Back in March, we were happy to have baseball. We knew the Mets would lose a lot of games (even if they were good!), but there would be triumphs as well, and it would be fun. Because it was baseball. The Mets are now mired in quite the slump. They've lost six of their last seven and have failed to score a run in the last 23 innings. At least it's baseball, though. Eventually, the Amazins will be lighting up the scoreboard once again, but we'll have to wait at least until Friday for that to happen.
After the Mets failed to do much of anything against Henderson Alvarez last night, one had reason to hope that the team would turn things around on Wednesday afternoon against Tom Koehler. While the Mets had been frustrated by Koehler in 2013, they hit him pretty hard two weekends ago at Citi Field.
Zack Wheeler mixing in a curveball, slider, and changeup so beautifully with his punishing fastball was also reason for optimism, but the offense was flat once again, and the Marlins won the game 1-0.
David Wright hit a double as the third batter of the game, but Koehler erased him by striking out Curtis Granderson. Instead of a sign that Wright was lifting his game out of the doldrums, what we got was the only Mets hit in the first seven innings of the game.
At least the team wasn't hopelessly swinging and missing as it is wont to do. Koehler struck out five batters in his eight innings and Steve Cishek followed with one in the ninth. The Mets simply hit a lot of ground balls at a lot of Marlins defenders.
The fish really showed off their defensive skills in the fourth inning, when Garrett Jones made a swell over-the-shoulder catch on a Wright foul ball down the right field line. Derek Dietrich followed with a sweet sliding stop on a hard Granderson ground ball that was ticketed for the outfield.
Even the Marlins' supporters got in on the action. In the third, the ball boy on the third base side made a brilliant catch on a foul liner hit by Ruben Tejada. The young man tumbled into the seats after making the snag and may have saved a spectator or two from harm.
Wheeler and the Mets shut out the Marlins through eight innings, but things didn't go nearly as smoothly for them. Getting out of trouble is simple, though, when you can get the other team's best hitter to ground into two double plays. Giancarlo Stanton had only hit into a single twin killing before May 7, but today the Mets got him twice: once in the first inning after a Dietrich single, and again in the sixth after Wheeler had walked both Dietrich and Christian Yelich.
The only other time before the ninth that two Marlins were able to reach base was in the fourth. After striking out Yelich on a two-seam fastball and Dietrich with a curveball, Wheeler walked Stanton and allowed a hard single to Casey McGehee. Fortunately, Wheeler was able to escape the inning with a fly out from Jones.
With five walks to go with his seven strikeouts, Wheeler was being his usual inefficient self, even if he was mixing his pitches beautifully today. After six innings, he had thrown 104 pitches, so Terry Collins opted to go with Jeurys Familia to start the seventh. That's not why the Mets lost the game, as Familia took care of Miami in order while striking out Marcell Ozuna and Jeff Mathis on sliders.
In the eighth, the Mets threatened to break the scoreless tie when Lucas Duda ripped a sharp ground ball off of Jones and into right field. It was New York's first hit since the first inning, so Collins asked Anthony Recker to bunt Duda over to second. The sacrifice "worked," but the Mets got nothing from it. Collins inserted Bobby Abreu and Josh Satin as pinch-hitters for Tejada and Familia, respectively, but both subs struck out to end the frame.
Carlos Torres came on to pitch the Miami half of the eighth, and he looked pretty good with a perfect inning. He even got pinch-hitter Reed Johnson to fly out to center field. It made sense, then, to leave Torres in the game after the Mets went down quietly at the hands of Cishek in the top of the ninth.
Torres cracked, though. He allowed a single to Stanton and walked McGehee to set the table for the Marlins. The lefty Jones was up next, but Collins left in Torres, likely because of Scott Rice's issue with his back. That didn't turn out so badly with Jones flying out to right field, but it did allow Stanton to move over to third with just one out.
Kyle Farnsworth was brought on to try to get out of the mess, but Ozuna made solid contact against him on a line drive to right-center field. The drive looked like a good result for the Mets at first. It was high enough for Lagares to get under it, but short enough to give him a good chance to throw out Stanton at the plate. Stanton did indeed tag up, but Lagares' throw (with his momentum carrying him to his left) was a little too short and a little too far offline. Recker still had a chance to make a play if he could just field the bouncing throw cleanly, but it ricocheted off of him, allowing Stanton to slide home safely.
And thus is the story of the latest Mets baseball game. The team is now 16-17 and the offense is in dire straits. Hopefully a day off followed by a date with the Phillies is all that's needed to cure our beloved club of its ills.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big winners: Zack Wheeler +32.4%, Jeurys Familia +7.9%
Big losers: Kyle Farnsworth -18.6%, Daniel Murphy -11.3%, Carlos Torres -10.4%
Teh aw3s0mest play: With two runners on in the sixth, Stanton grounds into a double play +14.0%
Teh sux0rest play: Ozuna's walk-off sac fly in the ninth inning -18.6%
Total pitcher WPA: +11.3%
Total batter WPA: -61.3%
GWRBI!: Ozuna's walk-off sac fly in the ninth inning.