The Mets notched their first win of 2021 with a combination of power, great starting pitching and – dare I say it? – some small ball.

Marcus Stroman took the ball and did some wonderous things with it. In six innings, he surrendered a mere three hits, walked two while also hitting a batter and surrendering his only run on a fourth inning solo homer to Didi Gregorious. By that time, the Mets already had a lead. In top of the fourth, Dominic Smith hit the Mets first home run of the year, a bomb to the opposite field, knocking in Pete Alonso, who had walked just ahead of him. The game stood there until the seventh, when the New Yorkers busted this thing open with some help from the Phillies’ bullpen.

Vincent Velasquez had come in and mowed the Mets down in the sixth. In the seventh, different story. Luis Guillorme – in the game after J.D. Davis took a pitch off his hand in the second inning – led off with a walk. James McCann got himself one of those, as well, after Jeff McNeil struck out. Kevin Pillar pinch hit for Stroman and drew another walk. The fourth walk of the inning went to Brandon Nimmo and gave the Mets their third run. That was it for Velasquez, who gave way to Opening Day hero Brandon Kintzler. Francisco Lindor hit his first pitch to deep center, far enough away that McCann could stroll home with the second run of the inning and Lindor’s first Met RBI. Here’s where the inside baseball happened: Pillar had crossed to third on Lindor’s fly. On an 0-2 pitch to Michael Conforto, Nimmo broke for second and Pillar broke for the plate. J. T. Realmuto threw down to second, but the ball glanced off Nimmo as Pillar scored. It was officially a double steal and the first steal of home by a Met in seven years. Conforto ended up hitting a booming double past Bryce Harper in right and the Mets ended up with a four-run, one-hit seventh.

Now it was up to the bullpen and the collective “gulp” heard across Mets nation was audible…and warranted. In the bottom of the seventh, Miguel Castro got two quick strikeouts, but then surrendered a double to Adam Haseley and singles to Rhys Hoskins and Alec Bohm, cutting the lead to 6-2. Trevor May came on in the eighth and didn’t allow a run, but the inning was fraught anyway, as he allowed two base hits. The Mets got some breathing space in the ninth, when Pete Alonso launched his first round-tripper of the year, a balloon that just barely cleared the left field fence with Lindor aboard.

With a six-run lead, Manager Luis Rojas felt comfortable enough to give the ball to old friend Jeurys Familia. He shouldn’t ever be that comfortable. Familia allowed Haseley an infield dribbler that Lindor couldn’t handle and bloop over Alonso’s head by Hoskins. Alonso made a horrid throw into Hoskins’s body, which allowed Haseley to score. Familia got a big strikeout of pinch hitter Andrew McCutchen, but then walked Harper. J.T. Realmuto hit into a force play. Hoskins waltzed around to third on consecutive pitches on the wonderfully euphemistic “defensive indifference” play. Finally, Gregorious flied out to Nimmo in center to end the foolishness.

Always good to get a win on the books, even if the bullpen makes you sweat.

4:05 start tomorrow from Citizens Bank Ballpark for the series finale.

8 comments on “Gut Reaction: Mets 8, Phillies 4 — 4/6/21

  • SiteAdmin

    Still can’t get over the pitch that Smith hit for a homer. You don’t see guys go deep on a shoulder-high pitch all that often. Good to see the power from both Smith and Alonso.

    Stroman – 6 IP, 85 pitches
    3 relievers – 3 IP, 75 pitches

    At least Castro and May will be unavailable tomorrow. But I guess that puts Gsellman and Betances closer to action so be careful what you wish for

  • Metsense

    Gut Reaction: It was the second game featuring excellent starting pitching and that’s a good sign.
    When Stroman pitches then maybe Guillorme should start at 3B or 2B because of the ground ball propensity.
    It is good to see the Mets power hitters using all fields and hitting the ball where it is pitched. It is a more enjoyable game to watch.
    A sacrifice fly RBI and a steal of home. What will they think of next ?

  • BoomBoom

    Familia was wild but had velocity and he looks fit. Might be a surprise this year. Dont understand at all using Castro and May again last night.

  • MattyMets

    Anyone else notice how bad things seem to happen whenever Familia is on the mound? He doesn’t always get hit hard, but hitters always find a way on base against him. Hardly ever a clean inning. I wish he would throw some fastballs and cutters that he could locate instead of messing around with this slider/splitter/sinker repertoire that’s all over the place. A guy with his power should be blowing people away, not trying to finesse.

    • ChrisF

      Matt, Familia lost his command and control. To be effective he needs to make his pitches work at 97. He no longer can do that, which is apparent from being so wild. So, to get the ball somewhere near the strike zone he needs to try to “finesse” it in, making him susceptible to being hit like a pinada. He’s lost his Mojo. But its not recent – its been gone for some time, and not likely coming back.

      The look of May, Loup, Familia, Betances, Diaz means there will be some rough days ahead, especially with the extremely painful pre-scripted plan to believe relievers need to get 9 outs every game.

      More starters. Less relievers.

  • Bob P

    I was actually a little surprised at how good Familia looked to me. He seemed to have really good stuff, and wasn’t as wild as he can be. He walked Harper, but everyone walks Harper, and the 2 hits he gave up were a chopper over the mound into no mans land and a flair to right. If he has the same stuff all year, he could be serviceable. I agree with you Matt though, that no matter what he does, bad things happen.

  • Wobbit

    I take great solace that in 6 months I won’t have to see Familia pitch ever again.

    Betances also does not looks like an effective ML pitcher.

    SPs can throw 100+ pitches every five days and be stronger for it…

    • BobP

      I’m not ready to give up on Familia yet. I think he could be at least serviceable. His stuff looked good the other night and the two hits he gave up were a dribbler and a flair. I’m with you 100% on Betances.

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