Could this be a turning point for a star & his team?
Time is very short and the Mets still have a sizable gap to close, but if a momentum-shifting comeback were ever possible, last night is as good a game as any to kick-start it. At a minimum, it could begin a new relationship between Francisco Lindor and the Mets’ fan base, as he had a game for the ages in a thrilling September win against the crosstown rivals (much more on that below).
We’ll catch you up on all the news of the day. But first, let’s recap last night’s playoff-caliber action.
⚾️ IN SHORT: Francisco Lindor hit three home runs (including the eventual game-winner), whistled at the Yankees, went toe-to-toe with Giancarlo Stanton, and led the Mets to a dramatic 7-6 victory in a game where Carlos Carrasco struggled again in the first inning before finding his stride, the Mets bounced back after blowing 5–2 and 6–4 leads, and tempers raged between the intra-city rivals.
🔑 KEY MOMENT: With the score tied at six in the eighth inning, Lindor put the Mets ahead for good with his third home run of the night. How the game got to this moment is the fun part. Let’s break it all down.
HOW IT HAPPENED
1️⃣ FIRST INNING: We’ll start where the Mets wish Carlos Carrasco could do a better job starting, and that’s in the first inning. For the eighth time in nine starts, the veteran right-hander struggled out of the gate, walking the first two batters and giving up a two-run double to Giancarlo Stanton to put the Mets in an early 2–0 deficit. As has been the trend this season, Carrasco settled down after that to toss five effective innings. He has given up 15 of the 24 earned runs scored against him in the first innings of games.
UNBELIEVABLE: “Trust me, I'm trying to figure out what's going on (in the first inning). It's unbelievable. I don't know, man,” Carrasco told reporters after the game.
🎇 LINDOR SETS OFF FIREWORKS: Ok, now to the fun part. Francisco Lindor finally showed the Queens faithful the height of his abilities, becoming the 14th player in Mets history to hit three homers in a game (two were from the left side, one from the right), and the first Mets or Yankees player to hit three in a Subway Series match-up. But it wasn’t just about how many he hit last night, but the circumstances surrounding each home run.
1st HOME RUN: After Carrasco used 55 pitches to labor through the first two innings, Lindor’s first blast set the tone for the night, turning an early 2–1 deficit into a 4–2 Mets lead in the bottom of the second.
2nd HOME RUN: Spark up the fireworks. With the Mets’ 5–2 lead diminished to one run, Lindor did what this team has struggled to do all season, using a solo shot to tack-on a run in the sixth inning, which gave the Amazins a 6–4 advantage. And what he did when rounding the bases caught everyone’s attention:
TIPPING PITCHES: First, some context: On Saturday, the Mets suspected the Yankees of whistling from the dugout to identify pitches from Taijuan Walker, who was apparently tipping his pitches.
WHISTLE BACK: When Lindor rounded the bases after his second long ball on Sunday, he turned to shortstop Gleyber Torres, made a whistling motion with his hand, and said, “Keep on whistling.”
LINDOR: “I can't accuse them of them whistling for the signs because I'm not 100%" Lindor said after the game. “But I know what I heard and I felt like there was something out of the ordinary going on ... I took that personal.”
🤺 BENCHES CLEAR: The whistling drama didn’t end there. In the following inning, Giancarlo Stanton tied the game on a two-run homer off Brad Hand and made sure to stop and say something to Lindor while rounding the bases, causing both benches and bullpens to clear.
BLAME: Stanton told reporters pitcher Wandy Peralta was the one whistling in the Yankee dugout on Saturday “to bring some noise” into the game. Stanton explained why he was upset with Lindor: “If you've got a problem with Wandy, give it to Wandy. Don't be talking to multiple people, bringing everybody into it, especially running around the bases.”
THUMBS DOWN: Brett Gardner tried to get cute by flashing a thumbs down toward Lindor and Javy Báez after benches had cleared.
RIVALS: “You guys saw Lindor when he went around the bases,” Yankees manager Aaaron Boone said after the game. “We gave a little bit back. Boys will be boys.”
👍 THE HERO: As we previewed in the key moment, Lindor broke the 6–6 tie with another long ball in the eighth inning, turning a 2–0 fastball into a 7–6 lead.
CURTAIN CALL: Lindor earned himself a curtain call after his third homer. He acknowledged it felt good to hear from the fans after noting “I've been being booed for a very long time” and joking he still doesn’t feel like a complete New Yorker because he doesn’t have the accent yet.
EXPECTATIONS: “This is the Francisco that we all expect, and I think this is the Francisco that the Mets fanbase are going to get for years,” manager Luis Rojas said after the game.
9️⃣ NINTH INNING: As if there wasn’t enough drama already, Edwin Díaz made sure the Mets fans who stayed up for the longest nine-inning game in Subway Series history felt extra tension in the final frame. After giving up a hit and a walk, he struck out Brett Gardner for the second out of the inning, setting up a match-up with runners on first and second against (who else?) Giancarlo Stanton. As a fitting ending, Stanton popped up to Lindor, of all people, to end the game.
⏭ NEXT UP: No rest for the weary. The Mets welcome the Cardinals to town for a three-game set, beginning tonight with two veterans pitching well: Rich Hill (6–6, 3.82 ERA) going up against Adam Wainwright (15–7, 2.98 ERA).
📉 STANDINGS: The Braves won, too, meaning the Mets remain 5 games out of the division lead. However, with Philly losing to the Rockies at home, New York is now just a half game out of second.
WILDCARD: In an interesting development, the Mets are now just 3 games out of the second wildcard spot. The catch is there are three teams they need to leapfrog.
👋 NIMMO BACK SOON? Brandon Nimmo is making a quicker-than-expected recovery from a hamstring strain eight days ago. He’s running at 90 percent speed, sprinting, playing catch, and blasting home runs in batting practice. Nimmo now hopes he can come off the IL by the end of the week, saying, “Things have been going really, really well.”
🐐 JAKE THROWING: Luis Rojas said Jacob deGrom is scheduled to throw from the slope of the mound in the coming days ("maybe this week"). Obviously he is running out of time to return this season, but this progress keeps the possibility open.
⚒️ THOR PROGRESSING: Rojas added that Noah Syndergaard is due to face live hitters soon. Thor is expected to return in the coming weeks, barring further setbacks to his recovery from Tommy John surgery.
⛑ NIDO REHAB: Tomás Nido began a rehab assignment with AAA-Syracuse on Saturday, going 2-for-3. If all goes well, he’ll nip his nagging thumb injury in the bud, and return to backing up James McCann behind the plate soon.
🍆⛰️ RICH FEEDBACK: Recent acquisition Rich Hill says he likes playing in the big market of New York, adding, "The instant feedback is something that I love, personally, as a player. If you suck, you suck. If you do good, you do good. That’s understandable."
👀 PROSPECT WATCH: Remember Khalil Lee? His Major League stint earlier this season didn’t go so well, but he’s been raking in AAA-Syracuse, socking two home runs yesterday. He now has 11 homers in 88 games in AAA, resulting in a .920 OPS this season (in the minors).
ALVAREZ RAKES: Mega-prospect Francisco Alvarez continues to slug the ball, launching this missile to left centerfield:
⚾️ New Dodgers co-ace Max Scherzer added some details to his Hall of Fame plaque yesterday, by compiling his 3000th career strikeout, recording his third-ever immaculate inning (9 pitches, all strikeouts) and bringing a perfect game into the 8th inning. He’s also a top contender for his 4th Cy Young.
🔗 J.D. Davis has wondered if he'll be on the NY Mets in 2022, but he's not worried about it, by Justin Toscano, Bergen Record: “I’ll do whatever the team needs to win because, when you’re up here in the big leagues compared to the minor leagues, it’s all about winning,” Davis said. “It speaks for itself the way that Villar was heating. He was on an absolute hot streak and he still is.” The Mets’ recent Davis-less lineups perhaps have you asking: Will he be on another team next season? “That topic has crossed (my mind), seeing what would happen, especially with Villar coming over and really taking over,” Davis said. “You kind of think about that for a second. Will it be a little upsetting, a little sad? Yeah, of course. But this game is a business and I don’t have anything to control.”
🔗 The two complicated Mets decisions hanging over offseason, by Joel Sherman, NY Post: “So much will be determined by who Cohen picks to run baseball operations (assuming the job will be filled this time). The dominos should start falling from there in deciding whether Alderson and/or Scott are retained, and whether Luis Rojas survives as the manager. But whether the next baseball chief is high profile such as Billy Beane or Theo Epstein or not, among the key decisions awaiting in constructing the 2022 roster will be determining just what the 2021 seasons of Jeff McNeil and Dominic Smith mean.”
And… at least for one night, it looks like times have changed in Queens:
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