Gut Reaction: Mets 4, Yankees 2 (7/2/19)

A little less than a month ago, the Mets and Yankees played a doubleheader at Yankee Stadium, the second game of which featured a pounding of Yankee starter James Paxton. This intra-city rite of summer picked up again tonight at Citi Field, with the Mets hoping to repeat that performance. They’d send Zack Wheeler to the mound to try and stem the Yankee juggernaut. It turned out to be a terrific game.

Pitching around a one out walk to Aaron Judge in the first inning, he would not be so fortunate in the second. Didi Gregorius led off with a solid single to right. Edwin Encarnacion did the same to left field. Gleyber Torres slapped a single just inside the third base bag and the Yanks had a quick 1-0 lead, with Encarnacion crossing to third. Brett Gardner bounced into a force play, but Encarnacion inexplicably held. Paxton then dropped a perfect bunt, trickled up the third base line. Wilson Ramos pounced on it and threw Paxton out, but never gave a look to Encarnacion, who chugged home on the throw. The Mets threatened in the bottom of the second, but were done in by some spectacular Yankee defense. Todd Frazier and Robinson Cano singled and Ramos hit an infield fly to second. That brought up Michael Conforto, who scorched a grounder towards second. Torres dove to his left and snuffed it, then made a tremendous, half-sitting throw to Gregorius to start the inning-ending double play.

Both pitchers then settled in. The Mets got two on in the third, but couldn’t bring anyone around, and Wheeler retired nine straight after Torres’s RBI. That string ended when Gardner led off the top of the fifth with a sharp single to center. Paxton got his second sac bunt of the night. D.J. LeMahieu grounded out softly to the mound, sending Gardner to third. That brought up the always-lethal Judge, who waved at a curveball on the eighth pitch of the at bat, Wheeler’s 96th pitch of the night. Met fans all over the tri-state realized — with a gulp — that that would probably mean an early night for the bullpen. But, no: Wheeler batted for himself with a man on and one out in the fifth, popping up his bunt attempt for the second time in the game. That cost the Mets a run when Jeff McNeil singled and Pete Alonso struck out. The laboring Wheeler came out for the sixth and gave up a long double to Aaron Hicks, who would have had a triple if he hadn’t been admiring the flight of the ball. Gary Sanchez grounded out and Gregorius hit another long fly to right center, moving Hicks to third. But Encarnacion grounded out weakly and Wheeler had escaped another jam.

The Mets finally got on the board in the sixth, when J.D. Davis launched a missile to the opposite field, into the bleachers. After Frazier flew out, Cano ripped a single up the middle. Ramos followed with a walk. That brought up Conforto, looking for a measure of revenge, but he hit into another double play. Amazingly, Wheeler came out to start the seventh having already thrown 109 pitches, and struck out Torres. That was all he needed to do, with the recently returned Justin Wilson coming to face the left-handed Gardner. Wilson induced a ground out. Gio Urshela pinch hit for Paxton and lined out softly to Cano. If the Mets were going to win this game, they’d have to do it against the superlative Yankee bullpen.

Tommy Kahnle took over for the Yankees and retired the Mets in order. Seth Lugo pitched the eighth and walked Hicks with two outs, but got Sanchez on a grounder. Adam Ottavino came on and got Alonso to hit a grounder to third, but LeMahieu short-armed the throw and Alonso was on. Davis, representing the go-ahead run, worked a 3-2 count before firing another projectile, this one in the park but out of Hicks’s reach in left center. Alonso powered all the way around and the game was tied. Juan Lagares pinch ran. Frazier struck out, and Cano was intentionally walked. That brought up the slow-footed Ramos who lined to left, but Gardner pulled up on it and let it drop in front of him. That was it for Ottavino, Zach Britton coming in to face the struggling Conforto. He hit the first pitch on a line past Gardner, one hop off the wall to knock in Lagares and Cano. Now it would be up to the beleaguered Edwin Diaz to close it out.

Gregorius reached on a botched infield single leading off. Encarnacion struck out on a slider. Torres hit a fly to Lagares in center. Gregorius stole second. Rain started falling. Gardner worked an eight-pitch at bat. On the ninth pitched, he foul-tipped it off Ramos’s glove, off Ramos’s right hand and back into Ramos’s glove for the final out.

More excitement to follow tomorrow night, Domingo German vs. Jason Vargas at Citi Field.

12 comments for “Gut Reaction: Mets 4, Yankees 2 (7/2/19)

  1. TexasGusCC
    July 2, 2019 at 10:36 pm

    Nice writeup Charlie. Detailed for us that didn’t get to see it, chronological allowing for the game’s flow to come out, and successfully touching on the suspense of Wheeler continuing the game even after Callaway would normally pull a pitcher. This was a showcase for Brian Cashman, who last year wouldn’t pull the trigger on DeGrom. Let’s see if he learned his lesson.

    JD Davis continues to make BVW forget about Cano.

  2. John Fox
    July 2, 2019 at 11:02 pm

    Ballplayers are superstitious.. maybe they’ll want BVW to sit in the rightfield stands at all the home games.

  3. July 2, 2019 at 11:30 pm

    Wheeler’s had his best three-start stretch of the year in his last three, as he’s faced the Cubs, Phillies and Yankees. He has 19.1 IP, 12 H, 4 ER, 4 BB and 20 Ks. He’s only allowed 1 HR in this stretch and has a 1.86 ERA.

  4. NYM6986
    July 2, 2019 at 11:42 pm

    Seems to me with all our flaws, if we could upgrade the pen somehow with out giving up anything other then those whose contracts fall off at the end of the year then we are closer than some believe to being competitive again. Hate to see Wheeler go but he might bring a haul the way he is pitching if perhaps the other team will offer an extended contract beyond this year. Wouldn’t a sweep of the Yankees be sweet?

  5. TexasGusCC
    July 3, 2019 at 12:51 am

    BTW, the YES Network had a different angle of the Gregorius steal attempt and the announcers concluded based on the replay that Gregorius was out. They were chastising Gregorius for the attempt in that situation and the replay showed that his fingers were over the bag, not on the bag, while Rosario tagged him.

    Also, Charlie further kudos on having the Gut Reaction on within seconds of the game’s conclusion.

    • July 3, 2019 at 5:27 am

      Thanks, Gus. I recently traded in my old warhorse of a desktop for a nifty laptop, so I can do the writeup in real time and edit on the fly.

  6. JImO
    July 3, 2019 at 7:36 am

    There was some commentary about the new pitching coach’s effect on the staff. It was related to achieving better balance when the pitcher follows through….maybe that is impacting Wheeler’s performance.

  7. Mike Walczak
    July 3, 2019 at 8:09 am

    That was a fun game. But, you can see the difference in defense. Sanchez has a cannon. That Yankees double play was a great play. Then, we had Ramos and his lapse give up a run. But lets hope for a sweep.

    Now it s July. Let the trades begin.

    How about Wheeler to Atlanta for Ender Inciarte.

  8. Michael
    July 3, 2019 at 9:17 am

    Happy with the win and happy that Conforto came through. It’s about time. I realize he is only 26-27 but it seems to be a long time for him come around. Last year he was hitting ,216 at All Star break and had a good second half. Let’s hope he does the same this time around. I did not envision him to be a .250 lifetime hitter who struck out a ton.

    • Peter Hyatt
      July 3, 2019 at 1:36 pm

      Michael,

      I thought he was our most natural hitter—best mechanics.

      Charlie, good wrap up.

  9. Metsense
    July 3, 2019 at 10:09 am

    Gut Reaction: Finally the Mets put the pieces together. Good starting pitching, clutch late hitting and shut down bullpen pitching. Wheeler was awesome.
    Wheeler when comparing to National League starters that have pitched 40 innings is 17th in FIP, 4th in IP and 31st in WHIP. (73 pichers on Fangraphs). He is a solid #2 on any pitching staff. He is going to be difficult to replace in 2020. Good starting pitching is scarce and expensive.
    The Mets should extend him now! Start with 3/45 and go up until 4/72. If Wheeler refuses then trade him before in trade deadline as long as the Mets get a significant better player than a #1 draft pick. Otherwise keep him and give in a qualifying offer which will depress Wheeler’s market value. I hope they will extend him.

    • Chris F
      July 3, 2019 at 3:03 pm

      why keep him for 3 yrs when the team will need that time to fix all the other issues?

      Its a mistake to believe a single off season can solve the myriad of problems, not to mention acclimate to a new coaching staff, and yet another year of high expectations and no results.

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