Sunday, May 29, 2022

Bassitt Bounces Back, Mets Finish Off Sweep Of Phillies


Chris Bassitt firing a pitch to Alec Bohm in the first inning Sunday night. Photo by Jason Schott.

The Mets beat the Phillies, 5-4, in 10 innings, on Sunday night at Citi Field to complete the sweep of their three-game Memorial Day weekend series. The Mets are now an astonishing 9-3 against their division rivals this season.

The Mets run their record to 32-17, and are maintaining their comfortable lead in the National League East. They are 8 1/2 games ahead of the Atlanta Braves (23-25), and now 10 1/2 games ahead of the Phillies, who drop to 21-27.

Chris Bassitt got the start for the Mets, looking to rebound from two tough starts, in which he allowed four runs on nine hits and two walks in 6 1/3 innings against St. Louis on May 19, and then allowed a career-high eight runs in 4 1/3 innings at San Francisco on May 24. Those rough outings came after he had quality starts in six of his first seven starts, and his performance against the Phillies in this one was definitely on that level. 

The right-hander went six innings, in which he allowed just one run on two hits and three walks, and he notched seven strikeouts. He threw an even 100 pitches, with 68 strikes. To show he had his game, all but one of the 18 outs he recorded was on the ground in the infield. The only out in the air was Bryce Harper's fly out to the warning track in center field in the first inning.

The Mets came out swinging against their old friend Zack Wheeler, who was starting for Philadelphia, in the bottom of the first inning. 

It started off when Luis Guillorme hit one into the left field corner, and for some reason Kyle Schwarber gave up on it, and stood on the lip of the warning track ready to play the carom off the wall, and it bounced in front of it, meaning he likely would have had enough time to go back and actually catch it. 

Guillorme ended up with an easy double, and then Starling Marte singled to move him to third. Francisco Lindor then hit one to first, but Rhys Hoskins' throw to second pulled Johan Camargo off the bag, so Marte was safe and Guillorme raced for the plate and easily beat Camargo's throw there to make it 1-0 Mets.

Francisco Lindor at the plate in the first inning. Photo by Jason Schott.

Pete Alonso then singled to load the bases, and then Eduardo Escobar hit into a force out, with Alonso erased at second, and Marte scored easily. Mark Canha then bounced one to third that could have been a double play, but Escobar was off on the pitch, so Alec Bohm threw to first for the easy out, and Lindor walked home to make it 3-0 Mets. Dom Smith walked to keep the inning going, but Nick Plummer struck out to end the inning. Just one of the Mets' three runs in the first was earned.

After Bassitt sailed through the first two innings, in which he notched three strikeouts, Philly put the heat on in the third. Odubel Herrera lined one to left field over the head of a diving Dom Smith, and reached second base (he was given the double for the simple reason that Smith didn't touch it). Johan Camargo and Schwarber walked to load the bases, and Bohm then stopped the momentum by hitting into a double play. Herrera came in to score on it, so Philadelphia cut the Mets' lead to 3-1. Harper then walked to keep the inning going, but Nick Castellanos struck out to end the frame.

That strikeout began a streak in which Bassitt retired the next ten batters in a row, and it ended with the Phillie who started it, Castellanos, who grounded out. Since that was on his 100th pitch, that was all for his night.

Wheeler settled in after that brutal first inning, and he threw six innings, allowing three runs (just one earned) on four hits and a walk, with seven strikeouts. Interesting to note that he threw 101 pitches with 68 of them strikes, and Bassitt also had 68 strikes, out of 100 pitches, so they nearly matched their efficiency.

Drew Smith was first out of the bullpen for the Mets in the seventh, and he got Jean Segura to ground out to first, then struck out Hoskins looking. J.T. Realmuto then lined one back up the middle, and Smith stuckhis hand out to grab it, and it bounced off his fingers into center field. Smith was in visible pain afterwards, and was lifted from the game immediately. Joely Rodriguez came on for the lefty Herrera, and he got him to ground out to first.

Rodriguez stayed on for the eighth, and he walked Camargo and Bohm, and left with two runners on and two out after he got Bryce Harper to fly out to left field.

Playing the match-ups, the Mets brought in Adam Ottavino for Nick Castellanos, and it backfired, as he crushed one to left field for a three-run homer to give the Phillies a 4-3 lead.

It stayed that way until the bottom of the ninth when Nick Plummer, whom the Mets called up on Saturday when Travis Jankowski was placed on the injured list, launched a bomb to right field, into the second deck down the line, on the first pitch he saw from Phillies closer Corey Knebel to tie the game at 4. It was not only his first Major League home run, but his first hit.

Edwin Diaz came on for the Mets in the tenth, and he pitched a perfect inning, save for an intentional walk of Harper with two outs to get to Roman Quinn - who came on as a defensive replacement for Castellanos in the ninth - and he struck out to end the frame.

Knebel stayed on for Philadelphia in the tenth, with Marte out at second as the "ghost runner," he struck out Lindor to open the frame, then intentionally walked Alonso to bring up Escobar, who hit into two force outs and had two strike outs up to that point.

Escobar responded, and laced a double to right field to bring home Marte, and the Mets won, 5-4.

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