It would have been an absolute shame for the Mets to lose a game where they scored five runs off Dustin May.
But that’s what almost happened. Daniel Vogelbach drove in three runs and returning hero Brett Baty gave May a tough at-bat in the fourth by fouling off three pitches after being down 0-2 and driving in the 5th run of the game. The Mets were ambushing May early in the count and got eight hits in 5 and 2/3’s innings off a guy who came into the game with a WHIP of 0.764. But David Peterson gave up six runs in six innings as he gave up three home runs on cookies down the middle. (Two to Freddie Freeman, and one to Max Muncy who set off a debate about flickering the flood lights after home runs*.) It would have been an absolute waste.
(Editor’s note: I could hear Herb Brooks saying “You’ll take it to your f***ing graves.”)
But the Mets came back in the 7th. Tomas Nido, Brandon Nimmo, and Starling Marte singled. Then, Phil Bickford came in for Alex Vesia and set the house on fire.
A balk is called on Phil Bickford to bring in the tying run pic.twitter.com/nuzfN70vfq
— Shea Station (@shea_station) April 18, 2023
I’m confused as to whether it was really a balk or not, but that’s one of those philosophical questions like “why is the sky blue?” Or “why are we here?” “When is a balk really a balk” is the third question I would probably ask my maker when I get to the pearly gates. But no time for philosophy now, as the Mets quickly scored two more runs on a Francisco Lindor productive out and a Pete Alonso single to give them an 8-6 lead in the 7th.
Then the Mets bullpen went to work. Brooks Raley got five outs, but in the bottom of the 8th he gave up a single to Freeman and a double to James Outman to set up Drew Smith to come in with the tying runs on base, and Miguel Vargas at the plate.
HUGE strikeout from Drew Smith! pic.twitter.com/97tG3XRvUB
— SNY (@SNYtv) April 18, 2023
This bullpen, man.
Adam Ottavino came in for the ninth for the save, and set the Dodgers down 1-2-3 to end the game and give the Mets a huge 8-6 victory in Los Angeles. But that’s burying the lede from the 9th inning:
BRANDON NIMMO AGAIN! pic.twitter.com/4KIkoRC7x7
— SNY (@SNYtv) April 18, 2023
It takes a lot of effort to make something look effortless. Brandon Nimmo put in a lot of work on his defense, and he’s making all of these plays look effortless.
So they scored five off Heathcliff, eight in the entire game and managed to hang on thanks to a bullpen that is pulling together in the absence of Edwin Diaz and Timmy Trumpet. Don’t look now, but after a wobbly start to the season, the Mets have one five in a row. All conclusions as to whether this means the Mets are going to win the division or not will be suspended in favor of just enjoying a five game winning streak.
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*In regards to the flickering lights after home runs: It’s cool, but do we need it after every single home run in a game? Save it for the walkoffs.