As Dusty Baker prepared for the playoffs, he sat down with MLBbro.com reporter Malik Wright and discussed the dynamics of being a Black manager in MLB.
In a series that included two walk-off-hits, saw a pitcher strike out 10 batters in a row, one of the greatest catches of the year, and two Black Knights on the mound — the Bro’s involved in this weekend’s Phillies vs Mets matchup put on a show for baseball fans.
The Mets vs Phillies rivalry is one of the best in the sports and has not lacked any intensity when they have faced off this season. Flashback to April 30th when Dominic Smith squared off against Philadelphia reliever Jose Alvarado in the 8th inning of a one-run game with two on and two outs.
Alvarado got the best of Smith in this matchup and struck him out and started immediately smack-talking him.
Benches would clear and although no punches were thrown this war was far from over.
Well, during game one of Friday’s doubleheader at Citi Field, Smith would finally get his revenge. It was a low-scoring affair as Taijuan Walker and Aaron Nola battled each other on the mound. Nola had a performance for the ages as he tied Tom Seaver for the most consecutive strikeouts in MLB history with 10.
Despite the performance of his counterpart, Walker battled on the bump on his way to recording his sixth quality start in a row and kept the Mets in striking distance for the win. He finished with five strikeouts in five innings and allowed one run on three hits and a walk.
He now has the 12th lowest ERA in the league at 2.38.
The Mets would have the last laugh in game one.
Dominic Smith stepped up to the plate on extra innings with two runners on and delivered a game-winning walk-off single. Smith is 5-for-22 in his last seven games and will be an important piece in New York’s lineup and their ability to win the National League East.
DOM SMITH SENDS US INTO GAME 2 WITH A W!!!! pic.twitter.com/35m4GJmPjX
— SNY (@SNYtv) June 25, 2021
Later on Friday night during game two of the doubleheader, former National League Most Valuable Player Andrew McCutchen showed us he still possesses the athleticism that made him one of the best players in all of baseball.
A ball was hit high and deep out to left field and McCutchen, as cool, calm and collected as can be made a leaping catch at the wall to keep the game tied. He got up and hit the Mets with a Jordan shoulder shrug for good measure.
— MLBbro.com (@MLBbrodotcom) June 26, 2021
A few days earlier McCutchen hit a grand slam in a thrilling game to close out their series against the Nationals. He finished this weekend’s series 4-for-9 scoring three runs, stealing two bases and collecting an RBI.
— MLBbro.com (@MLBbrodotcom) June 23, 2021
To cap off the weekend the other half of the Mets Black Knight combination Marcus Stroman took the mound and struggled for the second start in a row. He exited his start on Tuesday with a hip injury after only throwing one inning where he walked two batters.
Sunday’s start was his worst of the season. Before Tuesday’s game, Stroman had registered 10 quality starts in a row and done so in 13 of 14 appearances. Stroman lasted just three innings, giving up three walks, five hits, two runs, and striking out three.
His ERA fell to 2.45 which places him 13th in all of baseball, one spot behind Taijuan Walker.
Stroman and Walker have been excellent this season, throwing behind ace Jacob DeGrom, who has a chance at winning this year’s Cy Young award. But we still have more than half of the year to go so both will need to keep up the great pace they have set for themselves.
Stroman’s next start will come Saturday in a Subway Series battle against the New York Yankees while Walker gets his next start Wednesday against the Braves. Andrew McCutchen and his Phillies will host Jazz Chisholm and the Miami Marlins this week after a matchup with the Reds.