Coming into the game saddled with a 3 game losing streak the Mets got off to a great start plating four runs in the first inning but a few hours later they were in a 4-4 tie as Michael Conforto stepped to the plate to face Phils closer Hector Neris and the Met right fielder responded with a dramatic solo homer to give the Mets a 5-4 win.
It was the type of storybook ending to a game this team needed so badly and sets up a rubber game tomorrow night on national television with the Mets trying to nail down a rubber game series win for the third consecutive Sunday. But tonight’s game was far from a perfect setting as the team gave up the four run lead with Taijuan Walker unable to hold that lead.
But this sport is about picking each other up and Pete Alonso talked about that after the game when he said, “We had a great approach today and it all started in the first inning and I think Luis Rojas was spot on telling us being aggressive is key but having the freedom in your mind is necessary as well.”
Both Alonso and Conforto mentioned the hiring of a hitting counselor Donnie Anderson who was helping them with the mental approach to the game and that seemed to pay dividends tonight. In that ninth inning at bat Conforto said, “I faced Hector Neris before and he has the great splitter so you have to look for pitches high in the strike zone and I got one that I was able to handle.” The fact remains Conforto’s swing was getting better and better all week and in this game even his outs were stroked hard to all fields and that is always a great sign for him.
The news today was not all good as both Brandon Nimmo and JD Davis left the game with injuries and right now both are day to day. Nimmo has a bruised left index finger and X-Rays were negative while Davis suffered a left hand sprain–that same hand he injured earlier in the season. Both players are day to day.
But that was an important factor today as those are negative things that could make you feel down and the Met bullpen rose up as it has done for most of the year with a trio of relievers-Aaron Loup, Trevor May and Edwin Diaz throwing dominant innings making big pitch after big pitch setting up the moment for Michael Conforto in the game’s final frame.
Should the Mets succeed in reaching their goals this season, make no mistake about it. They will look back at this game as a season-changing moment. And perhaps their new hire–Donnie Stevenson–could become a big part of that story. Stay tuned Met fans.