NEW YORK -- On the last weekend of September, an amped-up crowd showed up to Citi Field on Friday to see David Wright's first at-bat since May 27, 2016. For Corey Oswalt and these young pitchers out of the bullpen, playing in this sort of atmosphere was unlike anything they
NEW YORK -- On the last weekend of September, an amped-up crowd showed up to Citi Field on Friday to see David Wright's first at-bat since May 27, 2016. For Corey Oswalt and these young pitchers out of the bullpen, playing in this sort of atmosphere was unlike anything they had ever experienced before in the big leagues.
After the Mets announced prior to the game that Wright would be the first pinch-hit option off the bench, fans made sure they'd be there to witness the emotional comeback moment for their captain.
It may not have been the at-bat Wright or fans had hoped for after nearly two and a half years, but Wright still walked into the Mets' dugout smiling cheek-to-cheek, high-fiving every one of his teammates after he grounded out in a pinch-hit at-bat in the Mets' 8-1 loss to the Marlins.
"I just grounded out pretty weakly to third and I'm getting high-fives in there and everybody is on the top step welcoming me back," Wright said. "Just the words of encouragement and the pats on the butt and the high-fives … it's really, really cool."
Oswalt threw four innings, giving up one run while striking out four, but he was ultimately replaced by Paul Sewald in the fifth due to his high pitch count. Sewald gave up three doubles in the fifth, resulting in two more Marlins runs.
Then it was finally the moment everyone was waiting for.
"Pinch-hitting for the Mets, No. 5, David Wright."
The stadium erupted with cheers and everyone was on their feet. Wright jumped on the first pitch from Marlins starter Jose Urena and grounded out to third base, smiling and shaking his head as he jogged back to the dugout.
"It was awesome," Oswalt said when asked about the atmosphere. "Especially coming out of the game and David got that AB. I was nervous for him and I'm sure everyone else was anxious. I'm really excited for tomorrow."
Wright is expected to start at third base on Saturday night.
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The Mets got on the board first with a first-inning RBI single from Amed Rosario that brought in Jeff McNeil. Rosario was then called out trying to stretch the single, which ended the inning. That would be the Mets' only run of the game.
From there, the Mets' bullpen and sloppy defense would be the downfall of the night. After two errors, the Mets gave up seven runs, three of which were earned, to give the Marlins a comfortable lead. The Mets ended up with three errors in the game.
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MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
With Oswalt at 85 pitches in the fourth, it seemed as though Wright would make an appearance earlier than expected. The veteran had his helmet on and his bat in his hand while Dominic Smith was up to bat, three spots before him in the order. With two outs and Kevin Plawecki up to bat, Wright stepped out into the batter's box and the crowd went wild, only to be disappointed when Plawecki grounded out to short. They had to wait one more inning.
"I told [Plawecki] this afterwards, I was like, 'Man, I think I needed another inning. I'm kind of glad you got out,' " Wright said. "I hate to be a bad teammate right there, but that first time on deck was something special. I really felt butterflies that I've never felt before. I think I was pretty close to throwing up on deck."
Brandon Nimmo went 2-for-3 with a walk on Friday. By reaching in three of his four plate appearances he pushed his season OBP to .404, which would be the highest by a Mets batter since Wright had a .416 OBP in 2007.
HE SAID IT
"That's probably the only time in my career that making an out put a smile on my face." -- Wright
While Steven Matz will be making his final start of the season on Saturday against the Marlins at 7:10 p.m. ET in front of a sell-out crowd at Citi Field, he knows the day is not about him. The fans are there for one reason: a chance to see their captain take the field. The gates will open at 4:30 p.m. so fans can watch the Mets take batting practice. Righty Trevor Richards will be the opposing pitcher for Miami.
*Erin Fish *is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York.