The San Diego Padres will continue, and the 101-win New York Mets will return home. Sunday night, the Padres dominated the Mets in Match 3 of their Wild Card Series game (SD 6, NY 0). Padres righty Joe Musgrove was dominant despite the Mets’ efforts to throw him out of rhythm, and the offense seemed to pick up every hit in time.
New York has only fielded two key players into the game – one and walks into separate innings – and Padres is the first team ever to throw a single hitter in a post-season game. They will now face the Los Angeles Dodgers when the NLDS begins on Tuesday.
Here are four takeaways from Game 3.
The Mets asked to check Musgrove for sticky stuff
She smelled of despair. With his team losing 4-0 in the sixth game, Mets manager Buck Showalter asked the umpires to check Padres righty Joe Musgrove for foreign material. Musgrove was dealing—only one main player was allowed at the time—and Showalter was doing what he could to disable him or, ideally, get him out of the game.
did not work. The referees checked Musgrove, including touching his ears, and he stayed in the game. He pointed to the Mets’ bunker after a strike later in the inning, then pointed with his ears toward the crowd as he walked off the field after the inning.
Managers were always able to ask the stewards to check the jug for foreign substances, although they rarely did because it was mutually guaranteed to be destroyed. All The team has pitchers that use exotic materials, and if you check someone else’s pitcher, they will ask to check your pitcher. It’s the world’s way, which is why so few foreign material checks are required.
For what it’s worth, Musgrove’s speed and spin rates went up in Game 3, although the increases were within the range of normal start-to-start swings, And within the range he showed during the regular season. Also, it is a post-season elimination game. There is adrenaline. Showing Musgrove an increase in speed isn’t the most surprising thing in the world given the circumstances.
In the end, Musgrove dominated before and after examining foreign materials. He allowed one run and walk seven clean runs otherwise, and the Mets had no runner making it a third rule. According to MLB.comMusgrove is the first bowler in history to throw at least seven innings with no more than two hits allowed in a postseason game winning takes it all.
(Does it mean to point out that the Mets were part of the three-team trade that sent Musgrove from Pirates to Padres two years ago? They sent catcher/defender Endy Rodriguez to the Pirates and take in Joey Lucchesi from San Diego. MLB.com now ranks Rodriguez as the 97th potential baseball player. Lucchesi is rehabilitating from Tommy John’s surgery).
San Diego continued out on Bassett
The first half couldn’t be better for the Mets and Chris Bassett. Three up, three down on just seven pitches. Things got suspicious after that. Padres built Rally on a single ball and two straight runs per second, then hitter No. 9 Austin Nola pulled a two-stroke ball through the left side to score twice. .
Next, Bassett in the first inning faced 15 hitters and hit six baseballs, and six of the 10 balls in play had an exit velocity of 95 mph or better. He made 61 shots and Padres swung and missed twice. Bassett cheated no one in Game 3 and went out with the Mets 3-0 after four rounds. A disappointing end to what has been a very good regular season for a free agent.
Also, either by design or by chance, Padres hitters came out of the box a lot — a lot — against Bassett. It has never been a particularly fast worker, although it does run so slowly that hitters often lose patience in the box. San Diego got out enough to ask Mets manager Buck Showalter about it during an in-game ESPN interview (he said he didn’t mind).
My guess – and I confirm this is just a guess – is that whatever comes out was intentional. Padres captain led Bob Melvin Bassett with athletics from 2015 to 21, so he knows him well, and that means knowing what’s going on under his skin. I don’t want to say all the steps out got bogged down and Bassett explained a subpar outing, but the San Diego hitters demanded time at an excessive rate.
Gresham did more damage
There’s no such thing as a Wild Card Series MVP, but if there was, Trent Grisham would have won it this weekend. Max Scherzer took it deep in Game 1, Jacob deGrom took it deep in Game 2, then drove in a two-man run against Bassitt in Game 3. And because that wasn’t enough, he saved a run with a massive running catch in the position in the fifth.
The big weekend in Gresham comes after a normal, awful season. He hit .184/.284/.341 this year, ranking 126th on the OPS out of 130 hitters with enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title. Although the postseason clean record. Every team 0-0 and every hitter has a new slash. Grisham made it to the base four times in Game 3 and went 4 vs. 8 with two house holders, two walks, and zero loss in the Wild Card series.
Soto and McNeill did something extraordinary
You never know what you’ll see when you show up on the field every day, and in Game 3, Juan Soto and Jeff McNeill did something extraordinary. Unusual for them, at least. First, Solo put a sacrifice blow! He’s trying to chase the hit with the third baseman to the back and dipped in a short direction, but it goes into the record books as a sack hit. It’s Soto’s first kicker since his rookie year in 2018, and only the second of his MLB career. Mane Machado, the next mixture, is individual in the race. He then led Soto in two lock-ups with one in the eighth.
And the second, McNeil hit! He’s been in 60 matches – since September 20 – without ever coming out. That’s eternity considering the league’s strike rate these days. McNeil has made just 10.4 percent of his roster appearances this year, the third lowest among eligible hitters and well below the league average of 22.4 percent. Unfortunately, McNeil’s attack came at a bad time – with a runner in first and no win in fifth. He helped put down a potential rally.
As noted, the Padres are going to Los Angeles to play Dodgers in the NLDS and the Mets are going home. The Wild Card Series has officially ended and the next Division Series will begin. Game 1 at Dodger Stadium – the first game from every Division series, and it should be noted – is scheduled for Tuesday. Here’s the full postseason schedule.
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