Mets reliever Frank Francisco had to exit in the eighth inning of this afternoon’s game against the Marlins after being hit in the wrist by a Logan Morrison line drive.
Manager Terry Collins had called on Francisco after Christian Yelich led off the inning with a double. The right-hander promptly struck out Giancarlo Stanton, then walked Justin Ruggiano to bring up Morrison. Morrison fell behind 0-2 and was preparing for Francisco’s third offering before asking for time. Home plate umpire Tim Welke did not grant it, so Morrison quickly had to get his hand back on the bat in time, which he did, lacing Francisco’s 92 MPH fastball back up the middle. The ball caromed off of Francisco’s right wrist towards the first base line, allowing Yelich to score — putting the Marlins up 3-0 — while first baseman Lucas Duda applied the tag for the second out.
David Aardsma was called on in relief of Francisco, retiring Adeiny Hechavarria for the final out of the inning.
Francisco, who recently turned 34 years old, made his season debut on September 8. He had spent most of the season on the disabled list recovering from elbow surgery. In four appearances this season spanning 2.2 innings, he has a 10.13 ERA.
Update: Via Twitter, ESPN’s Adam Rubin says the ball actually hit him on the thumb, causing it to swell “significantly”.
The magic number to clinch a wild card spot is still 1, but the Mets have at least secured a wild card tie after defeating the Phillies 5-1 on Friday night.
Jay Bruce powered the offensive drive, going 3-for-4 with a pair of RBI singles and his 33rd home run of the season, ripped from an Alec Asher fastball in the seventh inning. On the mound, right-hander Robert Gsellman limited the Phillies to seven hits and one run over six frames, striking out seven batters in his eighth appearance of the year. Behind him, a cadre of Mets relievers turned out three scoreless innings to preserve the lead and anchor the Mets in the wild card standings.
The Cardinals aren’t out of the race quite yet, and can still force a tiebreaker with the Mets if they manage to win the remainder of their games this weekend and the Mets lose the rest of theirs. Any other scenario will ensure the Mets’ exclusive rights to a wild card spot next week. While a wild card clinch is unlikely to happen tonight, with St. Louis leading Pittsburgh 7-0 through 7.5 innings and just entering a rain delay, it remains a distinct possibility over these next two days.
In a season that boasts the likes of Max Scherzer (he of the 20-strikeout masterpiece) and Clayton Kershaw (he of nine separate games with at least 10 strikeouts), there hasn’t been anyone who’s done exactly what Carlos Rodon did this week.
During Friday’s series opener against the Twins, Rodon retired seven consecutive batters via strikeout. His streak — and the beginnings of a perfect game, if you can call it that after just 2 ⅓ frames — ended on a Logan Schafer double that found right field well before Rodon managed to put up two strikes. With seven consecutive strikeouts, Rodon became the first American League pitcher to strike out seven batters to start a game since right-hander Joe Cowley did it for the Sox back in 1986. Had Schafer whiffed on a couple more fastballs, Rodon would have tied Mets’ starter Jacob deGrom for most strikeouts to start a game in major league history.
Not only did Rodon manage to quell the first seven batters in Minnesota’s lineup, but he extended his strikeout streak to 10 consecutive batters dating back through his last start against the Cleveland Indians. Per MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger, the last major league pitcher to do so was reliever Eric Gagne, who accomplished the feat for the 2003 Dodgers during his first and only Cy Young Award-winning season.
Any way you slice it, this is an impressive look: