Fewer than three weeks ago, the New York Mets yielded a franchise-record 25 runs to the Nationals in a game that hit its nadir when shortstop Jose Reyes took the mound and allowed six runs.
Somehow, that won’t go down as the most farcical game of an already farcical season for the Mets. Not after what went down in Philadelphia on Thursday, which, funnily enough, saw the Mets on top.
The Mets blew out out the Philadelphia Phillies in absurd fashion, scoring a franchise record 24 runs in a game that saw the Phillies allow an incredible 11 unearned runs and use multiple position players pitching. Between Thursday and their 16-5 drubbing of the Orioles on Wednesday, the 52-67 Mets have now combined for 40 runs in their last two games.
Phillies allow 11 unearned runs vs. Mets
The game wasn’t exactly going well for the Phillies in the opening innings, but it went fully off the rails in the fifth inning when a 5-4 deficit turned into a 15-4 deficit. Phillies starter Ranger Suarez was quickly chased, allowing the first three batters he faced to reach base and balking one home.
Reliever Mark Leiter Jr. came in and was quickly undone by Mets contact and the Phillies’ defense. In one official inning of work, Leiter allowed four hits and seven runs, but none of them were earned. That’s just the second time a reliever has allowed at least seven runs without a single one earned in MLB since the year 2000, according to Baseball Reference’s Play Index.
By the end of the inning, the Phillies, currently in second place behind the Braves, had allowed 11 unearned runs for the first time since Aug. 25, 1922, when they allowed 12 to the Cubs.
Hector Neris provided the Phillies’ bright spot for the game by striking out the side in a perfect sixth inning, but that would be the end of dedicated pitchers taking the mound for the Phillies.
Let’s just say that every run scored after that point was very much earned.
Phillies position players pitch, more runs ensue
Adding to what has been a record pace of position players pitching in MLB this season, the Phillies opted to give their arms a rest and have outfielder Roman Quinn and infielder Scott Kingery take the mound for the final three innings of the game.
It went about as well as expected with the two players combining to allow nine runs, all earned, with no strikeouts whatsoever. While Quinn allowed the vast majority of those runs, seven in his 1.2 innings, it will probably Kingery who goes down as the more comical performance thanks to purely aesthetic reasons.
Scott Kingery testing the limits of how soft you can throw a pitch and still put it in the strike zone. pic.twitter.com/PLHeHrT8JZ
— Ben Harris (@byBenHarris) August 16, 2018
In case you wondering just how slowly those pitches are going, well, keep wondering. The velocity of Kingery’s pitches didn’t even show up on the radar gun.
Scott Kingery is pitching so slow it's apparently not registering. pic.twitter.com/v2jr8xHoG5
— Mike Cranston (@MikeCranston1) August 16, 2018
Because this game clearly needed even more weird milestones, Mets reliever Jerry Blevins also garnered his first career hit, 12 seasons and 549 games into his MLB career.
Phillies-Mets game not completely out of the ordinary in 2018
24 runs is a crazy number. Multiple position players pitching is quite rare. But neither are as rare or as crazy this season. This was the fifth game this season in which a team topped 20 runs, already tied for the most of any MLB season since the turn of the century. MLB has also not seen so many position players make a pitching appearance in a season since the beginning of the expansion era in 1961.
Those two trends are obviously not unrelated; more blowouts will lead to more teams flying the white flag and pitching a position player. And in this day and age, they also tweet out a snarky acknowledgement of a less than ideal game.
— Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) August 16, 2018
As tough as the game was for the Phillies, they still had another to play on Thursday thanks to a scheduled doubleheader. Hopefully for the fans at Citizens Bank Park, it goes a little better.
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