It’s hard to believe the Mets didn’t face Scott Kazmir and help him achieve one of his best starts in the big leagues until now. Infamously traded away for Victor Zambrano for no good reason, Kazmir had a few good years with Tampa Bay, faded from major league relevancy entirely by last year, and came back this year with Cleveland. But until this evening, he had never faced the Mets.
No matter when Kazmir faced his former organization, though, the results were sure to be what they were tonight. He struck out twelve, walked none, and gave up four hits in six scoreless innings. Overall, he’s had a decent year and looks like he’s capable of sticking around as a big league starter for a while, but facing the Mets—especially without Marlon Byrd on the team or David Wright in the lineup—is a particularly desirable matchup for any starting pitcher.
Opposite Kazmir this evening was Zack Wheeler, who had quietly been very good over his past eleven starts. Things didn’t go so well tonight, however, as he allowed three runs on three strikeouts, five walks, and five hits. On the upside, Wheeler now has a 3.38 ERA and 4.13 FIP on the season, both of which are respectable numbers for a rookie.
As for the sequence of miserable events, Wheeler gave up the first of his three runs in the first inning. After loading the bases on two hits and a walk with nobody out, he gave up a sacrifice fly to Carlos Santana but nothing else. In the second inning, Michael Bourn plated another Cleveland run with a sac fly of his own. Neither team scored again until the bottom of the fifth inning, when Santana singled in his team’s third run of the evening.
The only thing that kept the Mets from getting shut out was Justin Turner’s home run, a no doubt shot that cleared the center field fence. It was probably the longest ball Turner has hit as a big league player. It was just the seventh home run of his career and the first this season.
Germen pitched a scoreless seventh inning, but the Mets’ bullpen coughed up four more runs in the eighth. David Aardsma put two men on base with one out for Tim Byrdak, who came in, issue a walked, and then allowed a grand slam to Nick Swisher. That pretty much wrapped things up, as the Mets’ lineup went down in order in the ninth to put an end to the loss.
The series continues tomorrow at 6:05 pm EDT. Jon Niese gets the start against Corey Kluber.
SB Nation Coverage
Win Probability Added
Big winners: Juan Lagares, +12.0% WPA
Big losers: Wilmer Flores, -10.9% WPA, Zack Wheeler, -10.6% WPA, Travis d’Arnaud, -10.3% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Lagares’s leadoff infield single in the fifth, +4.8% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Jason Kipnis walks to load the bases in the first, -7.2% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: -14.8% WPA
Total batter WPA: -35.2% WPA
GWRBI!: Michael Bourn