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Mets Series Review: The Final Stretch

Scot Tucker. Shutterstock Images.

The New York Mets go into the final ten days of the regular season holding a one-and-a-half-game lead. They have eight games remaining, while the Braves have nine. The extra game will be on Monday, as Atlanta has a three-game series with the Nationals in Washington. At the same time, the Mets play a quick two-game homestand against the Marlins before the showdown in Atlanta begins on Friday. The Mets won a series in Oakland, with blowouts on Friday and Sunday, but Jacob deGrom had his worst start in five years as he was rattled by Angel Hernandez behind home plate, creating a letdown that prevented the Mets from increasing their lead in the division. 

Chris Bassitt got the pitching assignment in the opener. The Athletics countered with the first of three straight left-handed starters as Cole Irvin was on the mound. The Mets scored their first run in the second inning as Mark Vientos had a bases-loaded single. Following a strikeout by James McCant, the Mets added two runs on a two-out single by Brandon Nimmo. In the fifth inning, the Mets blew the game open on a grand slam by Eduardo Escobar. Vientos added an RBI double for his first multi-RBI and multi-hit game in his career. 

The Mets would add another run on a Jeff McNeil double in the seventh inning. Chris Bassitt, meanwhile, gave the Mets length, pitching eight innings while allowing two runs on six hits. Bassitt only had a pair of strikeouts but was effective and could have gone nine if needed. Drew Smith making his second appearance after missing two months, shut down in order the A's in the ninth, recording one strikeout as the Mets won 9-2. 

On Saturday, the Mets wasted no time taking an early lead. Francisco Lindor had a sac-fly, his 100th RBI of the season. Pete Alonso followed with a two-run home run, making it 3-0 before Jacob deGrom took the mound. Jacob deGrom did not have it on this date as Oakland quickly loaded the bases with a pair of walks. Dermis Garcia hit a fly ball to left that was misjudged by Jeff McNeil, scoring two runs. A ground-out tied the game, while Shea Langeliers gave the Athletics a 4-3 lead. It was the first time that deGrom allowed four runs in the first inning while ending his record 40-game streak of allowing three runs or fewer came to an end. 

Mark Vientos hit his first career home run to tie the game in the second, but Jacob deGrom continued to struggle. Seth Brown hit a home run that gave Oakland the lead in the third, as deGrom pitched four innings, giving up five runs on six hits and four walks, with five strikeouts, dropping to 5-3 on the season. The Mets, meanwhile, could not score another run as the Athletics made several web gems to stop any Mets' rally. The bullpen also faltered, giving up five runs, with the Athletics winning 10-4, as the Mets saw their lead reduced from two and a half to one and a half, giving back the game they gained on Friday. 

The Mets looked to rebound on Sunday with Max Scherzer on the mound. Scherzer pitched around doubles in the first two innings, as the Mets took an early lead on a single by Tyler Naquin in the second inning. Eduardo Escobar delivered a single with the bases loaded in the third to give the Mets a 3-0 lead. The Mets would blow the game open in the fourth inning, as Lindor had a two-run double and Pete Alonso had a two-run home run. The home run by Alonso set a new Mets RBI record with 125, breaking the record shared by David Wright and Mike Piazza. 

Seth Brown homered in the fourth inning to trim the Mets' lead to 7-1. It would be the only blip in a strong game by Max Scherzer, as the Mets' ace pitched six innings, allowing one run on four hits, with seven strikeouts. The Mets poured it on in the eighth inning, scoring five additional runs, as Lindor added an RBI single, while Alonso had a bases-clearing double to raise his total to 128, equaling Aaron Judge for the most in MLB. The Mets added another run in the ninth as Seth Lugo struggled in the final inning, allowing a three-run home run to Conner Capel as the Mets win 13-4. 

The Mets play a brief two-game series with the Marlins, having days off on Monday and Thursday before their showdown in Atlanta. The pitching rotation is set for the three aces, as the Mets hope to beat the Marlins and get just a tiny bit of help from the Nationals.