A game pitting Chris Bassitt — the Mets’ leader in innings pitched — against Sandy Alcantara, the National League Cy Young frontrunner, featured seven runs in the first two innings.
Both pitchers recovered to keep the game from getting out of hand, but a night that began on a strange foot ended on an even stranger one when Eduardo Escobar’s infield single did not get overturned on replay, leading to Brandon Nimmo’s go-ahead two run home run. That secured a 6-4 win for the Mets and pushed the Marlins even deeper into seller territory ahead of baseball’s busiest day.
The home run for Nimmo is yet another feather in his cap. Putting together the best season of his career, and one of the better seasons of any NL outfielder, his left-on-left homer came exactly when his team needed it. That’s been Nimmo’s whole shtick this season, whether it’s an eye-popping defensive play or a clutch hit in the game’s waning hours.
Nimmo entered Friday night’s contest carrying an .867 OPS with runners in scoring position, second on the team only to Pete Alonso. After Escobar was moved to second on Tomas Nido’s sac bunt, Nimmo found himself in a position to close in on Alonso. A towering, 406-foot jack will help.
After Nimmo’s valor, Adam Ottavino, Trevor Williams and Edwin Diaz locked the Marlins down to give Bassitt the type of relief he deserved. Bassitt willed his way through six innings thanks to a healthy dose of his trademark gumption. A season-high four walks put him in some tricky situations, especially when two of them came around to touch home, but fighting back to get through six frames was a tremendous boon for a Mets’ bullpen that’s currently held together with paper clips, chewing gum and minor league call-ups.
On an evening at loanDepot Park where fans were given cowbells to inject some life into the Marlins’ library, Bassitt dealt not only with his own lack of command, but also a blooper that became a three-run double and singles through the shift that left him visibly unhappy.
Still, when a 4-6-3 double play ended the Marlins’ threat in the sixth inning (and his night), Bassitt had himself another game to be proud of. He departed with the Mets tied at four, entering the final third of the game against a team that has lost close games all season. Wouldn’t you know it, the Marlins did it again.
Starting this road trip with a win only builds the excitement in the Mets’ clubhouse about what’s to come. The first of Billy Eppler’s deadline deals looks like a stroke of genius thus far. Daniel Vogelbach was not intimidated by Alcantara at all. In fact, after this one, it’s Alcantara who might go to sleep with terrifying images of Vogelbach in his head. The Mets’ new designated hitter obliterated two baseballs on Friday, one at 110 miles per hour and the other at 108. They were the hardest hit balls of the night and both became doubles.
Vogelbach had two extra base hits in five plate appearances on Friday. J.D. Davis and Dom Smith, the men who Vogelbach is largely replacing at DH, have zero in their last 46 plate appearances. Neither of Vogey’s times on base led to him scoring a run though, thanks mostly to Luis Guillorme’s lackluster night at the plate. Getting the start at third base against a right-handed pitcher — something that is likely to happen a lot more down the stretch — Guillorme went 0-for-3 and left four runners on base. Ironically, it was Escobar’s pinch-hit single in place of Guillorme that sparked the game-winning rally.
The next few days will not lack for excitement, even if the Mets don’t match that with a move that reciprocates it. As they showed on Friday, though, what they have can be enough so long as someone remembers to bring their superhero cape. It was Nimmo for this one in Miami, it could very well be Jacob deGrom on Tuesday in DC, and maybe in October it will be someone currently playing for a different team.