A night after getting dominated by Clayton Kershaw, the Mets hosted Game 2 of their weekend series against the Dodgers, this time featuring the major league debut of their touted outfield prospect, Michael Conforto.
Southpaw Jon Niese climbed the hill for his 19th start of the season, and was opposed by Los Angeles pitcher Ian Thomas, whom made only his 8th appearance of the season, and his first major league start.
Jul 24, 2015; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets left fielder Michael Conforto (30) reacts at bat against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the seventh inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports
Unfortunately, Jon Niese‘s night at the office started badly, then worsened in the 2nd inning, and completely fell apart by the 3rd. On a happier, more personal note, Niese departed Citi Field with haste in order to be with his expecting wife back in Ohio.
The Mets clawed back to make it a 6-2 game after 6 innings, but failed to muster much else.
Old foe Jimmy Rollins, then punctuated the Dodgers’ evening with a home run in the 8th inning, giving Los Angeles their 7-2 margin of victory.
Mets Starting Lineup:
Jon Niese fanned lead-off batter Joc Pederson on three pitches to open the game. Second baseman Howie Kendrick followed with an infield single off Niese’s glove. Justin Turner then stroked a double into the right/center field gap, scoring Kendrick despite a close play at home.
Left fielder Enrique Hernandez and Jimmy Rollins led-off the 2nd with back-to-back singles. Catcher Austin Barnes was then hit by a pitch to load the bases. Pitcher Ian Thomas then bounced into a 4-6-3 double play, with Hernandez scoring on the play. Next, Joc Pederson doubled to right, scoring Rollins.
With 2-outs in the bottom of the 2nd, Michael Conforto lined sharply to first base in his first MLB at-bat.
- Jon Niese‘s night ended after facing just 17 batters over 3 innings pitched. He threw 61 pitches with 41 (67%) going for strikes, but averaged 20.3 pitches per frame. He allowed 6 earned runs on 8 hits (2 home runs), walked one, and fanned one.
Carlos Torres entered the game in relief of Niese in the top of the 4th.
L.A.’s Ian Thomas (making his 1st MLB start!) faced 13 batters through his first 4 innings pitched, limited the Mets to just 2 hits, and fanned 5 batters.
The Mets finally plated a run in the 5th, delivered by none other than Michael Conforto. Lucas Duda led-off with a double to left, then advanced on Juan Lagares‘ grounder to short. Conforto followed with a grounder to second base, scoring Duda.
With 2-outs in the bottom of the 6th, Ruben Tejada connected on his second hit of the game. He then stole second base, and scored on Daniel Murphy‘s base hit, making it a 6-2 Mets deficit. Wilmer Flores followed with a single. Lucas Duda then fanned against reliever Juan Nicasio ending the threat.
Hansel Robels entered the game in relief of Carlos Torres in the 7th.
In the top of the 8th, Jimmy Rollins deposited a Robles fastball into the Pepsi Porch for a 7-2 Dodgers lead.
Alex Torres entered the game to pitch the 9th inning.
- Jon Niese took the loss. His record now stands at 5-9, while his ERA grew from 3.36, to a 3.75 mark.
- Top 1st inning – With 1-out, Howie Kendrick reached safely on an infield single, and scored on a double by Justin Turner.
- Top 2nd inning – Leading-off, Enrique Hernandez singled. Jimmy Rollins singled. Austin Barnes was HBP, loading the bases. Ian Thomas bounced into a 4-6-3 DP, Hernandez scored. Joc Pederson doubled, Rollins scored.
- Top 3rd inning – Justin Turner hit a lead-off home run to left. With Scott Van Slyke on first, Yasiel Puig stroked another home run to left.
- Bottom 5th inning – Lucas Duda hit a lead-off double. Juan Lagares advanced him to third. Duda scored on Michael Conforto‘s grounder to second base.
- Bottom 6th inning – With 2-outs, Ruben Tejada singled, and stole second base. Daniel Murphy‘s single scored Tejada from second base.
- Top 8th inning – Jimmy Rollins solo home run.
- Dodgers 7; METS 2
- Dodgers’ starter Zack Greinke was scheduled to pitch Friday’s game. He is presently on paternity leave, but is still scheduled to pitcher either Saturday’s or Sunday’s game.
- Jon Niese started on 4 days rest, and it showed. Mr. and Mrs. Niese are also expecting a newborn very shortly. Niese, however, elected to pitch Friday evening’s game, but his performance might have indicated a preoccupation with his wife’s condition back home in Ohio (preparing for their baby’s arrival). Otherwise, Jon’s was the shortest outing for a Mets starter this season. He surrendered 5 hits (2 home runs) to the first 10 batters he faced. After just 3 innings of work, he understandably departed Citi Field with haste.
- Highly touted outfield prospect Michael Conforto made his much-anticipated Major League debut. He previously played in just 133 minor league games, which included a mere 45 games with (AA)-Binghamton upon his call-up. He was issued uniform #30, and became the 1,000th player in Mets history. He was treated to a rousing ovation as he appraoched his first at-bat in the 2nd inning. In the 5th, he drove in the Mets first run of the game.
- The new rule banning catchers from blocking the plate without the ball definitely came into play during the 1st inning. Howie Kendrick barely evaded Kevin Plawecki‘s tag upon receiving an accurate relay throw from Wilmer Flores. Under the old system, Plawecki could have easily blocked the plate with time to receive the ball, thus preventing a potential run. Curtis Granderson, Flores, and Plawecki later connected, however, in throwing out Enrique Hernandez at the plate on a near identical play in the 5th.
- Justin Turner continued his revenge against the Mets, with 2 doubles, a home run, and 2 RBI.
- Ruben Tejada picked up where he left off. After getting his 10-game hitting streak snapped on Thursday, Ruben went 2 for 4 on Friday, and is now 16 for his last 50, for a .320 average over his last 12 games.
- JON NIESE UPDATE: His wife gave birth to a baby boy! Congratulations!
7/25 – Saturday, 7:10pm
Dodgers @ METS
TBD vs. Matt Harvey