appear to be zero signs that Ruf is going to come out of his second-half malaise anytime soon, Vogelbach is starting to give Mets fans a reason to believe in him. Over his last five games, the left-hander is 5-for-his-last-14 (.357) with a home run, double, four RBI and three walks.
Yeah, it’s a pretty minimal sample size against lackluster competition but at this point, with the way that spot in the lineup has been performing and the overall struggles of this lineup (the Mets scored just six runs in three games prior to the start of this series), this team will take any positive signs on the offensive side.
If Vogelbach can keep this going and become more of the hitter this team got a taste of before injuring his hamstring, that could prove to be big in the final 16 games of this pennant race.
Down on the Farm 🌾
Daniel Palka (1B, Triple-A): 1-for-4, HR (26), 4 RBI
Ronny Mauricio (SS, No. 6 prospect, Double-A): 3-for-4, HR (26), 3B, 5 RBI, 2 runs scored
Junior Santos (RHP, No. 16 prospect, Single-A): 4.2 IP, 6 H, 5 ER, 3 BB, 4 K (loss)
Around the League 🚩
The Braves, trailing 2-1, scored six runs in the 8th inning to defeat the Phillies in Atlanta
Astros DH Yordan Alvarez blasted three home runs as the club defeated the Oakland A’s to clinch a postseason berth
The Guardians staged a three-run rally in the 7th inning before scoring the game-winning run in the 8th on a wild pitch to move five games ahead of the Twins in the loss column
The Yankees blew an early 5-0 lead in Milwaukee and lost 7-6 on a walk-off hit by Garrett Mitchell