Mets Series Review: Joy and Pain
The New York Mets won a series for the tenth time, winning three of four against the St. Louis Cardinals. However, the joy was dampened as Max Scherzer suffered an oblique that will sideline him for the foreseeable future. This is how it always happens to the Mets; they play well, but the worst training and medical staff in the history of sports can not keep the team healthy, and it crumbles into oblivion.
The series began with a rainout, the fourth of the season on Monday, as forecasted thunderstorms led the Mets to decide to play a doubleheader on Tuesday. With Tylor Megill out, the Mets were forced to play a bullpen game in the open as Trevor Williams got the start. Williams was outstanding, allowing four runs on four hits in four innings while striking out six. Miles Mikolas, the Cardinals' top pitcher in 2022, started for St. Louis and had his worst outing of the season. Mikolas allowed three runs on seven hits while pitching six innings.
The Mets still need five more innings as Trevor Williams was limited to four innings. Jake Reed making his season debut, came on to pitch in the fifth inning and fought through early wildness for two solid innings, striking out a pair. Seth Lugo was perfect in the seventh, while Nolan Arenado hit a home run off Drew Smith in the eighth to cut the Mets' lead to 3-1. It was time for trumpets in the ninth inning as Edwin Diaz blew away the first two hitters before Tyler O'Neill had a single to left. Diaz ended the game after a walk to Brendan Donovan by striking out Harrison Bader.
Game 2 had turncoat Steven Matz on the mound for the Cardinals, while Taijuan Walker started for the Mets. Mark Canha got the Mets an early lead with a first-inning home run. The lead stood until the fourth inning when Paul Goldschmidt, who had a monster series, hit a game-tying double. Eduardo Escobar, who has been atrocious, ran into a home run to give the Mets a lead again, but the Cardinals scored a pair of runs in the fifth to take a 3-2 lead.
In the eighth inning, Eduardo Escobar struck out but reached base on a passed ball; this enabled the Mets to tie the game on a single by Jeff McNeil. However, Tomas Nido had a passed ball of his own in the ninth that led the Cardinals to regain the lead when Escobar failed to make the play on Tyler O'Neill's check-swing grounder with two outs. The Cardinals would hold on to win the game 4-3.
Wednesday was Scherzer Day, as the Mets' ace made what could be his final start of the season because Mets injuries consistently linger three times longer and end up lasting forever fore-evvvver. The game started well as Jeff McNeil gave the Mets a 2-0 lead, benefiting from the wildness of Jordan Hicks. The Cardinals answered with two in the second as Albert Pujols ripped a ball down the first-base line. Jake Walsh came into pitch for St. Louis in the fifth, and did not retire a batter as the Mets erupted for four runs, capped by a perfect squeeze bunt from Luis Guillorme.
The Mets were cruising up 6-2 when disaster struck. Facing Pujols with two outs, Scherzer felt a pop and removed himself from the game. A gloom fell over Citi Field as everyone knew it would be a long time before he pitches again. Adam Ottavino retired Pujols and pitched a perfect seventh, while Nolan Arenado hit a two-run bomb off Seth Lugo. The lead was just 6-4, as a sense of dread began to settle in. The Mets would pad the lead with five runs, including a bomb off the bat of Pete Alonso, but the Scherzer injury news was the headline after the 11-4 win. Max Scherzer would get an MRI revealing a severe oblique strain, meaning he will likely miss two months.
With news of Max Scherzer's MRI casting a gloomy pall over Citi Field, the Mets had Chris Bassitt on the mound for the finale, looking for the series win. The Mets got two runs in the first, with Pete Alonso driving in a run with a single and Jeff McNeil getting one in with an RBI grounder, following a successful double steal by Alonso and Francisco Lindor. Bassitt was not at his best, giving up home runs to Juan Yepez and Paul Goldschmidt to tie the game.
In the fifth, the Cardinals grabbed the lead with a double from Goldschmidt, but the Mets answered right away, scoring three runs, with Jeff McNeil again playing a role with a two-run single. Chris Bassitt gutted into the seventh inning, allowing four runs on nine hits, with three strikeouts. Drew Smith entered the game as McNeil made a thrilling catch against Goldschmidt on the wall in foul territory in left field. An inherited runner scored, but McNeil threw to second, nailing Brendan Donovan, who tried to tag up behind the play.
In the ninth inning, Edwin Diaz came on as Harrison Bader reached base on a cheap infield single. Bader stole second and advanced to third on a groundout. Paul Goldschmidt came to the plate after a strikeout and walk as Diaz looked for the save. Like their loss Tuesday, Eduardo Escobar, who has been beyond awful at the plate, made another error, allowing the game to be tied. The game went into the tenth as Chris Holderman was the Mets' best option for a beleaguered bullpen. Holderman did the job allowing just one run after a lead-off hit, as the ghost runner scored on a double play off the bat of Albert Pujols.
Down 6-5, the Mets faced a long flight to Denver, with a loss and the bad news of Max Scherzer. Cardinals closer Giovanny Gallegos was on the mound and facing Pete Alonso. With one swing of the bat, Alonso saved the day by hitting a ball into the restaurant in a ball that sounded like thunder off the bat.
Following the Mets' 7-6 win, they have a record of 26-14, their best 40-game record since 1988, which was the last time the Mets won 100 games. However, with now three starters on the injured list, it will be challenging to maintain that start, especially with a brutal 31-game stretch against top-level teams, including two trips to California. The Mets will be in Colorado this weekend, fighting snow and the Rockies, as Friday's game will likely be postponed, meaning another doubleheader for the Mets.