25 September 2016 – Philadelphia Phillies at New York Mets

The Phillies are bad and we all feel sad

Fernandez 16 jersey hanging in the Mets dugoutThe season is drawing to a close, which means it’s time for my annual pilgrimage to Citi Field. With just over a week left in the regular season, the Mets were in a tight race for a Wild Card spot. But that would not be the big story of the day.

It was 9am and I was standing on the train platform waiting to begin the 2 hour trip to Citi Field (after the usual 4 hour drive the day before). Checking Twitter, I started seeing cryptic tweets. Boating accident. José Fernandez killed. Confirmed.

José Fernandez was due to start the next day against the Mets. At 24, he had established himself as one of the game’s top pitchers. You would rather miss him in the rotation with a playoff spot on the line, but not like this. Never like this. How can this be real?

The Marlins would cancel their game that day. The Mets however would play on with a Fernandez 16 jersey taped up inside the dugout.

Box Score

Mets starting lineup featuring pitcher Without Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler, or even Jon Niese, the Mets have had to lean heavily on rookie Robert Gsellman. Gsellman started the season with Binghamton and now looks to be a key component of the Mets’ postseason rotation. Too bad he can’t get a proper card for the lineup display…

Robert Gsellman pitchingWhat he can do however is dominate the Phillies. After letting a runner reach third in the top of the 1st on a single/passed ball/stolen base, Gsellman settled in and only allowed three more baserunners over the next six innings, striking out 8.

Jay Bruce sliding into homeOn the other side of things… Some wins are great to watch, others just seem like an unfair matchup that never should have been allowed to happen. The game stayed close for the first three innings, with the Mets’ only run coming from Jay Bruce scoring on a double play. Then a solo home run, bases loaded walk, bases loaded single, bases loaded hit by pitch, and a bases loaded wild pitch made it 6-0 after 5.

Home Run Apple and The 7 Line ArmyIf it had ended there, it would have been a solid win and a slight embarrassment for Philadelphia. These things happen. But it didn’t end there. The Mets loaded the bases again in the 7th and were issued another bases loaded walk before Asdrubal Cabrera raised the apple. 11-0 seems like beating up on a team that has called it quits after a long and disappointing season.

Fernando Salas PitchingFernando Salas took over for the 8th and struck out the side. Back to work…

Scoreboard at the end of the 8th inningWith an 11-run lead, the Mets did the sensible thing and pulled their starters so the AAA team could get some reps in before hitting the showers. And so they batted around, loading the bases twice and scoring 6 more runs. Well, they tried…

Jerry Blevins pitchingThe job of holding a 17-run lead fell to Jerry Blevins. Three batters later…

High fives after the gameAnd that’s the game. The Mets set a new shutout record in their final regular season game at Citi Field. But Citi Field’s gates aren’t shut for the season just yet.

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