By Paul DiSclafani:
The Mets saved the best for last as they kicked a late Field Goal and beat the Philadelphia 17-0 in the last home game of the regular season. This was the largest shutout in franchise history.
The win, combined with a loss by San Francisco in San Diego, gives the Mets (83-73) a one-game lead over the Giants (82-74) and the lead for the top Wild-Card spot, which would result in the Wild-Card game being played in New York. The Cardinals (81-73), who play the Cubs tonight, are in a virtual tie with the Giants for the second spot.
The Mets will head into Miami for three games starting tomorrow followed by a day off on Thursday, then to Philadelphia for the final weekend of the series. Although the series in Miami will have a heaviness to it after the tragic loss of Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez early Sunday morning, the Mets just completed a powerful display hitting against the Phillies.
The Mets scored 43 runs in the four game series against Philly, matching a franchise record by scoring at least eight runs in four consecutive games. Of course, the Mets pitching gave up 23 runs in the first three games before rookie Robert Gsellman threw seven scoreless innings in the finale.
After falling behind 10-0 on Saturday and almost coming all the way back in a 10-8 loss, Gsellman was just what the doctor ordered for the Mets bullpen that was decimated in the previous three games. And what a three games it was.
On Thursday, Mets starter Seth Lugo gave up three runs in his five innings, but manager Terry Collins needed six other pitchers to complete the regulation nine innings, capped off by Jose Reyes crushing a 2-run dinger in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game 6-6 after Addison Reed gave up a go-ahead 3-run home run in the eighth to give the Phillies a 6-4 lead. Then the Phils got two runs off Jeruys Familia in the 11th, only to have Asdrubal Cabrera win it for the Mets with an improbable 3-run homer in the bottom of the 11th for a 9-8 Mets win. Collins ended up using 10 pitchers in the game, nine of them in the final six innings.
Then on Friday, Collins burned through three pitchers in the first five innings before the Mets blew the game open with six runs in the fifth and three more in the seventh. Gabriel Ynoa threw 43 pitches in the first two innings and Logan Verrett followed with 46 more in the next two. Josh Smoker needed 32 to get his three outs in the fifth, but he got the win. Mets needed three more pitchers to finish the game, now having used 16 pitchers in two wins.
So of course, Saturday’s starter Sean Gilmartin couldn’t even get out of the first, giving up five runs on four hits and three walks. Rafael Montero came in to get the final out of the first inning, but he lasted only three more innings giving up five runs of his own to put the Mets in a 10-0 hole after just four innings. You already know that the Mets AAA players took over and almost completed an improbable comeback, falling 10-8. But it took five more pitchers to finish that debacle, bringing the total to 23 pitchers to complete three games.
It was up to Gsellman to save the day. “Our bullpen was shot,” manager Terry Collins said. “When you run 23 pitchers out in three games, you’re out of gas. It was nice to be able to have comfortable innings at the end of the game.”
In the finale of the very entertaining series, the Mets pounded out 14 hits, had four players hit by pitches and worked out nine walks. They scores a season high 17 runs and even left nine runners on base. Six Phillies pitchers threw 201 pitches in only eight innings. Even Jay Bruce (remember him?) had two hits.
Curtis Granderson hit his 30th home run of the season, a career high and Jose Reyes drove in four runs, coming to bat four consecutive times with the bases loaded. In the seventh, with the score 7-0, Cabrera hit a grand slam and in the eights, the Mets tacked on six more to complete the rout.
Now it’s on to Miami for what will unquestionably be an emotional experience. The Mets are banking on veteran Bartolo Colon to be up to the task. “Tomorrow is going to be a rough one for everybody”, Collins said, “Because I’m sure they’re going to be all fired up not only to beat us, but in honor of Jose. But we’ve got to do what we’ve been doing — go out and play, execute. We’ve got to feel good because we’ve got Bart going tomorrow night, because if anybody can handle those situations, it’s him. We’ll see what happens.”
Six games left. The Mets have a Magic Number of 7 with the Cardinals, pending their game tonight.
- Mets (6 games): 3 @ Miami; Thursday off; 3 @ Philadelphia
- Giants (6 games): Monday off; 3 vs Colorado; 3 vs Dodgers
- Cardinals (8 games): 1 @ Chicago; 4 vs Cincinnati; 3 vs Pittsburgh
HONORING JOSE FERNANDEZ
The Mets honored Miami Marlins star Jose Fernandez before the game by hanging a #16 Mets jersey (Fernandez’ number) and his name in the dugout. The Mets will take the jersey with them to Miami for the series next week.
POSITIVES: Mets home attendance (2,789,602) was the highest since the first season at Citi Field (3,154,262) … Four hit batters were a franchise record as Cespedes, Rene Rivera, TJ Rivera and Gavin Cecchinni were all bruised today … Two more home runs today gave the Mets 112 at home, a team record. Their 212 overall is already a team record … Mets scored 28 runs (27 earned) against the Phillies bullpen in 17 innings … Jay Bruce, who hit the first pinch hit home run of his career in the Mets 10-8 loss, was 4-2 … TJ Rivera had two more hits and his average is up to .361 … Mets finished 44-37 at home this year. Mets were 49-32 at home in 2015.
NEGATIVES: Granderson has just 56 RBI with his 30 home runs. He needs 9 RBI in the final six games of the season or he will set an MLB record for the least amount of RBI for a player with at least 30 home runs – 64 set by Felix Mantilla (Red Sox) in 1964 and Rob Deer (Detroit) in 1992 …