The Cubs are a bad team, but maybe not as bad as their 21-34 record (entering tonight) suggested. Their Pythagorean record, based on their run differential, was 26-29. Baseball Prospectus' adjusted record, based on underlying stats and adjusted for quality of opponent, put the Cubs at 27-28. These records were similar to the Mets' 28-30 mark. So while losing two games in a row to the last place Cubs is no fun, it might not be the debacle that it seems at first glance.
Tonight's loss started out promising. The Mets scored three runs in the first inning off Cubs starter Edwin Jackson. The first came when Starlin Castro boofed a Bobby Abreu ground ball with two outs, allowing Daniel Murphy to score from third base. Lucas Duda followed with an opposite field two-run double that drove in Abreu and Curtis Granderson, who previously reached base on a fielder's choice. Unfortunately, Mets starter Daisuke Matsuzaka gave up two runs on two hits and a walk in the bottom of the first inning and the score was 3-2.
Dice-K's struggles continued after the first. He was lucky to escape a first-and-third, one out situation in the fourth inning. A Jeff Baker line drive struck Dice-K in the leg and ricocheted to Ruben Tejada, who started an inning-ending double play. Then, he got in another jam in the fifth inning, and was removed for Dana Eveland with runners on first and second with one out. Eveland was horrendous, though, and three of the four batters he faced reached base. He allowed both inherited runners to score. Tie game, 4-4. After walking Chris Coghlan, Eveland departed in favor of Jeurys Familia, setting up a bases loaded, one out situation. The hard-throwing Familia has looked good at times this season, but the second pitch he threw was a wild one, and Anthony Rizzo scored as it skipped away from Anthony Recker.
That fifth run proved to be enough, as the Mets scored just one run after the first inning. It came courtesy of a solo home run from Tejada, who went deep for the second time in his last three games. His slash line of .228/.348/.309 isn't great, but it's a heckuva lot better than it was just a week ago (.203/.329/.246). The Mets left the bases loaded in both the fifth and sixth innings, and went 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position. Their only baserunner in innings 7-9 came on a Granderson single with two outs in the ninth inning. Abreu grounded out against Cubs closer Hector Rondon to end the game.
After this loss, the Mets are now 28-31, 3.5 games back of the first place Braves in the NL East. Our favorite team will try to salvage a win in the series on Thursday at 7:05 pm ET. The pitching matchup is Jacob deGrom vs Travis Wood.
Nonsensical Terry Collins Postgame Quote of the Game: "That's not the Dice-K we've been seeing. The walks and falling behind, he has not been doing [that]." -- meanwhile, Dice-K had a poor 6.14 BB/9 entering the game
SB Nation GameThreads
* Amazin' Avenue GameThread
* Bleed Cubbie Blue GameThread
Win Probability Added
Big winners: Lucas Duda +12.5%, Ruben Tejada +10.0%
Big losers: Dana Eveland -25.8%, Anthony Recker -11.6%
Teh aw3s0mest play: Lucas Duda two-run double in the first inning, +16.8%
Teh sux0rest play: Starlin Castro RBI single in the fifth inning, +19.0%
Total pitcher WPA: -23.7%
Total batter WPA: -26.3%
GWRBI!: N/A -- winning run scored on a wild pitch