Game One: Mets 24, Phillies 4
Game Two: Phillies 9, Mets 6
Just over two weeks after an epic drubbing by Washington — where they lost by 21 runs on July 31 — the Mets saw things from the other side of the equation as they scored the most runs in franchise history, which included a 10-run fifth inning capped off by a Jose Bautista grand slam.
The lowlight of the afternoon came when Brandon Nimmo took a ball off his hand with the bases loaded in the top of the third. It rolled into fair territory, and the ignominy of a rally-killing dribbler paled in comparison to the sight of Nimmo lying face-down in the batter’s box. This horror show came almost a year to the day after Michael Conforto ended last season on a swing that injured his shoulder. Nimmo came out of the game, and initial reports were that x-rays were negative for a fracture. Given that past reports of a player’s robust health have proven grossly exaggerated (stay off those heels, Yoenis!), Mets fans will be forgiven for still living in dread.
That existential terror aside, the offense exploded for the second game in a row, plating 24 runs on 25 hits, helped by some execrable Philadelphia defense: third baseman Maikel Franco committed two of the Phillies’ four errors. The Mets feasted on the Phillies pitching, both when facing professional pitchers and after Philadelphia skipper (and ice cream enthusiast) Gabe Kapler waved the white flag and sent out position players to toss the final three innings.
Six Mets had at least three hits; Conforto, Amed Rosario and Bautista (who replaced Nimmo in the outfield) homered. Bautista’s seven runs batted in were a franchise record for a player coming off the bench. Kevin Plawecki had another outstanding game, going 4-for-4 with three runs scored and three runs batted in.
Corey Oswalt went six innings for his second win of the season. Thanks to those errors, only half of his counterpart’s eight runs allowed were earned; Ranger Suarez is now 1-1 in two career starts. Jerry Blevins pitched an inning of relief and collected his first major league hit.
In the nightcap, the Ballad of Steven Matz continued its doleful tune. The Mets southpaw lasted two innings, surrendering two home runs and six runs overall (four earned). Zach Eflin pitched 6.2 innings for Philadelphia, allowing four runs and striking out five.
Rosario collected another pair of hits in the second game, and was the bright spot in an otherwise lackluster Mets offense — although, to be fair, six runs is a pretty above-average showing for this year’s Mets team, especially if you ignore the 24 runs they scored a few hours before.
Trailing from Matz’s early exit by as much as six runs over the course of the game, the Mets did mount a rally in the ninth, managing to bring the tying run to the plate to make things interesting. After six-plus hours of baseball and a combined forty-three runs scored, there was only so much interest to go around.
The series continues at Citizens Bank Park at 6:05 p.m. Friday, as Noah Syndergaard (8-2, 3.22) faces Aaron Nola (13-3, 2.28).
Photo credit: Bill Streicher – USA Today Sports