And you thought this week’s skeleton roster was surreal. Welcome to the Thunderdome, friends.
Ahead of Friday night’s series opener in Miami, the Mets placed Pete Alonso (hand sprain) on the 10-day injured list, stretching this active roster even further. Alonso is the ninth Mets player to hit the IL in May.
In his absence, veteran journeyman Brandon Drury started at first base versus the Marlins, just to give you an idea of where the Mets are at these days as far as available MLB-capable depth.
If the Mets can make it out of this stretch alive, nothing should be able to slow this team down moving forward. As we’ve noted here more than a few times, overcoming adversity leads to growth.
Heading into the night with a one-and-a-half game cushion in the National League East, the objective is clear: gut this out and keep your head above water.
On Friday afternoon, Alonso reiterated that the injury occurred on a hit-by-pitch during the Cardinals series.
Tim Healey of Newsday made a fine point regarding Alonso’s fall over the railing after Patrick Mazeika’s walk-off versus Baltimore last week, noting that he appeared to land on his hand, not his backside, as Alonso said.
Pete’s answer doesn’t appear to match up with the video of the spill. One would hope this doesn't turn into a thing. Onward.
Jonathan Villar kicked things off properly, drawing a leadoff walk and stealing second base before Francisco Lindor even saw his second pitch. Lindor drove the third pitch he saw into the right-field corner for the first run of the game.
Marcus Stroman, coming off a six-inning, three-homer performance in Tampa last weekend (when you pitch to contact, that will happen from time to time), was handed a two-run cushion, and off we went.
Some fancy cannon work from Tomas Nido — back behind the plate on Friday — cut down Jazz Chisholm (leadoff single) trying to swipe second, eliminating that threat, but Miami struck back in the second.
Of note, per Mets skipper Luis Rojas during his pregame availability, James McCann volunteered to play some first base in Alonso’s absence. Hey, we dig the gesture wholeheartedly. Let’s see if it comes to fruition.
Rojas also mentioned Mazeika and Jake Hager as emergency options as both have minor league experience at the position. I swear I love this shit.
Adam Duvall led off the second with a single and the Mets actually caught a break on Anderson’s ground-rule double in the next at-bat, keeping Duvall on the basepaths.
Though that point was made moot on Sandy Leon’s sacrifice fly, cutting the Mets lead to 2-1.
Stroman escaped another two-on jam in the third (inning-ending groundout, of course), and the Mets tacked on another in the top of the fourth on Nido’s RBI double to score Smith (walk) from first.
Nido is making quite the push to overtake McCann as the team’s frontline backstop, hitting .286/.359/.543 over his last 15 games coming into the night. Can’t argue with that.
Figures that in the one area the Mets haven’t been stricken by injury, an old-fashioned hot-hand is the catalyst behind Nido’s ascent into the de facto starter’s role.
Not to mention that Nido’s defensive capabilities are exceptional, as evidenced below and by a couple of game-saving blocks in a pivotal eighth inning.
Stroman’s skills were on full display in the fifth, hitting spots and painting corners while striking out the side in a perfect frame.
At 70 pitches heading into the sixth, Stroman popped that baby into cruise control and set the Marlins down in order once again. A leadoff walk in the seventh ended his night after 89 pitches (59 strikes), bringing Miguel Castro in from the bullpen.
A wild pitch moved Anderson into scoring position and, naturally, Garrett Cooper’s fourth home run of the season tied the game at three. At that point, the second-guessing began.
After getting touched up his last time out, the guy who pitched to a 2.01 ERA over his first seven starts was back in the driver’s seat, no question.
Stroman picked up whiff rates of 47 percent and 44 percent on his split-change (24 pitches) and cutter (15 pitches), respectively, and racked up 13 called strikes between his slider and sinker (eight strikeouts on the night, total).
Just ridiculously multi-faceted, as always.
At just under 90 pitches, keeping Stroman in the game through Cooper (hitting .186 and .118 versus breaking and offspeed pitches, respectively, this season) was a viable option.
Rojas went with Castro and it backfired. It happens. Get it back.
Trevor May kept the game tied with a scoreless eighth but just barely. May lost the strike zone for a spell, walking the bases loaded with two outs, but recovered to strike out Cooper on a 97 MPH four-seam to leave the bags packed.
Huge. May hasn't had his best stuff as of late and that last sequence to Cooper was a big step forward. Turn that page and keep it moving. We love to see it.
Following an unfruitful top half of the ninth for New York, Jeurys Familia nearly allowed the winning run to cross in a bottom half that began anything cut crisply.
Leon walked to start things off, Sierra followed with a single, but Familia snapped back into form to retire the next three Marlins, the last on a wicked slider to strike out Miguel Rojas swinging.
Free baseball Friday!!
Hager entered as the ghost-runner, ending Nido’s night, and Wilfredo Tovar spiked a high-chopper in front of the plate to reach base, putting men on the corners with nobody out.
After a couple of tough outs (Drury called third strike; Vargas line out to second), the Mets eventually loaded the bases with two outs (McCann walk), bringing Villar to the plate, who grounded out.
Edwin Diaz exorcised the ghost runner in the bottom half and on we went. But it was more of the same.
Lindor’s leadoff single in the 11th put runners at the corners with none out once again (Villar starring as Casper), but Villar was picked off at third via an awesome move from right-handed sidearmer Adam Cimber and that pretty much killed all momentum.
Missed opportunities will be the death of this team. Or me. Whatever comes first.
Drew Smith worked around the free RISP in the 11th, and the boys finally broke through in the 12th.
Hager’s first MLB hit moved Dom to third and Khalil Lee’s first hit in the big leagues — a double into the corner in right — scored Smith to put the Mets ahead 4-3.
Fargas’ triple (out at home trying to stretch it into an inside-the-parker) plated two more to make it a 6-3 game. Wow. Special stuff, friends.
These are the little things that turn what should be rough patches into magical, galvanizing stretches.
The veteran lefty got Corey Dickerson to ground into a 6-4-3 double play, conceding a run to make it a 6-5 game, bringing in Jacob Barnes to face Duvall, who flew out to left field and the Metsies win a wild one.
Subscribe to the free email list or become a paid subscriber below!
Never any paywalls. Once it leaves my head, it’s yours. But if you want to pay me for my work, it’s greatly appreciated.