NEW YORK – The Subway Series is something special.
In the Mets 6-3 win over the Yankees in Game 1, the players fed off the energy of a sold out crowd that was into every pitch thrown, creating a “World Series” type atmosphere. The Mets, who were playing in front of a significant amount of visiting Yankees fans, still had the Flushing Faithful behind them, which fueled a key victory over the Bronx Bombers.
The Mets have struggled to create runs for over a month now, and newest addition DH Daniel Vogelbach was sitting on the bench because the team was facing a lefty. However, the Mets’ bats were able to get to one of the Yankees’ most consistent starters in Jordan Montgomery.
After falling behind 2-0 thanks to back-to-back jacks by AL MVP candidate Aaron Judge and first baseman Anthony Rizzo, the Mets responded soon after.
In the bottom half, the Mets put up a four spot on Montgomery via Starling Marte’s solo shot, back-to-back doubles from Francisco Lindor and Pete Alonsoand the cherry on top, a two-run blast by Eduardo Escobar.
The Mets ultimately put up five runs off Montgomery, who lasted just 2 1/3 on 71 pitches.
As for Walker, the All-Star caliber hurler didn’t have his best stuff, but gutted through a quality start and got the win.
Walker escaped a bases loaded jam in the fourth, in which he and the Mets wisely walked Judge with first base open, before inducing a warning track fly out by Rizzo to end the threat. However, Rizzo’s fly out was only a few feet shy of being a go-ahead grand slam.
From there, the righty was able to pitch two more scoreless innings, finishing his night after six frames, 101 pitches, three earned runs, two homers allowed, three strikeouts and one walk.
Due to the All-Star break last week, Walker went 10 days in between outings. Admittedly, it was challenging to get back into the swing of things, but he was able to do so in his final two innings of work.
“The break was nice; but I feel like I was in a pretty good groove going in, so having 10 days off kind of throws you off a little bit,” Walker said. “So it just took me a little while to settle down, but in that fifth and sixth was able to do so and get into my groove.”
Max Scherzer Also helped out by going up to Walker after a difficult fourth inning, and telling him “it happens, just reset.” From there, Walker was able to cruise a bit, before handing things off to the bullpen.
Although it wasn’t easy, Adam Ottavino gave the Mets an important 1 2/3 shutout innings, before elite closer Edwin Diaz entered with two outs in the eighth to strikeout Joey Gallo.
In the bottom half, Jeff McNeil snapped an 0-for-19 skid to drive in a key insurance run, increasing the Mets’ lead to 6-3 with an opposite field two-out RBI single.
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Fast forward to the top of the ninth, and Diaz, who has arguably been the best closer in the game, struck out DJ LeMahieulost control of a comeback dribbler by Judge, but recovered to strikeout Rizzo and Gleyber Torres to notch his 22nd save of the season.
Diaz of course was fantastic again, and was unfazed, despite facing a high-powered Yankees lineup.
“I’m prepared to face anyone,” Diaz said of facing the Yankees. “I’m thinking I’m the best on the mound.”
Diaz’s error allowed Judge to reach first base on a weak grounder, but he more than held his own against the best hitter in baseball.
“I threw my fastball down the middle, he fouled it off a few times. He’s having an MVP season so it was fun to face him today,” Diaz said of facing Judge.
Admittedly, he would’ve thrown different pitches or located them elsewhere had Judge represented the tying or go-ahead run at the plate. Alas, he still prevented the most dangerous hitter in the game, who already homered earlier in the night, from doing any damage.
Diaz has struck out 81 batters in 40 2/3 innings this season. He has a 1.55 ERA and a 0.93 WHIP.
The Mets are now 60-37 on the season with a two game lead over the Atlanta Braves in the NL East. They sent a message to their crosstown rivals in Game 1 of the Subway Series, which could be a potential preview of this year’s World Series, should both first place teams prevail in the next few months.
Scherzer will take the hill on Wednesday night against Domingo German as the Mets go for the Subway Series two-game sweep.
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