Every time the New York Mets take the field against the Philadelphia Phillies, they are the betting favorites, and Tuesday’s contest that pitted the two division rivals against each other was no exception. In fact, it hued more closely to the rule than many other games between the two clubs because of the multiple advantages that the Mets held over the Phillies. There was the fact that the Mets had starting pitcher Jacob deGrom on the mound at home where he has been virtually untouchable and then there was the fact that the Phillies are who they continue to be: a mediocre team with no chance of finishing with anywhere close to a .500 winning percentage. And although the Mets earned the victory they were preordained to earn by knocking off the Phillies 5-4, it took them 10 innings before they could accomplish that feat because they had to overcome the embarrassing collapse they suffered.
Before it all went horribly wrong for the Mets, which forced the team to earn two victories in order to garner a single win, things were going swimmingly as the game played out exactly how they wanted it to. deGrom lived up to his reputation of being an otherwordly pitcher when he is throwing at Citi Field and he sailed through the first seven innings of his start. Through the first seven innings of his appearance, deGrom was lights-out as he scattered four hits, struck out nine of the 24 batters he faced, did not walk a single batter, refused to concede a run, and also kept the Phillies from advancing past first base. It was as comprehensively fantastic a performance as a team could ask for from their starting pitcher.
Not only did the Mets receive a pitching masterpiece from deGrom during the first seven innings of the game, but the Mets hitters were at their most competent for that portion of the contest. In the third inning, the Mets did a great job of clustering their plate appearances to score their first three runs of the game thanks to three singles and two walks, with all three of the runs coming with two outs. The Mets were not quite so adept with their other plate appearances, but those three runs looked like they would be all the run support that deGrom and the rest of the pitching staff would need to help the Mets continue their winning ways.
Unfortunately for the Mets, disaster struck in the eighth inning and it almost cost the team a victory. deGrom only retired one of the three base runners that he faced in the eighth inning before being removed from the contest with runners on first and second bases with one out. When deGrom departed, the Mets held a win probability of 90.1 percent and the Phillies had a run expectancy of just 0.80 for the inning. Reliever Hansel Robles did not enter the contest under ideal conditions, but the Mets were still in a favorable spot.
That is, until Robles got to pitching and it soon became clear that his stuff had deserted him. To the first batter he faced, he served up a two-RBI triple and then for an encore, he surrendered an RBI single to the second batter he faced. Two batters into the game for Robles and what had been a 3-0 lead for the Mets became a 3-3 tie. Robles was promptly taken out of the game after that, but the virus that had infected both deGrom and Robles continued to wreak havoc on the Mets pitchers in the eighth inning. Relievers Alex Torres and Carlos Torres combined to concede the Phillies’ fourth run of the inning after each one of them gave up a single that allowed the base runner they had inherited from Robles to score.
With the pitching having betrayed the team, it was up to the hitters to salvage the win, and surprisingly, considering how anemic the Mets offense looks most of the time, they were able to do so. In the bottom of the eighth inning, the Mets used a walk, a double, and a sacrifice fly to tie the game at 4-4 and help send it into extra innings where the Mets offense continued to shine. With the score still deadlocked at 4-4 entering the bottom of the 10th inning, the Mets broke the tie for good when Wilmer Flores drove in the winning run with an RBI single.
The Mets are still clearly superior to the Phillies, but they almost gave the game away with an inexplicable collapse. However, the Phillies are so bad this season that even when a team experiences a slip-up, that team is still likely to be able to rally and end up with a victory anyway, which is what the Mets were able to accomplish as they continue to try to remain relevant this season.