PHILADELPHIA -- The Mets did not need Yoenis Cespedes writhing in pain, on one knee in the batter's box, pain enveloping his left hand.
They did not need Steven Matz and Wilmer Flores complaining of creaky backs, or a marathon game that dragged long into a windy night, or a beanball skirmish that led to the emptying of both dugouts.
Yet, this is what the Mets got Wednesday night, drama they did not need in a 7-5 loss to the Phillies in a mostly empty ballpark.
If there was good news, it was that it could've been worse. Consider Cespedes, whose X-rays came back negative after he was plunked by an 89-mph fastball from Justin De Fratus.
Cespedes came away with a bruise on the ring and middle fingers on his left hand. Indeed, the Mets' slugger escaped the worst-case scenario. As did Flores, who left with what the team later called lower back stiffness.
But for nearly an hour, as fans anxiously awaited updates on Cespedes' injury, they imagined an October without perhaps the most dangerous presence in the Mets lineup. Their final image of Cespedes on the field offered little solace.
Cespedes winced, then dropped his bat as pain surged through his left hand. For a few moments, he remained on one knee.
Ray Ramirez, the team's trainer, sprinted from the dugout. He was followed by manager Terry Collins. Neither looked pleased.
Later, on social media, fans scrutinized screen grabs of the pitch's impact as if they were analyzing frames of the Zapruder film. They did the same later when Ramirez emerged from the tunnel and grabbed Collins' hand -- seemingly explaining to the manager what was ailing the slugger.
Cespedes entered hitting. .287 with 17 homers and 44 RBIs since his arrival just before the trade deadline. His plunking Wednesday night reignited simmering tensions.
Little more than a month ago, Mets reliever Hansel Robles infuriated the Phillies when he threw a quick pitch at Cameron Rupp, whose head was still down and thus unable to protect himself in case of an errant pitch.
The tactic drew the ire of Phillies bench coach Larry Bowa. Neither team seemed to forget.
Cespedes was replaced by Kirk Nieuwenhuis, who was plunked in the fifth. Mets starter Logan Verrett hit Odubel Herrera in the back in the Phillies' half of the fifth.
Umpire Bob Davidson issued warnings.
Then, in the sixth, Robles threw a 94-mph pitch up and in to Rupp. Robles was ejected, along with Collins.
The benches emptied, though players retreated after a brief staredown. Later, TV cameras spotted Cespedes. He had hustled back to the dugout when the benches emptied, apparently ready to enter the fray.
It was yet another thing that the Mets did not need.
The night held the promise of an easy blowout for the Mets, who took a 5-0 lead in the first on a three-run homer by Daniel Murphy and a two-run shot by Michael Conforto.
But by sixth, it had devolved into a disaster. The Phillies chipped away, eventually going ahead 6-5 on a two-run single by Freddy Galvis. Galvis scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch by Carlos Torres.
The Mets entered play one game of the Dodgers for home-field advantage in the NLDS.