There are Mets games started by Matt Harvey, and then there are other Mets games. Today's game, started by Jeremy Hefner, fit perfectly into the latter category.
The first three innings of the game didn't look horrible, though. Hefner cruised through the first inning and managed to pitch a scoreless second despite a leadoff single by Alfonso Soriano, who moved to third on a ground out, and an ensuing walk of Luis Valbuena. He struck out Welington Castillo and induced a pop-up from Darwin Barney to end the inning.
But the Mets weren't able to score in the first or second inning, either. They had two baserunners in each of the first two innings but came out of the second without having scored. The third inning wasn't much better, as Daniel Murphy was the only runner to get on base. He attempted to steal second base and was thrown out. On the season, Murphy has stole on base and been caught stealing three times. He should probably consider not attempting to steal bases in the future.
Hefner retired the Cubs in order in the third. and the Mets returned the favor with a one-two-three top of the fourth. The Mets' odds of winning went south in the bottom of that inning.
Anthony Rizzo singled, and Hefner hit Soriano with a pitch. Nate Schierholtz singled to load the bases, and Luis Valbuena followed it up with a sacrifice fly to score Rizzo and move Soriano to third. Welington Castillo singled to plate the Cubs' second run, but Darwin Barney, the eight hitter, lined out to center.
With Scott Feldman coming up to the plate and two outs, Hefner looked like he'd escape the inning with relatively minimal damage, but Feldman hit a long double to score the Cubs' third and fourth runs of the afternoon. Given the way the Mets' offense has been failing of late, a four-run deficit felt like a mountain, even at the early stage of the game.
The Mets had a couple more baserunners in the fifth inning: Marlon Byrd and Mike Baxter, both of whom singled. But again, they were unable to score, as Daniel Murphy and David Wright struck out in succession to end the inning.
Robert Carson took over to pitch the bottom of the fifth, and he promptly gave up a leadoff home run to Rizzo. He managed to complete two innings without giving up any more runs, but as Gary Cohen pointed out on the SNY broadcast, he has now allowed 7 home runs in just 11 innings of work this year in the big leagues. That's not good.
As the Mets continued to flail at the plate, Collin McHugh took over in the bottom of the seventh inning to make his 2013 debut with the Mets. He threw a one-two-three inning in the seventh but gave up two runs in the eighth.
The Mets avoided a shutout in the ninth inning when John Buck singled and Rick Ankiel hit a home run to score the team's only two runs of the afternoon.
Tomorrow at 2:20 pm EDT, the Mets look to take the weekend series with Dillon Gee on the mound. Travis Wood is slated to start for Chicago.
SB Nation Coverage
Win Probability Added
Big winners: Marlon Byrd, +1.8% WPA
Big losers: Jerey Hefner, -19.4% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Welington Castillo's strikeout in the first inning, +7.0% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Scott Feldman's two-run double in the fourth, -12.6% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: -21.1% WPA
Total batter WPA: -28.9% WPA
GWRBI!: Scott Feldman