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Oh baby: Mets extend NL East lead on back of blowout win, and some help from Philly
The Mets kicked off their series in Oakland with a blowout victory. Plus, how the road to the NL East title is being paved.
What’s Up with the Mets? ⚾
The Mets blew-out the A’s in their series opener in Oakland, 9-2 (box)
RHP Chris Bassitt cruised all night long, allowing just two runs over eight innings pitched
CF Brandon Nimmo returned to the lineup and went 2-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored
3B Eduardo Escobar connected on the first grand slam of his career, his 19th home run of the season
DH Mark Vientos had his best game in the big leagues, going 2-for-3 with a double, two RBI and a walk
1B/OF Darin Ruf even got a hit, just his third over his last 46 plate appearances
Eight of the nine runs the Mets scored came with two outs, and they went 4-for-12 with runners in scoring position on the night
The Mets are now 46-30 on the road, 59-38 at night, 13-8 in September, 30-21 against left-handed starting pitching, 34-14 in series openers, 18-7 in series openers on the road, 77-13 when scoring first, 85-0 when leading after eight innings, 6-8 against the American League West, 72-5 when scoring five or more runs, and 38-21 since the All-Star Game
SNY broadcaster and former Mets first baseman Keith Hernandez will miss the remainder of the regular season to undergo shoulder surgery
Who’s Hot 🔥
Over his last 14 starts, Chris Bassitt has gone 11-3 with a 2.52 ERA, 3.04 FIP, 70 strikeouts and 20 walks over 89.1 innings pitched
Eduardo Escobar is hitting .337/.391/.663 with four doubles, a triple, seven home runs and 17 RBI in his last 23 games
Pete Alonso recorded his 500th hit and scored runs number 300 and 301 of his career on Friday. He has a .932 OPS with two doubles, five home runs and 15 RBI over his last 16 games
Jeff McNeil now has 16 games in which he has three hits or more in a game. He is hitting .364/.413/.508 with 19 doubles, three home runs and 23 RBI with only 18 strikeouts in his last 52 games
The Pennant Race 🏁
The Mets have clinched a postseason berth (9/19)
NL East lead: 2️⃣.5️⃣ games
Magic Number to win NL East: 9️⃣
Win pace: 1️⃣0️⃣2️⃣
Playoff odds (Fangraphs):
Win the National League East: 86.9 percent ⬆️
Clinch a first round bye: 86.9 percent ⬆️
Win the World Series: 13.1 percent ⬆️
Today’s Game 🗓
Match-up: Mets (96-56) at Athletics (55-96)
Where: Oakland Coliseum — Oakland, CA
Starters: RHP Jacob deGrom (5-2, 2.32 ERA) vs. LHP Ken Waldichuk (0-2, 7.13 ERA)
When: 4:07 PM EDT
Where to Watch: SNY
The road to the NL East crown is being paved… 📝
The sound you’re hearing right now? That’s a collective exhale.
Not only have the Mets been taking care of their own business lately, winning seven of their last eight games following a 9-2 blowout win in Oakland on Friday, but they’re also getting support elsewhere. That’s right, after months of being chased down by a team on a win-pace that would make the greatest regular season team in baseball history blush, the Mets are finally receiving something they hadn’t gotten in what feels like an eternity: Help.
The once unstoppable Braves, a team that went from being impossibly hot to seemingly inevitable to overtake the Mets, have been significantly more stoppable of late, really for the first time since April and May. After ripping off a torrid 56-21 stretch from June 1st through late August, Atlanta has been far more mortal recently as they’re 14-10 over their last 24 games and 6-7 over their last 13.
Who would’ve thought the Phillies, the same team Mets fans cursed at themselves for rooting for after getting swept last weekend in Atlanta, would prove to be so helpful? Over the last two days, Philadelphia has outscored the Braves 12-1, winning each of the first two games of their four-game set.
And with that, for the first time in weeks, the Mets have been able to gain some meaningful ground on their NL East foes. Over the last two days alone, the Mets have grown their lead to 2.5 games over the Braves – an increase of a game-and-a-half. They’ve also reduced their magic number by four games since Wednesday night, which now stands in single digits at nine.
After weeks of worrying and dreading a potential Braves takeover of first place (their only stay in first lasted an entirety of one day with a short-lived half-game lead over the Mets on September 9th), the road to a National League East championship seems to be as clear as it’s been in a long time.
If the Mets can take care of business over the rest of this weekend against the second worst team in the league and sweep the A’s, they’d reduce their magic number to seven going into their off-day on Monday. If Philadelphia can continue to help New York out, that number could get sliced down even further to six or, dare I say, five games.
Following their off-day the Mets play a two-game set with the Marlins, a pair of games they should be expected to win, and then go into one final off-day before their big showdown in Atlanta next weekend. At this stage in the game, it is more than possible that the Mets could walk into Atlanta with a magic number of four or five, perhaps even less. That puts this team in an incredibly advantageous position where they don’t even need to win that series to claim the division.
Another big factor to consider here: If the Mets win one game in Atlanta, their magic number would reduce by three games in one foul swoop. Normally in head-to-head match-ups a win would slice the magic number down by two, but because Game 163s have been eliminated, one win by the Mets would give them the season tiebreaker over the Braves and take an extra game off of their magic number. Atlanta would then have to pass the Mets to win the NL East; if they finished tied, New York would still be crowned as division champs. If the Mets were to win any additional games vs the Braves after that, the magic number would go back to reducing by two for every win.
This means that as long as the Mets don’t fall apart over the next few days, they could theoretically lose two-of-three to the Braves and still walk out of Atlanta only needing to win one or two games against the last place Nationals on the final weekend. And if the Braves continue to get tripped up over their next few games, the Mets might not even need to do that.
Now, this thing certainly isn’t over yet. In a pennant race things can turn on a dime and whose to say that Atlanta won’t immediately right the ship tomorrow and rip off five straight wins headed into next weekend’s series. Regardless, for the first time in a long time, Mets fans have been able to exhale when looking at the standings.
The road to the NL East crown is there — now they just have to take it.
Down on the Farm 🌾
Dom Smith (1B, Triple-A): 1-for-2, HR (10), 2 RBI, 3 BB
Jake Mangum (CF, Triple-A): 2-for-4, 2 RBI, run scored
Bryce Montes de Oca (RHP, Triple-A): 1.2 IP, H, 0 ER, BB, K (win)
Box Scores: Triple-A
Around the League 🚩
The Phillies blitzkrieged the Braves with an emphatic 9-1 victory in Philadelphia - it was Atlanta’s third loss in a row dropping them 2.5 games behind the Mets for the lead in the NL East
Cardinals DH Albert Pujols connected on the 699th and 700th home runs of his career vs the Dodgers, becoming just the fourth player in baseball history to reach the 700-homer mark
Angels RHP/DH Shohei Ohtani hit the 200 strikeout mark as a pitcher for the first time in his career in the club’s 4-2 victory over the Twins
The Yankees won their fifth straight game, but OF Aaron Judge will have to wait another day to set the franchise single-season home run record
The Brewers came from behind and clipped the Reds 5-3 in Cincinnati to pull to within two games of the third Wild Card spot on the Padres, who lost 4-3 to the Rockies in Denver in 10 innings
The Orioles pulled back to within three games of the Mariners for the final Wild Card spot in the American League with a 6-0 shutout of the Astros in Baltimore, while Seattle lost to the Royals 5-1 at Kaufman Stadium