The New York Mets interrupted their normally scheduled program of losing in order to snatch a 6-3 victory over their National League East division rival, the Philadelphia Phillies, on Monday. The Mets’ win was a callback to their earlier season exploits when they were artificially inflating their winning percentage by taking advantage of their mediocre division rivals, one of which was the Phillies. Thanks to the Phillies having been a disaster, the Mets have been able to have great success against them, earning wins where they might not have if they had been forced to square off against a superior opponent; including Monday’s victory, the Mets have put together a sterling 6-1 win-loss record in games against the Phillies. In addition to being a reminder of how fortunate the Mets are to be able to play against such lackluster competition on a regular basis, the Mets’ latest victory was a reminder of what this team looks like when they get balanced contributions.
In a rare occurrence, it was the Mets hitters who were the stars of the game as they powered the team to the decisive victory. For the season, the Mets have unsurprisingly possessed one of the worst run-producing offenses in the major leagues as injuries and not having very potent hitters in their line-up have served to deflate the numbers of runs they are likely to score in any individual game. But despite their overall ineffectiveness in their plate appearances, there have been moments where the Mets’ bats wake up long enough for the team to string together enough productive plate appearances to make a positive difference in the game.
On Monday, those moments came in multiple innings and were mixed in with some surprisingly powerful drives. Getting off to a great offensive start, the Mets used two singles and a hit batter in the first inning to push across their first run of the contest, taking an early lead. They would wrap up their scoring in a similar way as they scored their final three runs of the game following a single, a drawn walk, and then a Wilmer Flores three-run home run that broke a 3-3 tie, was worth .232 added in win probability, and drove the final nail in the coffin of the Phillies’ chances of winning. In between those runs that were scored as a result of bunching together positive plate appearances, the Mets scored two more runs off of solo home runs by Lucas Duda in the third inning and Michael Cuddyer in the fourth inning. Collectively, the Mets hitters were responsible for posting a .529 win probability added.
Any time the Mets hitters actually contribute something of value to a game is a cause for celebration, but the Mets had to be especially grateful for the efforts of their offense on Monday because Bartolo Colon was not at the height of his pitching powers in the game. Colon was not awful — he still put together a quality start and struck out six of the 26 batters that he faced — but he struggled when it came to stranding the eight base runners that he allowed. Pitching well on a fielding-independent basis did not help Colon as much as one would hope, and he was still responsible for conceding three earned runs because of a propensity for giving up too many hits in a row. In the second inning, three straight hits gave the Phillies two runs, and in the fifth inning, two straight singles allowed and then a sacrifice fly resulted in the Phillies scoring their third run and tying the game at 3-3.
But Colon’s slightly off night was not too inoffensive because the Mets offense made the most of their opportunities in the game, and the offense was able to save Colon from himself; the Mets hitters even gave Colon a win despite the fact that Colon posted a hurtful -.120 win probability added. At least for one night when the Mets did not receive an excellent outing from their starter, they were still able to find a way to win.
The Mets will have two more games against the Phillies in this series with which to earn easy wins, and if they can bottle up what they did on Monday and repeat it for the next two days, they might go a long way in erasing the horrid taste that has been in their mouths for the majority of May.