Mets pull off epic comeback in Philly
Admit it. You turned the game off. You were following the Rangers, catching up on Ozark, maybe you went to bed. After watching a sloppy first inning, and seeing the Phillies tack on runs from there, you’re excused if you moved on to other things.
But for the fans who happened to stay with or flip back to the game later in the night, you were rewarded with a 9th-inning comeback for the ages.
Big moments make big seasons. Brandon Nimmo summed it up best in his post-game interview with Steve Gelbs. Less than one week after five pitchers combined for the second no-hitter in Mets’ history, the Amazins rallied from a 7–1 deficit to shock the same opposing team, the Phillies, and won 8–7.
It was the first time the Mets had overcome a six-run deficit entering the final inning since September 13, 1997, going 0-330 in such situations before last night. And it was the first time the Phillies have lost when leading by six or more runs in the 9th inning or later since May 10, 1994.
Baseball has a stat for everything, but I honestly can’t believe another team has thrown a no-hitter and overcome a 6+ run deficit in the 9th inning within the same week, but the freaking Phillies (how ironic is that?) did it back in 1990, per Stats by Stats.
New York is now 5–2 against the 2022 version of the Phillies. They have stolen a win from the barrel of defeat, held them hitless and stood nearby as their young third baseman cursed out the hometown faithful.
Yes, it’s a great time to be a Mets fan!
Not so much for the Phillies:
“This is as tough as it gets,” Phillies manager Joe Girardi said after the game. “I’ve had some playoff losses [as a manager] that are pretty tough. But it’s probably my toughest one since I’ve been here.”
Let’s rundown how the epic comeback came together.
🔻 EARLY DEFICIT: An error by Francisco Lindor on a routine double-play ball put Taijuan Walker behind the eight-ball early, as the Mets fell into a 4–0 hole by the end of the first inning. The Phillies tacked on three more runs from there, via home runs by Bryce Harper and Nick Castellanos, before Buck Showalter turned the game over to the bullpen.
⏸ HOLDING STEADY: This is when most fans probably changed the channel. Trailing 7–0 in the fifth, Chasen Shreve took the mound for some quintessential mop-up duty. He allowed a few hits but carried the Mets into the sixth, handing the ball to recent call-up Adonis Medina.
Facing his former team, Medina pitched 2.2 scoreless innings, a performance that would have gone completely unnoticed had the Mets’ bats remained asleep.
🍎 THE COMEBACK
🔷 7–1 Phillies, 0.5% win probability: Entering the 9th inning, the Mets trailed 7–1. The final frame belonged to James Norwood, a South Bronx kid who had just been roughed up for three runs by the top of the Mets’ order last week. Still, with a six-run lead, the game appeared over.
🔷 7–3 Phillies, 1.3% win probability: On a 2–2 pitch diving towards the dirt, Starling Marte hit a chopper to the shortstop that he legged out for a lead-off hit. This is exactly the type of play that exemplifies the Showalter Mets. Down six runs in the 9th, Marte wasn’t going to give away an out. The fact he made contact is a story in itself: it was the lowest pitch (0.57 feet) the Phillies had allowed for a hit since 2017, per Statcast.
One pitch later, Lindor did this:
The Mets’ shortstop was in a dreadful 1–21 slump before turning on that pitch. “You guys love talking about numbers,” Lindor told reporters after the game. “I hate talking about numbers. I need every hit possible. I need every hit out there.” His blast in the ninth cut the deficit to four runs. Nothing for Mets fans to get excited about, right?
🔷 7–4 Phillies, 7.9% win probability: After a Pete Alonso double, the Mets finally made their first out of the inning, before Jeff McNeil sent Alonso to third on a base hit to right field.
Joe Girardi suddenly needed to get his closer into the game. After a rushed warm-up, Corey Knebel came in to face Mark Canha, who hit it right back at the former Dodger, diverting a ball that second baseman Jean Segura was in position to play for a potential game-ending double play. Instead, it was another bounce going the Mets’ way, shrinking the deficit to three runs.
“The ball doesn’t hit me the first at-bat, we’re out of that inning, we’re out the game, we win,” Knebel told reporters after the game, via MLB.com. “Bad luck. I see where [second baseman Jean Segura] is. That ball doesn’t hit me, it’s right at him. The ball doesn’t bounce far way, we’ve got two outs.”
🔷 7–5 Phillies, 11.1% win probability: Optimists could feel the momentum turning at this point, but when Dominic Smith went down on strikes for the second out of the inning, it still felt bleak. Pinch-hitter J.D. Davis quickly changed that by roping an RBI-double down the right-field line to put the tying runs in scoring position for the top of the order.
🔷 7–7 TIE GAME (!), 43.0% win probability: Hopefully, by now, the Mets fans who had left the game early had found their way back to SNY. Brandon Nimmo stepped to the plate with a chance to even the score, and he made sure that he did:
🔷 8–7 Mets, 83.3% win probability: The Coup de grâce came from the same man who had started the magical rally with his legs (and who had produced the team’s one run before the 9th inning on a homer). Starling Marte wasted no time mashing a first-pitch fastball into the left-center-field gap to drive in the go-ahead run.
Entering the 9th inning with a 0.5% win probability, the Mets scored seven runs to take an 8–7 lead and hand the ball over to Edwin Díaz, who made certain there was no chance of the Phillies returning the favor with a comeback of their own in the bottom of the inning.
“This doesn’t happen every day,” Nimmo said after the game, via the NY Daily News. “No-hitters don’t happen every day. Five-run ninth-innings don’t happen every day. Seven-run ninth innings don’t happen every day. I mean, those guys are getting paid a lot of money to get us out. They’re good at it. So this is not a normal circumstance.”
Some more news and notes from yesterday…
🗽 NY INTEREST: MLB insider Jon Heyman reminds us that “the feeling is Brewers baseball president David Stearns has interest in the Mets’ top baseball job.”
👨👦FAMILY ADVICE: Buck Showalter’s son gave his dad a heads up on the potential of Drew Smith after scouting him for the Orioles when Smith was at Dallas Baptist. “As soon as I got the job, he said, “Drew Smith. Drew Smith. Drew Smith — he’s got it,” Showalter said, via The Athletic.
🚗 MOTIVATION: Francisco Lindor and Jeff McNeil have found a happy place since last season’s ratcoon incident. Lindor told McNeil that he will buy him a car if he wins the batting title (McNeil is currently tied for 4th in the NL with a .348 average):
🗓 UP NEXT: Imagine being on the Phillies right now: You lose a 7–1 lead in the 9th inning and who is waiting for you in the next game? None other than Max Scherzer (4–0, 2.61 ERA). The Mets will send Scherzer, Chris Bassitt and Carlos Carrasco to the hill this weekend, as they look to build on an already imposing seven-game over the Phillies in the standings.
▪️ CATCH: For the first time this season, James McCann will catch Scherzer: “Over the course of 162 games, every pitcher has got to be able to throw to both catchers,” McCann told reporters, via Newsday. “Max and I have talked a lot. There’s nothing that replaces that in-game experience with a guy, but hopefully we can be on the same page as soon as possible.”
🤕 BANGED UP: The Phillies might be without Nick Castellanos this weekend due to a bruised right wrist. They will reevaluate today after his initial X-rays were negative.
🎙 BOOTH: Keith Hernandez will finally return to the SNY booth on Friday after missing time due to a health issue.
◾️ Shohei Ohtani became the first starting pitcher to bat within the first four spots of the lineup at Fenway Park since Babe Ruth. He then pitched seven scoreless inning, striking out 11, while going 2–4 at the plate with an RBI.
🔗 Childhood teammates Brett Baty, Garrett Wilson hope to succeed together in New York, by Anthony McCarron, SNY: “Baty is one of the Mets’ most promising farmhands, ranked as the 26th-best prospect in baseball by MLB.com, and Wilson was picked 10th overall by the Jets out of Ohio State last month. The pair grew up together and went to Lake Travis High School together, starring in sports. They played a few different levels of football and basketball together – Baty’s dad, Clint, is the varsity basketball coach.”
🔗 Healthy Drew Smith becoming force out of Mets’ bullpen, by Mike Puma, NY Post: “For Drew Smith, the novelty hasn’t been so much throwing difficult-to-hit pitches as going through a relatively normal spring training and opening a season with the Mets.”
And we leave you with video of Gary’s play-by-play in the 9th (listen to Howie too)…
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