Todd Frazier drove in all three runs Tuesday night at Citi Field and a 3-2 win for the Mets over the Diamondbacks kept their NL wild card hopes alive. But this was one of those nail biters in late September and the Mets know they need every one they can get.
Zack Wheeler was consistent again. The Mets need these types of starts down this stretch with his seven strong innings. With 18 games remaining, and trailing the Cubs by 3-½ games as the night concluded, the bullpen also needs to step up.
So manager Mickey Callaway stayed away from Edwin Diaz, the supposed closer. Seth Lugo was not available after earning a six- out save the night before as the Mets won another crucial game against a team that is closing in on the Cubs.
“Not saying we’re going to run from Diaz, he’s going to get his chances too,” Callaway said. “It’s a very difficult decision.” That decision worked as Justin Wilson recorded the final four outs and he worked for it without his best stuff.
Wilmer Flores swung through a cutter. The tying and potential leading runs were left on base and the Mets got another win that was needed.
And these are the decisions, crucial for Callaway, more so for his team that still has hope as these important games continue to be played this week at Citi Field.
No secret, the Mets starters need to go deep when the lead is at hand. Frazier, the veteran, provided Wheeler with the support. A two-run double in the second inning and one for an RBI in the fourth inning, multiple doubles for the 14th time in his career.
“You got to win games no matter what it looks like,” Frazier said. “There’s nothing we can do but try and win games.”
And the Mets have to win games. They hope to go an another streak, though the task will be difficult after winning these last two against the Diamondbacks with two more remaining before the Dodgers come in for three.
Oh, those Los Angeles Dodgers are fighting the Yankees and Astros for best record in baseball and Tuesday night clinched their seventh consecutive NL West division title. So the task will be difficult for the Mets and they know.
And every decision made by Mickey Callaway could determine where this goes. Like not using Diaz in that ninth inning and giving trust to Wilson. Frazier in the lineup instead of J.D. Davis, and that decision will continue. Callaway hopes the same results will come as they did Tuesday night.
You get to this point and there is no room for questioning decisions. But this one, may have been easy in that ninth inning, Lugo was not available, and Diaz could not be trusted to let this one get away.
“Right now, we have to win that day,” Callaway said. “We’ll do anything to do that.”
Wilson allowed two singles in the ninth and Edwin Diaz was warming up. But not this time. It’s September and not April.
He just kind of willed that game, that save,” Callaway said.
“Interesting ninth, for sure,” Wilson said. “Interesting eighth too. Late in the season everything kind of goes. We’ve got to win games.”
And the Mets won this game. Like it or not, Edwin Diaz has to realize there no longer is time for failure and this was not his game to save.
“We called down there in the eighth and asked Wilson if he could get four outs for us and he did,”Callaway said.
This does not mean the end of Edwin Diaz, for sure he is still in the mix. But the save tomorrow night, if presented, will go to Seth Lugo. Simply put, the Mets got this win because Justin Wilson could do what Edwin Diaz has failed to accomplish.
It’s decision time now and the manager has to go with his best.