Bryce Harper and the defending NL champion Phillies will head home to face the Miami Marlins in a best-of-three wild-card series starting Tuesday. Miami went 7-6 against Philadelphia this season.
“They won the season series, so they match up well with us,” Phillies manager Rob Thomson said. “We have a lot of prep to do. They can beat you in a lot of different ways.”
Brandon Marsh homered and finished with four RBIs for the Phillies (90-72), who won four more games than a season ago, when they qualified as the final National League wild card before reaching the World Series. Bryson Stott, Johan Rojas and Garrett Stubbs each had RBI hits, and Bohm also had a sacrifice fly.
Matt Strahm tossed a perfect first inning as an opener before Nick Nelson (1-0) won his season debut with 5 1/3 innings of one-run ball.
“We are going to try and find a way to win a game,” said Kyle Schwarber, who finished with 47 homers, tied for the fourth-most in franchise history. “At the end of the day, it doesn’t need to look pretty. It doesn’t need to look sexy or anything like that. We just have to find a way to win a game at the end of the day.”
For the Mets, the day began with Showalter concluding his pregame news conference by saying he was told the team was “going to go in a different direction with the manager next year.” New York plans to introduce David Stearns as president of baseball operations on Monday.
Showalter’s exit after two seasons - the shortest of his five big league stints - clears the way for Stearns to pick the next manager.
“I wish things could have gone better this season because the Mets fans deserve that,” Showalter said as he appeared to fight back tears. “In my heart, I always wonder what could have happened if this happened or that happened, but I try not to live in that world.
“It’s not the ending I wanted, but I still love this city and the players.”
Mets players and coaches stood in front of the dugout and joined the crowd of 41,212 in giving Showalter a standing ovation as he exchanged lineup cards before first pitch. A message reading “Thank You Buck” was displayed on the scoreboard.
“He’s an unbelievable manager,” Mets first baseman Pete Alonso said. “I think he’s a great mentor and I think that he does a great job of understanding his personnel, not just their talents and what they do day to day on the field. I think that he understands how they tick and how each guy ticks on the roster as an individual.”
Showalter received another warm ovation as he headed back to the dugout following a pitching change in the ninth inning.
Showalter led the Mets to a 101-61 record last season, when he was voted NL Manager of the Year. New York lost to San Diego in a wild-card series, then added three-time Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander to its pitching staff during the offseason.
The Mets boosted their payroll to a record $355 million on opening day, but wound up dealing Verlander, Max Scherzer and several other veterans ahead of the Aug. 1 trade deadline.
The Mets fell to 74-87 on Sunday - the largest season-to-season drop-off in the majors this year and the largest in franchise history.
“It doesn’t seem real - I think it’s going to take some time to digest all these things,” center fielder Brandon Nimmo said. “We had a lot of great memories, a lot of great times last year with the 101 wins. We had a lot of great times this year as well. There was lots of high points in the year, even despite the way things turned out.
“But it is very interesting that one year removed from that season, we’re sitting here in this position.”
Showalter is 1,726-1,665 (.509) in 22 seasons as a big league manager with the Yankees, Diamondbacks, Rangers, Orioles and Mets - guiding all those organizations to the playoffs besides Texas.
José Butto (1-4) gave up two runs and struck out four in six innings.
Tim Locastro homered in the third - the first of just two hits for the Mets.
The Mets held a moment of silence before the game in honor of Tim Wakefield, the Boston Red Sox and Pittsburgh Pirates knuckleballer who died Sunday of brain cancer at age 57.
The Mets drew 41,212 for Sunday’s finale and welcomed 2,573,555 fans this season, a slight increase over last year’s 2,564,737.
Phillies: SS Trea Turner (left elbow bruise) felt fine but sat out the meaningless regular-season finale. Thomson said Turner would have played in a game with significant implications.
Phillies: RHP Zack Wheeler (13-6, 3.61 ERA) will start the wild-card series opener Tuesday in Philadelphia against Miami.
Mets: A new manager will be in the dugout for the spring training opener Feb. 24 against the St. Louis Cardinals.
AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb
Copyright 2023 STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.