Mets Series Review: Benefiting From Others
The New York Mets won a series in Miami and gained a game on the Braves but struggled in the clutch, going an unacceptable 4-for-24 with Runners in Scoring Position as Eduardo "Ezout" Escobar continued to struggle. The Mets instead won two of three thanks to solid pitching and the sloppy and sometimes lackadaisical play of the Marlins, who had to be discouraged as LoanDepot Park often sounded like Citi Field as Mets fans outnumbered the Marlins fans.
The Mets got bad news before the series began as Max Scherzer suffered a setback, needing him to make at least one more rehab start in Binghamton. The Mets also did not have Jeff McNeil for the series as he continued to rest a tight hamstring. The odds looked stacked against the Mets in the opener as they faced Sandy Alcantara for the second time during the week. Alcantara started the game that the Mets lost five days earlier. The Mets got a run in the first inning on a home run by Francisco Lindor. The Marlins quickly answered as Taijuan Walker was rocked in the first inning. Walker limited the damage by picking off John Berti and getting an inning-ending double-play.
Mark Canha homered in the fifth, only to have the Marlins answer again. However, despite twice squandering the lead, Taijuan Walker made it into the seventh inning, giving up three runs on eight hits while striking out five. The Mets would get Walker the lead again in the sixth inning, scoring three runs as they benefited from sloppy play from the Marlins. After an infield hit by Tomas Nido and a bunt hit by Brandon Nimmo, Starling Marte hit a grounder to Williams Astudillo, who had come in for Jazz Chisholm Jr. who left the game with back tightness. Astudillo tried to turn a double play at second but messed up royally. His tag on Nimmo was without the ball in his glove, and his throw to first base was late. Both players were called out at first, but after a replay, the Mets had the bases loaded. Alcantra was clearly rattled and gave up a ringing double to Lindor to clear the bases and give the Mets a 5-2 lead.
After Taijuan Walker gave up a leadoff hit to Jacob Stallings in the seventh inning, Drew Smith came on to pitch and could not find the plate. Smith walked three batters and forced in a run before Adam Ottavino came on and nearly gave up a grand slam, but Jesus Aguilar's blast died in the glove of Brandon Nimmo in center. Ottavino pitched a perfect eight, as Edwin Diaz recorded his 15th save, despite being somewhat shaky as Nido was able to catch John Berti trying to steal second, closing a 5-3 win.
The Mets had Chris Bassitt on the hill on Saturday and took a 3-0 lead. Pete Alonso homered in the second, and the Mets scratched across two runs in the fourth. However, Miami rallied to tie the game with home runs from Jesus Sanchez and Bryan De La Cruz. The Mets had their chance to answer, loaded the bases, and chased Marlins starter, Trevor Rogers. However, Zach Pop got Alonso to pop up and struck out Mark Canha.
Chris Bassitt gave the Mets seven innings, allowing three runs on six hits, with five strikeouts. He would get the win as Pete Alonso homered off Jimmy Yacabonis, who struck out three batters for the second straight game. The Mets added an insurance run in the ninth as Edwin Diaz struck out the side for his 16th save, with the Mets winning 5-3.
Looking for the sweep, the Mets had David Peterson on the mound on Sunday as they played at high noon on Peacock. Peterson struggled in the first, allowing a run as John Berti had a leadoff double. The Mets had leadoff doubles in the first two innings but failed to score as they went 0-for-6 in the first two innings with runners in scoring position. In the third inning, Brandon Nimmo tied the game with a home run, as Starling Marte doubled and scored on a bloop double from Alonso to give the Mets a 2-1 lead. However, Miguel Rojas quickly tied the game with a home run.
The Mets offense sputtered the remainder of the game as Daniel Castano allowed two runs on five hits in seven innings with four strikeouts. Peterson was just as sharp, allowing two runs on four hits with eight strikeouts. The Mets' offense continued to look feeble against Scott Okert and Tanner Scott, who held them hitless in the eighth and ninth. After Tommy Hunter pitched the eighth, Adam Ottavino got the ninth and was hit hard, giving up a long fly to Garrett Cooper and a line drive to Jesus Aguiler, which Luis Guillerome somehow caught. Still with two outs, Ottavino was not as fortunate a third time as Nick Fortes hit a walk-off home run to win the game for the Marlins 3-2.
The Mets gained a game over the weekend, as the Braves lost two of three to the Los Angeles Dodgers, blowing a 2-0 lead with two outs in the ninth inning on Sunday night. The Mets are off Monday and host the Astros in a two-game series on Tuesday. Hopefully, Jeff McNeil can return as the Mets' offense clearly misses him.