NEW YORK — The trumpets blared early at Citi Subject on Saturday evening. The bullpen gates opened for Mets nearer Edwin Díaz after the sixth inning. And when Díaz escaped hassle within the high of the seventh, the Padres had a choice to make.
Trailing by a run, supervisor Bob Melvin may’ve requested high-leverage relievers Luis García and Robert Suarez to cowl the following couple of innings. However that alternative got here with an inherent threat. If the Padres couldn’t make up that deficit, they’d have burned two of their greatest relievers for a second straight evening – in a shedding trigger, no much less – placing their Sport 3 standing in jeopardy.
As an alternative, Melvin tried to make do with the remainder of his bullpen — with Adrian Morejon and Pierce Johnson within the recreation’s decisive moments. That plan unraveled rapidly, and the Mets broke Sport 2 of the Wild Card Collection open with a four-run seventh inning.
And abruptly, with their 7-3 loss to the Mets on Saturday evening, the Padres’ season hangs within the stability. They’re one win from a visit to Los Angeles for the NL Division Collection. They’re one loss from the top.
“It’s Sport 165 tomorrow,” stated Padres third baseman Manny Machado. “Simply go on the market and play baseball. We’ve been working since Spring Coaching to get right here. It’s going to return down to at least one final recreation.”
Melvin’s strikes didn’t repay within the quick time period. However there is likely to be a long-term payoff. The Padres could have Joe Musgrove on the mound for Sunday’s decisive Sport 3. They’ll even have García and Suarez rested and raring to go because the bridge to nearer Josh Hader, who has but for use on this sequence.
“Tomorrow,” Melvin stated, “he’s going to be on this recreation.”
The Mets, in the meantime, are theoretically in the identical place because the Padres, one win from a flight to Los Angeles. However they used Díaz to report 5 outs and Adam Ottavino for 4. They gained Saturday evening — which was their solely objective. However the Padres hope it got here at a price.
“We’ll really feel good,” Melvin stated. “Clearly we’d have appreciated to have completed a little bit higher tonight. It was an in depth recreation there within the center innings and acquired away from us within the seventh. We put some actually good at-bats collectively within the ninth to place some pitches on a few of their guys.
“However, look, it’s winner-take-all tomorrow, and I believe they’ll most likely prolong their guys though they pitched some as we speak.”
In fact, Melvin’s late-game quandary may’ve been prevented, had the Padres not fallen behind towards Mets ace Jacob deGrom. They’d undoubtedly have burned by means of all of their greatest relievers in a tie recreation (or with the lead).
However left-hander Blake Snell struggled, placing the bullpen in a bind. He wanted 90 pitches to finish simply 3 1/3 innings of two-run ball. Snell set a franchise postseason report with six walks. He was squeezed a bit within the fourth inning, however he additionally did himself no favors together with his incapacity to search out the strike zone.
“Fairly pissed off with my launch level on the fastball,” Snell stated. “I simply couldn’t discover it for no matter cause. … It was only a powerful, powerful evening.”
Twice, the Padres tied the sport after Snell had allowed a run — on Trent Grisham’s solo homer within the third and Jurickson Profar’s RBI single within the fifth. Grisham’s residence run made him simply the third Padre to homer in consecutive postseason video games (becoming a member of Ken Caminiti in 1996 and Jim Leyritz, who homered in three straight, in ’98).
However Snell was chased within the fourth, and Pete Alonso’s go-ahead solo homer off Nick Martinez put the Mets on high for good within the fifth. The Padres had their probabilities. They put males on the corners with one out within the fifth, however deGrom whiffed Machado and Josh Bell. Then, with Díaz within the recreation within the seventh, Juan Soto grounded out with the tying run on second.
If there’s something the Padres can take solace in, it’s this: They compelled Díaz to throw 28 pitches and Ottavino, the Mets’ No. 2 bullpen weapon, to throw a further 30, as they introduced the tying run to the plate within the ninth. The Mets had their backs towards the wall, and Buck Showalter managed prefer it.
“We have now to get this one beneath our belt,” Showalter stated when requested of his resolution to make use of Díaz so aggressively.
Now, the Padres should flip the web page. And rapidly. On Sunday, they’ll play the third winner-take-all postseason recreation in franchise historical past. Musgrove, their $100 million man, will get the ball first. Behind him, the Padres can line up García and Suarez because the bridge to Hader.
The Padres didn’t wish to be enjoying a Sport 3 in any respect. But when they need to, these are the circumstances they’d choose.
“If there’s one factor this group has completed all yr, it’s bounce again after a loss,” stated second baseman Jake Cronenworth. “We’ve acquired Joe going for us tomorrow. I don’t assume anyone on this clubhouse would need anyone else.”