Sunday, July 31, 2022

Mets Close Joyous July On A High Note


The Mets outfielders Brandon Nimmo, Mark Canha, and Tyler Naquin embrace after Sunday's win in Miami. @Mets on Twitter.

The Mets blew out the Miami Marlins, 9-3, on Sunday afternoon to complete the sweep and end July on a six-game winning streak, which includes sweeping the two-game Subway Series against the Yankees last Tuesday and Wednesday.

With a record of 17-8 in the month of July, the Mets are now 64-37 and close the month with a three-game lead over the Atlanta Braves (62-41) in the National League East race, as they showed tremendous resiliency as they hold off the defending World Champions. 

The Mets got a major vote of confidence from Keith Hernandez, a member of the 1986 championship team and current announcer on SNY, in his speech during his number 17 retirement ceremony on July 9, as he said: "This current team - I love to watch. You Met fans know, you're on top of it, this team comes out and hustles, they play hard and comport themselves like professionals. It is a treat, and you should give your support to this team like you gave to us in the '80s."  

July had its peaks and valleys for the Mets, with one high point being when they won two out of three in Atlanta in their series from July 11-13, and the nadir was when they dropped the first two games of their series with the San Diego Padres on July 22 and 23, the first two games out of the All-Star break, and the Braves pulled to within a half-game lead. The Mets concluded the Padres series with an 8-5 win on Sunday Night Baseball, July 24, as their offense exploded with Pete Alonso blasting a three-run home run and four RBI overall, which started the biggest peak, the six-game win streak to close the month, which included the two wins over the Yankees and three in Miami.

The Subway Series opened on Tuesday night when the Mets  beat the Yankees, 6-3, on Tuesday night, as they came from 2-0 behind in the first, when the Yankees got solo shots from Aaron Judge and Anthony Rizzo, as Eduardo Escobar had a two-run home run and Alonso got an RBI double, while Taijuan Walker pitched six innings to earn the victory.

The next night, the Mets won, 3-2, on a walk-off single by Starling Marte in the ninth inning. Scherzer threw seven shutout innings in that one, with a performance befitting an ace, but did not get the win because the Yankees tied it in the eighth on a Gleyber Torres two-run home run. 

Friday night in Miami was the toughest game of the series with the Marlins, as Mets starter Chris Bassitt staked them to a 3-0 lead in the first inning when Miguel Rojas got a three-run double. 

The Mets responded against Marlins starter, ace Sandy Alcantara, with three in the second, as Brandon Nimmo had an RBI double and Starling Marte had a two-run triple.

Miami got the lead back in the bottom of the second, as Luke Williams scored when Joey Wendle hit into a double play, but Marte tied it at 4 when he got a solo homer in the top of the fourth, his 11th of the year.

It stayed that way until the top of the eighth when Brandon Nimmo launched a blast to right-center field for a two-run shot, his 10th of the year to make it 6-4.

Adam Ottavino, who relieved Bassitt after he went 6 innings (6 hits, 4 runs, all earned, 4 walks, 2 strikeouts, pitched a scoreless seventh, and earned his fifth win of the year, as his record is 5-2. Trevor Williams pitched a perfect eighth and notched a strikeout, while Edwin Diaz struck out the side in the ninth to earn his 23rd save of the season.

On Saturday night, the Mets won 4-0, as Carlos Carrasco went 7 2/3 shutout innings, as he scattered four hits and two walks, while notching seven strikeouts, to improve to 11-4 with a 3.79 ERA on the season.

The Mets took an early 2-0 lead in the third when Jeff McNeil got a solo shot, his fifth of the year, and Francisco Lindor had an RBI single. They tacked on a pair in the eighth when they got a pair of solo homers from Lindor (#17 on the season) and J.D. Davis, his fourth.

In the series finale, on Sunday afternoon, the Mets got a big lead early against Marlins starter Pablo Lopez, as they put up three in the first on an Alonso RBI double, and RBI singles from McNeil and Mark Canha. 

In the third, they doubled their lead, as Tyler Naquin, in his second game with the Mets, got an RBI triple, Canha got another RBI single, and Nimmo got an RBI single. Nimmo got another RBI in the fifth when Luis Guillorme came in to score when he hit into a force out, and that made it 7-0.

Taijuan Walker got the win to improve to 9-2 on the season, with a 2.79 ERA, as he went 5 2/3 innings, allowing three runs, all earned, on seven hits and two walks, with four strikeouts.

After Miami pulled to within 7-3 in the sixth, Nimmo got his third RBI of the day on a fielder's choice, and Lindor got an RBI single to make it 9-3, which would be the final. Stephen Nogosek pitched two scoreless innings, with four strikeouts, and Yoan Lopez worked around a walk to pitch a scoreless ninth. 

August will open with a bang, as the Mets will have their two aces - Max Scherzer and Jacob deGrom - in the rotation at the same time. Scherzer takes the ball Monday night against the Nationals in his old stomping grounds in Washington, and deGrom will make his season debut on Tuesday night. The three-game series against the Nationals (35-68), where the drama is all about where they send their star outfielder, Juan Soto, before Tuesday's deadline, concludes with a 4 p.m. game on Wednesday afternoon.

The Mets then open a season-defining five-game series against the Braves starting Thursday night at Citi Field. Thursday and Friday nights games are at 7:10 p.m., while Saturday is a day-night doubleheader with the first game at 1:10 p.m. and the second game at 7:10 p.m., while Sunday concludes with a 4:10 p.m. first pitch. As it stands now, Scherzer will start one of Saturday's games, while deGrom will make his home debut in the late-afternoon Sunday game.

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