Mets hope to clinch playoff berth Saturday
PHILADELPHIA -- Jay Bruce of the New York Mets is pretty confident right now. And for good reason.
"I'm swinging at pitches I can hit," Bruce said after the Mets' 5-1 win in Philadelphia on Friday. "That's the bottom line. That's the key to my success."
And lately, he's been keying the Mets' success, too.
Bruce homered for the third straight game and fourth in his last six, helping the Mets clinch at least a tiebreaker for the wild-card spot and ensure their season lasts past Sunday, the league's final regular season date.
A win Saturday in Philadelphia would clinch their wild-card berth.
"The reason you play is to make the playoffs," Bruce said. "I've been fortunate enough to go the playoffs three times... It's like Opening Day every day. It's great. That's why we play. We're close to securing that and we really look forward to having that opportunity and really controlling our own destiny. We're not really focused on what anyone else does. We come in here tomorrow and take care of business, it won't matter."
"It's step one of a bigger accomplishment," said New York manager Terry Collins. "We're certainly pleased we get to play past Sunday."
Their wasn't a celebration in the Mets clubhouse Friday. That will likely come Saturday or Sunday.
Collins raved about Friday's starter Robert Gsellman and how New York's young pitching has dazzled after being thrust into a playoff race.
Saturday afternoon, the Mets turn to veteran righty Bartolo Colon (14-8, 3.42 ERA) to try to clinch their playoff spot. He will oppose Phillies RHP Phil Klein (0-1, 8.22).
Colon is coming off his worst start in 2016. He allowed seven runs on eight hits in 2 1/3 innings in Miami earlier in the week.
Klein was used out of the bullpen Wednesday and will try to give the Phillies as many innings as possible to avoid getting deep into a bullpen that has been getting battered lately.
Philadelphia dropped its fifth consecutive game Friday night.
"We're certainly limping home," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said Friday an hour or so after being ejected for the first time this year. "Not playing well, not swinging the bats very well."
They struck out 14 times Friday night. And after scraping a run across in the second inning, never really looked like they were in the game at the plate.
Shortstop Freddy Galvis left Friday's game with what the team called "right hamstring tightness." No update was given after the game on whether Galvis would be available for the final two games of the season.
The Phillies are putting the finishing touches on another rebuilding season and saying farewell to longtime slugger Ryan Howard this weekend. The Mets, meanwhile, are just trying to take care of business.