Looking at this game, what’s the hook? Why should you, the viewer, care about a bad team playing a mediocre team with two nondescript starters on the mound? These are the sort of questions I spend 15 minutes staring at a blank document debating at this point in the season.
Anyway, Steven Matz got the start against Chris Stratton. Matz is still on a pitch count after his stint on the disabled list and the Mets burned most of their bullpen Monday in their 13-inning loss, so that has the potential to be a disaster. At least it can’t get any worse then a dropped pop up that drives in the game-deciding run.
Matz’s evening did not get off to a stellar start. Andrew McCutchen walked to lead off the game and Evan Longoria launched a ball into the left field seats two batters later to give the Giants a quick 2-0 lead. Matz rebounded very nicely, however, setting down the next 12 Giants before allowing a one-out double to Gorkys Hernandez in the top of the fifth. Hernandez didn’t get any further, inducing a ground out and striking out Chris Stratton. It was an excellent, albeit short start, as Matz struck out five and allowed only two hits and one walk.
As has become tradition at this point, the Mets simply refused to score for their starter. Jeff McNeil and Wilmer Flores had singles in the bottom of the first, but a double play off the bat of Michael Conforto ended that threat. The Mets didn’t manage another hit until the fourth, on another McNeil single, and he was thrown out trying to steal second. Corey Oswalt, pitching in relief of Matz, didn’t get any help either, as the Mets again went down in order in the bottom of the sixth.
McNeil came through again in the seventh with another single, and this time the rest of the lineup got their act together. A double, sacrifice fly and an RBI single later, and the game was tied at two. In the eighth, McNeil struck again with an RBI double to give the Mets a 3-2 lead. After an intentional walk to Flores, Conforto lined an opposite field, three-run home run to put the game out of reach. Oswalt, who was brilliant in three innings of relief after being booted from the starting rotation, was rewarded, and Matz was off the hook.
Seth Lugo entered for the ninth and worked around singles from Evan Longoria and Austin Slater (the latter of which clanked off of Jose Bautista’s glove and should’ve been an error) to close out a 6-3 win. Fittingly, the final out was a ground ball to McNeil, who was very easily the start of the game. The win improves the Mets to 55-70 on the season, and Noah Syndergaard will take the mound tonight.
Thoughts from the Game
McNeil is incredible and should 100% be the starting second baseman for the Mets next season. He’s now batting .318/.381/.455 on the season with two home runs in 99 PA, consistently making good contact and rarely swinging and missing. I’m not the first to make this comp, but he resembles an early-career Daniel Murphy in many ways, except McNeil is an actually competent second baseman. Every time he loses a start to Jose Reyes down the stretch is an insult to the team.
We got another extended rant from GKR about the shift in this one, after Zack Wheeler complained about a shift leading to a run-scoring bloop single in last night’s game. This time around, Ron kept talking about how “feel for the game” should change the shift at certain times, while also admitting to understanding and supporting the idea of playing the percentages. It’s an impressive bit of cognitive dissonance in order to get in a “back in my day” bit.
Other Mets News
Not much happening in Met land right now. David Wright finally broke through with two hits yesterday and had another hit today as he continues to rehab in St. Lucie. Jay Bruce has three hits of his own, and is probably pretty close to a return.
Photo credit: Noah K. Murray – USA Today Sports