So Rich Hill (who a friend of mine dubbed “Eddie Harris” tonight) gave the Mets his best start in the “New York” road grays tonight. Six shutout innings against the Nationals which included getting Juan Soto out three times by dropping down to the Mike Myers Laredo motion and absolutely confusing him. It almost makes you think that every Mets pitcher should just throw lefty whenever they face Soto. Never done it in your life? Doesn’t matter. Soto will swing and miss. Too bad Edwin Diaz didn’t know how to throw side-arm lefty, but more on that later.
Michael Conforto drove home a run with a single in the second, and then Pete Alonso’s bloop triple to right, which Soto ran forever for as it hung up in the air but he just couldn’t get to it, drove home another run to make it 2-0, and that’s how it would stay until the bottom of the 9th. The Mets had chances to extend the lead, but Francisco Lindor and Alonso both struck out on high fastballs with runners on second and third in the 7th, and Lindor had a chance with runners on first and second in the 9th but he grounded out to short. That set up the bottom of the 9th.
Edwin Diaz came in, as you would expect. Soto saw a lot of sliders and curves from Rich Hill, but Diaz threw him a running fastball that Soto tucked into the left field corner for an oppo taco to make it 2-1. Then after striking out Josh Bell, he walked Ryan Zimmerman on four pitches to bring up Riley Adams. Adams then hit a line drive to right center that Brandon Nimmo couldn’t catch up to. Andrew Stevenson, pinch running for Zimmerman, charged home on the play, and the relay from Javy Báez was up the line, but caught by Chance Sisco. However ball met glove at the exact same time that Stevenson met Sisco, the ball popped out and Stevenson scored to tie the game. (Editor’s note: To add insult to injury, at the exact same moment that the Nats made it 2-2, Austin Riley’s single tied the game for the Braves at 3-3 against Colorado.)
Two things here: First, walks will kill you. The home run was one thing, as Soto is just a hitting machine. But walking the tying run is a mortal sin, and it cost Diaz. Also, if you have expanded rosters, there’s no reason that Albert Almora shouldn’t have been in the game for defense in the bottom of the 9th. Nimmo was going to be up 8th in the 10th. Maybe Almora gets to the ball that Nimmo couldn’t get to. Why do we have Almora up if he’s not going to be in the game playing defense in the bottom of the 9th with the closer on the mound?
But it was apparent that Diaz, Rojas, and the rest of the Mets just wanted to create a little drama. I mean, there hadn’t been a celebration controversy of a GM driving drunk in the past 48 hours, so the Mets obviously felt we were getting off a little easy. Pete Alonso led off the 10th by driving home the ghost runner to give the Mets a 3-2 lead, and then they actually tacked on. The “illars” struck, as Kevin Pillar’s two run double down the line and Jonathan Villar’s RBI single made it 6-2, which allowed Jeurys Familia to shut the door.
Better news: Colorado took the lead and held on against the Braves to bring the Mets to within four games of first. It’s a pipe dream to hope for the Mets to be even with the Braves heading into their season ending series in Atlanta, but if they can get to within three games by then, anything can happen. I’d almost consider this season a win after everything that happened in August if they can somehow get to Atlanta without being mathematically eliminated.
Doubleheader tomorrow. The Nationals have no idea who is going to pitch in the second game. Maybe Rich Hill can be the lefty specialist just for Juan Soto the rest of the series. Hopefully Hill can put some snot on the ball. Can the umpires check for snot?
Today’s Hate List
- Andrew Stevenson
- Lane Thomas
- Austin Riley
- Riley Adams
- Austin Riley Adams
- Hey, that sounds like a serial killer.
- Also, Trea Turner.