NEW YORK — So Jacob deGrom is starting Game 2, after all. The Padres made sure of that with their runaway 7-1 victory over the Mets on Friday night in Game 1 of the National League Wild Card Series.
With their season on the line, the Mets turn to deGrom (who would’ve otherwise been held back, had they won the opener). The Padres, meanwhile, counter with Blake Snell, one of the hottest pitchers in baseball during the second half of the season.
• NL Wild Card Game 2, presented by Hankook Tire: Today, 7:30 ET/4:30 PT on ESPN
At stake for the Padres? A trip to Los Angeles for the NL Division Series. At stake for the Mets? A chance to keep their 101-win season alive and force a decisive Game 3.
“We've been really good,” Mets first baseman Pete Alonso said. “And now we get to see what we're made of.”
MLB has only a limited history of three-game playoff series, but the expanded postseason in 2020 did give us eight Wild Card Series that were best of three. Six of the eight teams that won Game 1 in those series advanced. All six of those were two-game sweeps.
• Postseason ticket information: Mets | Padres
However, the two teams that evened the series in Game 2 (the Padres over the Cardinals and Bob Melvin’s A’s over the White Sox) went on to win Game 3, as well.
Said Melvin, now the Padres’ skipper: “Every game in a three-game series feels like it’s monumental.”
When is the game and how can I watch it?
Wild Card Series Game 2 is scheduled for 7:37 p.m. ET on Saturday at Citi Field (4:37 p.m. PT). It will be broadcast on ESPN, with a team of Karl Ravech, David Cone, Eduardo Pérez and Buster Olney.
All series are available in the US on MLB.TV with authentication to a participating Pay TV provider. Games are not available live internationally. (Archives are available approximately 90 minutes after the game ends.)
What are the starting lineups?
Padres: Josh Bell’s big night in Game 1 earned him a spot in the lineup for Game 2, especially with another tough right-hander on the mound, and the Padres opted for Brandon Drury at first base in place of Wil Myers.
1. Jurickson Profar, LF
2. Juan Soto, RF
3. Manny Machado, 3B
4. Josh Bell, DH
5. Jake Cronenworth, 2B
6. Brandon Drury, 1B
7. Ha-Seong Kim, SS
8. Trent Grisham, CF
9. Austin Nola, C
Mets: The Mets will switch things up due to the presence of Snell, a left-hander. Darin Ruf, not rookie Francisco Álvarez, got the start at designated hitter, and Starling Marte, who went 2-for-4 in the opener, moved up to the second spot in the order.
1. Brandon Nimmo, CF
2. Starling Marte, RF
3. Francisco Lindor, SS
4. Pete Alonso, 1B
5. Mark Canha, LF
6. Jeff McNeil, 2B
7. Eduardo Escobar, 3B
8. Darin Ruf, DH
9. Tomás Nido, C
Who are the starting pitchers?
Padres: Snell makes his first postseason start since Game 6 of the 2020 World Series — and the infamous early hook. Snell has been outstanding in the second half, having posted a 2.19 ERA since the All-Star break. He also has an extensive track record of playoff success, noting Friday that, “I can see how good I really am in those moments.”
• Key storyline for each Wild Card Series Game 2
Mets: Had the Mets won Game 1, they would have turned to Chris Bassitt in Game 2 in hopes of saving deGrom for the NL Division Series. Instead, the Mets have little choice but to ask deGrom to save their season. The two-time Cy Young Award winner has a 6.00 ERA over his past four starts and has dealt with a blister for at least the last two of them, but he is confident the blister won’t be an issue on Saturday.
How will the bullpens line up after the starter?
Padres: Snell has been as dominant as Yu Darvish lately. But he hasn’t quite been as efficient. That means the Padres may need to rely a bit more heavily on their bullpen in Game 2. They stayed away from closer Josh Hader in the opener, so he’ll be fresh. But the Padres did use Luis García and Robert Suarez — their two primary setup men. Perhaps that opens the door for Nick Martinez in a high-leverage spot on Saturday night.
Mets: The slimmest silver lining of the Mets’ Game 1 loss is that they did not have to burn either of their highest-leverage relievers. That means Edwin Díaz and Adam Ottavino should be available to combine on at least three full innings of relief if the Mets take an early lead.
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Any injuries of note?
Padres: None, although pitcher Mike Clevinger is unavailable, left off the Wild Card Series roster because of a non-COVID illness.
Mets: Keep an eye on deGrom due to that blister. Both he and manager Buck Showalter have insisted that it won’t affect deGrom in the start, but Showalter did note the blister is something the Mets have been monitoring. If deGrom shows signs of being anything other than his dominant self, Showalter could have a quicker hook than usual.
Marte, who collected two hits and stole a pair of bases in Game 1, admitted after the game that he’s still uncomfortable gripping a bat and a ball, but the Mets will keep on playing him as long as he’s having success. Game 1 marked Marte’s first action since he fractured his right middle finger on Sept. 6.
Who is hot, and who is not?
Padres: Machado homered again in Game 1 and has been red hot all year. Profar, meanwhile, finished the season by reaching at a .373 clip during the final two weeks – then reached base three more times on Friday, including his three-run homer in the fifth inning. As for the Padres who were slumping? Well, Bell and Grisham were dreadful in September, but both homered in Game 1. That leaves Soto, who went 0-for-4 in Game 1 after hitting just .220 with an uncharacteristically low .726 OPS in September/October.
Mets: Nimmo posted a slash line of .400/.484/.582 over his final 15 regular-season games, then kept it going with a triple off Darvish in the fifth inning of Game 1. Nimmo isn’t quite as effective against left-handed pitchers, but he does have three hits in nine career at-bats off Snell. Escobar, meanwhile, kept his National League September Player of the Month cred intact with a solo homer in Game 1. He’s 2-for-12 lifetime against Snell.
Anything else I should know?
• The Mets were uncharacteristically aggressive on the basepaths against Darvish, becoming the first team in 11 years to steal three bags in the first two innings of a postseason game. They may need to slow that a bit against Snell, who has permitted stolen bases at a 71% success rate for his career. Darvish, by comparison, has allowed an 89% success rate.
• The Padres have never swept a playoff series in their 54-season existence. They’ve only once played in a game with a chance to do so — Game 4 of the 1998 NL Championship Series against Atlanta, a series they won in six games.
• The Mets are looking to snap a four-game postseason losing streak, dating back to Game 4 of the 2015 World Series. It’s the longest playoff losing streak in club history.
Padres-Mets 2022 Wild Card Series Game 2 FAQ – MLB.com