Not even the exclusive weather forecaster could screw this up.
The first game of Tuesday’s double header featured an early Dom Smith home run, but the Phillies crawled back to relevance with an Andrew Knapp sac fly scoring Alec Bohm (who I’m sure actually touched the plate this time), and an infield single in the sixth as Luis Guillorme’s throw to first for the third out was just a tick late to get Didi Gregorius. (Gare was wondering why Guillorme didn’t barehand the ball instead of scooping it up with his glove, but I didn’t mind him giving himself a chance with the throw instead of relying on the 50/50 chance at a barehand.)
Also notable was Jose Alvarado who threw towards Michael Conforto’s head twice in the 6th and hitting him once,which prompted chirps from the Mets bench. I thought it was the Marlins who were going to plunk him after the home opener. Did they call the Phillies and ask for a solid? Also, the boxscore has both of Alvarado’s pitches to Conforto as sinkers. One hundred mile per hour sinkers … that were shoulder high. First off, LOL. Second, why is a pitcher with a 100 mph sinker not closing for this team?
The game went into extra innings, which in Rob Manfred’s world means the 8th inning during a doubleheader. (Editor’s Note: Taijuan Walker started and went 4 and 1/3. giving up three hits, three walks, and a run. I know it wouldn’t have mattered for thsi game, but for seven inning games, why does the starter still have to go five for a win? Get on this, commish.) After James McCann’s passed ball sent runners to second and third, Didi Gregorius’ single to the left side of the infield brought home the go-ahead run to make it 3-2. Francisco Lindor was on the second base side of the bag and couldn’t get to the ball in time, and now we know why Lindor hates the shift.
But Lindor was the extra runner on second to start the bottom of the eighth as a new rule states that a team does not have to use the pitcher or the pitcher’s spot to run at second base. Pete Alonso promptly drove him home with a single to make it 3-3. Then the Mets loaded the bases with a walk and an infield single to bring up Jonathan Villar. Now Villar was in the game to pinch run for Luis Guillorme in the 7th, and even though he didn’t score, Villar’s speed made him the play to pinch run for Guillorme. But now he was at the plate with the bases loaded and a chance to win the game, and I was fully prepared for his free swinging ways to frustrate me as they’ve done so far this season.
But Villar put together a really good at-bat, as he was greeted by four straight splitters by Hector Neris, two of which he spit on to make the count 2-2. Villar then spit on a fastball for a full count before getting a high and outside fastball to stroke to left field to drive home the winner and bring the Mets to .500. That’s the kind of at-bat that can really make Villar a key component to this team, and hopefully he can give the Mets more at-bats like that because, as my friend tells me, this walk-off is going to keep him in the lineup for three weeks.
It kept him in the lineup for Game 2 of the DH at the very least, and he doubled home the first run of the game to give the Mets a 1-0 lead in the 4th, which was quickly followed by a Brandon Nimmo single with the bases loaded to make it 3-0. Nimmo also drove in the fourth run of the game with an infield single.
But Game 2 was all about the Stro Show. Marcus Stroman, after it was originally reported that he would stay on his rotation after the botched start on Sunday, decided to pitch Game 2 and was brilliant. He went six innings, giving up four hits and not walking anybody, getting grounder after grounder to confound the Phillies into submission. He made a 1-0 game feel like it was 8-0 and the Phillies never had a chance. And this was with Aaron Nola on the other side. Stroman probably goes the whole way if he didn’t have to spend an hour on the bases in the sixth, but thankfully Jeurys Familia closed it out for the sweep.)
Marcus’ passion and energy (the kids call it “swag”) evokes a little of that 1986 feel, doesn’t it? Now we are a long, long way from comparing this team to the revered Mets of 1986. And I half-jokingly noted that both teams went 2-3 to start the season, prompting panic in both cases. Big deal, right? But this season, 2-3 was followed by two rainouts and two wins at home against Philadelphia. And in 1986 after losing a 13 inning game against the Cardinals, the Mets dealt with three rainouts/off days and resumed play at home against Philadelphia, where they won the first two games at home against the Phillies.
And then the next nine.
Hey, it doesn’t hurt to have goals.
Today’s Hate List
- This one is easy.
- Whichever fans at Citi Field decided that it was a good idea …
- … to do a Yankee style “roll call”.
- Ummm …