The Mets were hammered in their series opener against Miami on Friday night, but quite honestly, nobody really cared. David Wright appearing in a Major League baseball game for the first time since May 27, 2016, easily offset the disappointment of the Amazins’ 8-1 loss, and set the stage for what is sure to be a whirlwind emotional day today.
The game started out well for the Mets, as after Corey Oswalt hurled a scoreless top of the first, Amed Rosario gave the Mets the early lead in the bottom of the frame, singling home Jeff McNeil with an opposite field hit. Unfortunately, that was the highlight of the ballgame for the New York offense.
Oswalt did his part to keep the game on track in the final start of his rookie campaign, keeping the Fish off the board for the first three, but he ran into a patch of difficulty in the fourth. After allowing a pair of singles and a walk to load the bases with one out, Oswalt got the ground ball he needed from Magneuris Sierra, but unfortunately the speedy Marlins right fielder beat the return throw to first to allow the tying run to score. It became clear following that inning that Oswalt was done, and that was when the only real drama of the night unfolded.
It was already known Wright would be the first man off the bench tonight, and with Oswalt due up fifth in the bottom of the fourth inning, the stage was set. The Marlins however, delayed the moment, retiring No. 8 hitter Kevin Plawecki to end the frame and leave the captain in the on deck circle. Temporarily.
Paul Sewald entered for the Mets in the fifth and was unimpressive, surrendering two runs on three hits to the middle of Miami’s lineup, but all the crowd really cared about was the next half inning. Wright emerged from the dugout to a chorus of cheers, and the longtime face of the Mets’ franchise looked visibly nervous as he dug in. His at-bat was short lived, when he hit the first pitch he saw from José Ureña directly on the ground to third, but making an out was far from enough to wipe the smile off No. 5’s face.
After that, the rest of the night went downhill fast for the home team. Drew Gagnon entered for New York in the sixth, and while he only allowed one earned run in what ultimately amounted to 1.2 innings of work, thanks to errors from Todd Frazier and Rosario, the Marlins were able to push five runs across against him, establishing an 8-1 lead that would be the eventual final score.
Tim Peterson pitched very well in the eighth and ninth innings to maybe provide a slimmer of a silver lining at the end, but it’s clear that everyone associated with this team began looking forward to tonight’s contest the minute Wright’s at-bat tonight concluded.
This evening, left hander Steven Matz will make his final start of 2018, but more importantly, Wright will take third base for the final start of his memorable Major League career, and it will be fascinating to see what kind of final moment he can give us.
Photo credit: Wendell Cruz – USA Today Sports