The Mets bullpen struggles have been well documented this season. The team came into Tuesday's game against Arizona with 26 blown saves, the second most in the NL.
But on Tuesday night, with a one-run lead going into the bottom of the ninth inning, Mickey Callaway elected to go with Justin Wilson for a four-out save, something the lefty had not done all season long.
Callaway's decision paid off, as Wilson, despite not being at the top of his game, was able to pin down the final four outs in the Mets' 3-2 win over the D-backs.
"It is difficult, and he didn't have his best stuff," Callaway said of Wilson's save. "He didn't have his best command, but he dug deep and got through it. He's going to need a day or two off, but it's worth it for the win tonight. He was unbelievable. He just kind of willed that game, that save, and that's what you have to do at this point … You have to fight through it and somehow get the job done, and that's what he did."
Wilson pitched himself into trouble in the ninth, allowing two singles, but with runners on second and third and two outs, he struck out former Met Wilmer Flores swinging to end the game.
"Late in the season, everything kind of goes. You've got to win games," Wilson said after the game. "Clearly, we're still in a little bit of a hole, but luckily we've still got enough games left to make a push. I think everyone's available in any situation.
"I wish I was a little bit more crisp. It might not have been so interesting, but luckily I got some balls on the ground … and the (strikeout) to end it, at least, was the most important. Just battled. Didn't feel that sharp, but got the outs."
With Seth Lugo unavailable to pitch, Callaway had Edwin Diaz warming up and standing by in the ninth, yet elected to keep Wilson in the game for the four-out save. Afterwards, Callaway expressed that he's still confident in Diaz, but felt like sticking with Wilson was the right move.
"I just had to. We all know the struggles that Diaz has had and Wilson has been really good," Callaway said. "I felt like at that point it was Wilson, maybe until it was tied unless he just couldn't throw a strike to Wilmer or something, but he willed it. I'm noting saying we're going to run from Diaz. He's going to get his chances too, but tonight we called down there in the eighth and asked Wilson if he could get four outs for us, and he did.
Wilson's four-out save was not without some drama. With runners on first and third and one out, Ketel Marte lined a ball towards first base. Pete Alonso smothered the ball, and got the out at first base before throwing behind the runner at third to keep the Mets' lead. At first glance, it looked like Alonso potentially could have tagged the runner and stepped on the bag to end the game, but Callaway explained after that Alonso's decision was correct.
"That was a heads-up baseball play, and I told Pete that after," Callaway said. "You get an out, like he did, and then if that guy gets in a rundown, (the runner form third) is going to score. So he did the right thing, and I told him, 'You know what it's like to have two outs with the game on the line down one at the plate,' that's the toughest spot you could possibly be in, and that showed with the strikeout. So Pete did an unbelievable job under the hardest of circumstances.
Alonso's heads-up play helped Wilson earn his second save of the season, and brought the Mets within 3.5 games of the second Wild Card spot.