Mark Vientos had one job Thursday, and he did it: Drive in Brett Baty from third base with less than two outs.
His pinch-hit sacrifice fly in the sixth inning of the Mets’ 4-2 win over the Phillies yielded a key insurance run and a couple of fun footnotes: His 113-mph line drive was the hardest-hit ball of the game and the hardest-hit ball of his young major-league career.
“I felt that I hit it hard. I was talking to the ball. I said, hey, go over his head, go over his head. But I got the job done,” he said. “Honestly, before that at-bat happened, I was thinking about a situation where there was a runner on third and I come up and I did exactly what I wanted to do. Make hard contact or hit a pop fly or hit a ground ball through the middle, just to score the run. That was my job in that situation. That’s what I wanted to do.”
Manager Buck Showalter said: “Well, he got to see a lot of pitches. He wasn’t squaring anything up, but he made the adjustment, got the barrel over the top of the ball . . . I’m glad to see him make that adjustment and drive that run in for us.”
Vientos has been stuck in a purgatory of sorts as a part-time player since getting called up two weeks ago. Showalter mostly has used him and Daniel Vogelbach in what amounts to a DH platoon, Vogelbach against righthanded pitchers and Vientos against lefties.
After Vogelbach went 0-for-2 against righty Taijuan Walker, dropping his average to .215 and OPS to .667, the Mets turned to Vientos against lefty reliever Matt Strahm. They gave Vientos a heads up that he likely would hit in that spot an inning prior, he said.
Since joining the Mets on May 17, Vientos is hitting .192 with four RBIs in 26 at-bats.
In that stretch, Vogelbach is hitting .087 with zero RBIs in 23 at-bats. He doesn’t have an extra-base hit since May 7.
“I’m adjusting to my role right now and I feel like I’m doing a good job and I’m working hard every day,” Vientos said. “That’s all I can do at this moment.”
As the rotation turns
The Mets actually might start Kodai Senga on Sunday against the Blue Jays, Showalter said. That would be his first time pitching on regular rest (four days of rest). They will decide Friday.
“We’re going to wait to do some testing, some things that they can do to see his recovery and how he’s feeling — other than what he tells you what he feels,” Showalter said. “We have some things prepared in case it doesn’t happen.”
Showalter dropped Francisco Alvarez back to ninth in the lineup — after he batted second in consecutive games — for “seven or eight reasons,” he said. Among them: The Mets weren’t facing a lefthanded starter, he likes the top of the order serving as Alvarez’s protection and “there’s some other things going on his life.” . . . David Robertson and Adam Ottavino were unavailable to pitch after doing so the previous two days. After reliever Jeff Brigham (3.26 ERA) picked up his fourth hold of the year, Showalter said: “He’s given us another option down there.” . . . The Mets have homed in 15 consecutive games, the second-longest streak in franchise history. The longest was a 21-gamer in 1996 . . . They have won eight straight home games.