Coming into the season, anyone with reasonable expectations knew the Mets would need everything to break right in order to put together a respectable record. But losing lots of games to the Miami Marlins, still baseball's worst team, isn't everything breaking right.
A day after scraping together just one run in twenty innings of baseball against Jose Fernandez, Miami's bullpen, and Kevin Slowey, the Mets actually scored a few runs early in Sunday's game in support of Jon Niese.
Niese did allow the first run of the game after getting into some trouble in the second. With runners on first and second and nobody out, he got a 6-4-3 double play, but Marcell Ozuna moved to third on the play and scored on a Adeiny Hechavarria single. But that was it for the inning.
The Mets wasted no time in answering the run in the bottom of the inning, as Daniel Murphy led off with a solo home to right field. After Niese set the Marlins down in the third, the Mets scored three times to take a multiple-run lead, a rare occurrence in the team's games over the past several weeks.
With the bases loaded and one out in the inning, David Wright hit a deep double that scored two runs and move Omar Quintanilla, the runner on first, to third. Murphy followed up with a ground out to second base, but the Marlins' infield was playing back, allowing Quintanilla to score easily. From that point on, though, it was all Marlins.
Niese got through the fourth and fifth innings just fine, but he gave up back-to-back one-out singles to Ed Lucas and Derek Dietrich in the seventh. Ozuna then doubled to plate both baserunners and bring the Marlins within one run of tying the game. And although Ozuna moved to third on an error by Juan Lagares on the play, Niese got out of the sixth with the Mets' lead intact. He notched a pair of outs in the seventh, too, before LaTroy Hawkins came in and retired the only batter he faced.
In the eighth, Terry Collins turned to Scott Rice—for the 34th time this season—with the left-handed Dietrich leading off the inning. As good as Rice has been against same-handed opponents, the move didn't work. Dietrich hit a game-tying home run, and Collins brought Brandon Lyon into the game next. Lyon got into a jam but managed to escape the inning without letting Miami take the lead.
Bobby Parnell pitched an eventful but scoreless top of the ninth inning, but the Mets' bats weren't able to score a run after Murphy's leadoff walk. It might have helped if Mike Baxter weren't trying to sacrifice bunt, and the fact that he struck out attempting to do so was just icing on the cake. Given the way the Mets' lineup has performed, perhaps run expectancy is a bit of a moot point.
In the tenth, Parnell wasn't quite as lucky, giving up two singles before an error by Murphy—on a ball that could have been a double play—gave the Marlins the lead. Collins went to Robert Carson out of the bullpen, who proceeded to give up a sacrifice fly and a Miguel Olivo two-run home run that put the game far, far out of reach for the Mets' anemic offense. The Mets were retired in order in the ninth, and the Mets had lost their fifth consecutive game against the Marlins.
This weekend's debacle resulted in the Mets' demotion of Ike Davis, Robert Carson, and Mike Baxter to Las Vegas. The team is off tomorrow, but they're set to face Carlos Beltran and the Cardinals for a three-game set starting on Tuesday night. St. Louis's probable starters for the series are Michael Wacha, Shelby Miller, and Adam Wainwright. Yikes.
SB Nation Coverage
Win Probability Added
Big winners: Daniel Murphy, +29.0% WPA, David Wright, +11.5% WPA
Big losers: Bobby Parnell, -30.8% WPA, Scott Rice, -26.5% WPA, Mike Baxter, -14.6% WPA, Anthony Recker, -13.5% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Parnell strikes out Dietrich with runners on the corners and one out in the ninth, +18.6% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Dietrich's home run in the eighth, -26.5% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: -45.5% WPA
Total batter WPA: -4.5% WPA