Takeaways from the Mets 5-4 win over the Red Sox on Sunday…

Blake Swihart, Michael Cuddyer

The Mets salvaged the final game of their three-game series with the Red Sox on Sunday, defeating Boston by the score of 5-4 at Citi Field. Here are my takeaways from the win…

An intense rollercoaster ride with a pleasant conclusion.


The Mets certainly play their fair share of nail biters and entertaining ballgames, don’t they?

This one was nothing short of an emotional rollercoaster. Fortunately, the Mets found a way to break through and avoid getting swept for a second consecutive home series.

It started off at a very brisk pace, as the first five innings were played in just over an hour. Noah Syndergaard was lights out over the first five innings, and even helped his own cause with a run scoring single in the second inning.

Xander Bogaerts, David Ortiz, Anthony ReckerBut the Red Sox – who have their offense firing on all cylinders right now -would take the lead in the sixth inning, two-run home run by David Ortiz, his second of the series, and just like that, Syndergaard found himself behind.

But the Mets, who were struggling all weekend driving in runs with runners in scoring position, broke through against Wade Miley with three runs thanks to a two-run double from Juan Uribe in the bottom half of the sixth and a run scoring single from Anthony Recker.

Then in the seventh inning, Terry Collins decided to roll the dice with Syndergaard and ask for one more frame out of him with a pitch count nearing 100. He got the first two outs with relative ease, but he never got the third out.

Blake Swihart reached on an infield single with one out, and after Syndergaard got Alejandro De Aza on a flyout, Jackie Bradley Jr. doubled in Swihart to make it 4-3.

Then, Collins removed Syndergaard and inserted Hansel Robles, not Tyler Clippard. Robles seemingly got the out he needed against Mookie Betts on a flyball to left, but Michael Cuddyer got a horrible read on the ball, it fell in, and the game was tied again.

But Cuddyer made up for the mistake with a run scoring single in the bottom of the seventh to put the Mets back in front, a lead the Mets would not relinquish.

Of course, they nearly blew the lead again in the ninth thanks to Ruben Tejada double clutching a no-brainer groundball for the first out in the ninth inning. But Jeurys Familia held the fort, blinded Boston with his splitter, and shut the door.

Familia’s performance was just huge. He is unquestionably this team’ MVP in 2015.

Certainly, it was an intense afternoon at Citi Field. A few times though, it seemed as though this was going to end poorly for the Mets, but they showed that fight and grit they’ve had all year long to find a way to score just enough runs and win a ballgame they just had to have.

A valiant effort on #ThorsDay.

Noah SyndergaardSyndergaard was scintillating for the first five innings of this contest, mixing in all of his pitches against a very pesky Red Sox lineup and keeping all of them down in the process. Boston did very little with Syndergaard really until David Ortiz smoked his two-run home run against him in the sixth, who he was clearly trying to pitch around but made a mistake down 3-1 in the count, and Papi made him pay.

He induced 12 groundball outs on the day, doing a great job pitching to his defense with an escalated pitch count early.

Terry Collins asked a lot of Syndergaard in the seventh inning as he entered the frame nearing 90 pitches on the afternoon. But Collins clearly didn’t trust his seventh relief formula, and he asked Syndergaard to get three tough outs. He got two, but the Sox scored two runs with two outs to tie the game against the Mets, and erase a chance for a win for Syndergaard.

That seventh inning ruined a nice afternoon for Syndergaard. He battled and lost, and I’m sure he’s very frustrated with that outcome.

In fairness, he should’ve been at least in line for the win, but Cuddyer’s misplay cost the team the lead on a flyball off the bat of Mookie Betts which just had to be caught. It wasn’t and that was that.

A lot of good, and a little bad from Cuddyer.

The good news on Sunday was Cuddyer went 3-for-3 at the plate, and drove in the go-ahead run in the seventh inning for the Mets. The bad news is, he almost cost the Mets a game with a mysteriously poor break on a lazy flyball off the bat of Betts. Fortunately, he made up for it with that hit in the seventh, but he nearly ruined another solid effort at the plate.

He’s really been tremendous at the plate, really since injuring his knee against the Cubs. He’s played a lot less, and produced a lot more in this non-everyday role he’s now in. It helps a lot that there’s less pressure on him with this very deep roster, but perhaps most significant is he’s embraced this role and made the most of it.

It’s a testament to his character and his attitude, which has a lot of unspoken value to any team he’s on.

A must-win?

I’m not so sure that this fell into a true must-win game, but the Mets had stunk at home lately, losers of their last five games at Citi Field. Losing today would have meant being swept for the second consecutive series, not to mention potentially allowing Washington to pull back to within striking distance in the division.

They ran into a very hot team in the Red Sox, and boy did they play well in this series. They had excellent defense, timely hitting, and showed off their speed all weekend long, kind of stunning the Mets over the course the three games. But the Mets staved off an embarrassing sweep with an inspiring win on Sunday.

It was an important win, if not a must-win, and they got it.

Other notes from Sunday:

Cuddyer is now hitting .375 in 17 games since returning from the disabled list. His week included three multiple-hit games.

After going 1-for-15 in the first two games with runners in scoring position, the Mets went 4-for-12 with runners in scoring position on Sunday.

The Mets got 2 1/3 innings of scoreless relief on Sunday.

The Mets are now 54-9 when scoring four or more runs in a game.

Sunday was the 32nd come-from-behind win for the Mets in 2015, and their tenth in the month of August.

1 Comment

Another scary win. That makes all three games where starters deserved better fate. At least today they managed that extra offense but Collins once again has to make difficult choices and always comes up wrong. The mid relief bullpen is still a mess. Wearing out Clippard and Familia can hurt long term. Reminds me of the past. Whatever anyone says Collins scares me. Very unsure of himself and it shows.


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