FLUSHING, August 7th – The Miami Marlins continued their winning ways by defeating the New York Mets 4-3 at a rainy Citi Field. The Marlins have won seven straight games and sit on top of the National League East by one game over the Atlanta Braves. This is the latest in any season that the Marlins have been in first place in their history.
One Bad Inning For Wacha
Michael Wacha started for the Mets and pitched five innings taking the loss. But it was a tale of two games for the right-hander. After a dominant first inning where Wacha struck out the side, the Marlins put up a four-spot in the second inning. With one out Wacha walked Brian Anderson. Matt Joyce followed with an infield single. Up next was Francisco Cervelli who hit a first-pitch three-run home run to right field.
Wacha got Logan Forsythe to fly out to deep centerfield. Magneuris Sierra walked on four pitches and Jonathan Villar doubled him home to close out the scoring for the Marlins on the night. If you take out the second inning Wacha was dominant. In total Wacha gave up four runs on six hits and two walks with nine punchouts in his five innings of work. But he threw 98 pitches and often times had trouble putting away Marlins hitters.
Another Marlins Debut
On the hill for the Marlins was Humberto Mejia making his major league debut. Mejia, who has not pitched above Single-A, pitched well in his debut. In two and a third innings Mejia gave up one run on two hits with two walks and six strikeouts. Mejia also had problems putting away Mets hitters. After getting a four-run lead in the top of the second inning Mejia served up a booming one-out solo home run to Dominic Smith. After walking Wilson Ramos, Mejia caught both Andres Gimenez and Amed Rosario looking with a wicked curveball on a 3-2 count.
The number eight was the theme for the Marlins on this night. The Marlins have played eight games this season and have used eight different starting pitchers. Also tonight with Mejia’s start it was the eighth Marlins player to make their major league debut in the Marlins eight game of the season. Due to COVID-19 breakout within the team, the Marlins had a layoff after their opening three-game series of the season. How long was the layoff? You guessed it. Eight days.
Mets Missed Opportunities
As usual, the Mets wasted several scoring opportunities. Pete Alonso narrowly missed hitting a home run in the bottom of the first inning as the ball hit off the top of the wall. Alonso was stranded at second after Michael Conforto struck out to end the inning.
In the third inning, Brandon Nimmo walked. Conforto hit a two-out bloop towards the left-field line. Marlins left fielder Corey Dickerson who was playing deep ran towards the ball. Not only did Dickerson have to prevent his feet from skidding on the wet grass, but he also let the ball get by him. Nimmo slid into third missed an opportunity to score. With second and third and two outs J.D. Davis struck out to end the inning.
Eighth Inning Rally Falls Short
But the biggest miss came in the bottom of the eighth inning. Rosario doubled leading off the inning. Brian Dozier pinch-hitting for Nimmo drew a walk on a very questionable pitch 3-2 pitch. Replays showed the pitch was a strike but it was called a ball. The table was set for the Mets team leader in batting average Jeff McNeil. McNeil swinging at the first pitch hit a scorching line drive to second. Marlins second baseman Eddy Alvarez leaped and snared the line-drive out of mid-air.
Alonso slapped a single to right field. Lewis Brinson who was playing shallow was able to hold Rosario to third. Conforto was up next with the bases loaded and he hit a groundball to third basemen, Brian Anderson. Anderson fired the ball home and it sailed past Cervelli. Rosario scored to cut the lead to 4-2. With the bases still loaded the Marlins went to their bullpen and brought in Nick Vincent.
J.D. Davis singled hard to left field scoring Dozier. The lead is now 4-3. Mets team leader in RBI, Dominic Smith, was up next. Smith flied out to shallow centerfield. It was not deep enough to score Alonso. With two outs Ramos was up next. Ramos hit a bullet to Alvarez who knocked it down and threw out the slow-footed catcher to end the threat. Vincent would retire the Mets in order to close out the game.
This was yet another game the Mets should have won but didn’t. With a 5-9 record, the Mets desperately need to string some wins together. They are currently sitting in last place five games out of first and four games out of second. The Mets had six hits on the night and struck out 11 times. Pete Alonso went 2-4 and is showing signs of breaking out of his season-long slump.
Dominic Smith started at first base as Alonso was the designated hitter. This was the first time all season that Alonso was not playing first. Earlier in the day, Alonso was fielding groundballs at third. The Mets are trying to get Smith more playing time. J.D. Davis started at third base for the third straight game. Jeff McNeil started in left field and this was the first time he has played outfield this season. Andres Gimenez started at second base for the first time this season. Gimenez has now started games at second, third, and short as Mets manager Luis Rojas continues to find playing time for the rookie.
The Mets bullpen was a bright spot. The combination of Chasen Shreve, Jared Hughes, and Edwin Diaz combined for four scoreless innings giving up only one hit and two walks with seven strikeouts. Diaz was very sharp in his one inning allowing no baserunners with two strikeouts. All six outs in the first inning were strikeouts.
The Marlins and Mets are back at it again on Saturday. The Mets are sending rookie David Peterson (1-1 3.66) to the mound. The Marlins have not announced who will be starting as of yet. The Mets made some roster moves prior to Friday’s game. Robert Gsellman was activated from the injured list and Daniel Zamora was optioned to the Brooklyn taxi squad. Additionally, infielder, Luis Carpio was added to the 60-man roster, and Ryan Cordell, who was designated for assignment on Wednesday, cleared waivers and will remain with the Mets.
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