NEW YORK – As outfielder Brandon Nimmo put it, Major League Baseball’s new win-two-of-three Wild Card format is no longer relevant to the Mets and Padres. San Diego won Game 1 of this National League Wild Card Series. New York took Game 2. That means the two teams will meet in a decisive Game 3 tonight, with a trip to Los Angeles and the NL Division Series on the line.
“This is fun baseball,” Mets first baseman Pete Alonso said. “I am very excited to get to the stadium for this game. This is what we play for. We are going to arrive ready for everything.”
The Mets and Padres will send some fairly confident pitchers to the mound for Game 3, with Chris Bassitt and Joe Musgrove set to start. They are both veterans. And both will be ready to face each other in what is sure to be a packed arena at Citi Field.
When is the game and how can I watch it?
Game 3 of the Wild Card Series is scheduled for 7:07 pm ET today at Citi Field (4:07 pm PT). It will be broadcast on ESPN.
Fathers: Facing a right-hander for the third straight game, the Padres’ lineup remains relatively the same:
Mets: With a right-hander back on the mound in Musgrove, the Mets will return with a lineup similar to that of Game 1, although manager Buck Showalter will use Starling Marte as the second hitter.
Who will be the starters?
Parents: Musgrove has started to look like Musgrove again. The lanky right-hander was dominant early in the season, then struggled in the second half. But in his last four starts, Musgrove gave up only one run in 22 innings.
Mets: It might not be Max Scherzer or Jacob deGrom, but the Mets have every confidence in Bassitt (15-9, 3.42 ERA), who led the club in starts and innings pitched during the regular season and tied for the team lead in wins.
How would the bullpens be used after the starter’s departure?
Fathers: Setup men Luis Garcia and Robert Suarez didn’t see action Saturday, and they will serve as the bridge to closer Josh Hader. The only Padres reliever possibly unavailable is right-hander Nick Martinez, who pitched 2 2/3 innings in relief of Blake Snell.
Mets: The biggest question mark here has to do with Puerto Rican closer Edwin Diaz, who threw 28 pitches and got five outs in Game 2. Diaz should be available somehow, though the times he threw at least 28 pitches during the regular season or got at least four outs, the flamethrower received at least one day’s rest before his next appearance.
Any major injury?
Fathers: None, although Mike Clevinger was left off the postseason roster with a non-COVID-related illness. The Padres hope Clevinger will be available later, should he advance.
Mets: Although Marte continues to experience discomfort from his fractured right middle finger that sidelined him for most of September, the Dominican had two hits in Game 1 and hit the ball with considerable authority in Game 2. There are no indications that Marte didn’t be able to continue playing as a starter.
Padres: Profar has reached base in five of his nine plate appearances this series and continues to be the ideal setup man for Soto and Machado. Grisham, meanwhile, became the third Padre to hit the fence in back-to-back playoff games, joining Ken Caminiti in 1996 and Jim Leyritz in 1998. On the other side of the coin, Jake Cronenworth has started this postseason 8- 0.
Mets: Is there anyone more turned on than Nimmo? He went 6-for-8 with two homers and two doubles in his last two games of the regular season, before adding a triple in Game 1 and reaching base four times in Game 2. Alonso, who drove it in Game 2, has an active seven-game hitting streak that includes the last five games of the regular season.
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Padres-Mets, Wild Card Series Game 3: What you need to know