There were a two positive aspects of today's game versus the Cubs. First of all, David Wright was, somewhat surprisingly, in the starting lineup despite injuring his shoulder in Saturday's game. Secondly, Carlos Torres was, quite surprisingly, very good in his spot-start filling in for Bartolo Colon.
Sadly though, the Mets offense was, unsurprisingly, limited against Kyle Hendricks, as they managed only four hits and one run all game, and ended this series with a 4-1 loss this afternoon.
This loss occurred despite the aforementioned effort by Torres, who threw five shutout innings. Torres struck out six over that span, with half of them coming in the first, when he struck out the side to start things off. He allowed a leadoff hit in the second to Starlin Castro, but set down the next three men in order and had 1-2-3 third to give Mets fans hope that the day was not lost despite Colon's absence.
The only real trouble Torres faced came in the fourth. After a Javier Baez groundout, Torres walked Anthony Rizzo. Though the Mets starter then got Starlin Castro to fly out to Juan Lagares, Luis Valbuena came up with two outs and singled to right. Justin Ruggiano then got on with an infield hit that Torres deflected off his foot to load the bases with two outs. Dan Warthen came out to talk to Torres, and after a short discussion, the right-hander promptly struck out Cubs catcher Welington Castillo to escape the jam and preserve his shutout.
In the bottom of the fourth, the Mets offense finally got to Hendricks, who had cruised through the first three innings without any real issue. After David Wright popped out to center to start things off, Lucas Duda homered to right center to put the Mets on top 1-0. That was all they got though, as Travis d’Arnaud followed Duda’s homer by popping out to Castillo, and though Matt den Dekker walked, he was caught stealing during Juan Lagares at-bat, allowing Hendricks to escape the fourth with only one run being charged to him. The Mets registered only one more hit the whole game.
Torres started his fifth and final inning by setting down the first two batters he saw, but then issued a walk to center fielder Arismendy Alcantara to put a runner on first with two outs. Fortunately, next batter Javier Baez hit a grounder to Wilmer Flores, and the Mets shortstop made a brilliant off-balance throw to get Baez at first. (Rick Renteria challenged the call to no avail.) Thus, Torres exited the game with a 1-0 lead, and was in place to earn a well-deserved win.
The Mets bullpen remedied that situation in the sixth. Dana Eveland came on to relieve Torres, and promptly gave up a leadoff double to Anthony Rizzo. Though Eveland struck out the next batter, Luis Valbuena then singled to right to drive in the Cubs first run of the game. Buddy Carlyle came on to replace Eveland after this occurred, and set the next two batters down without any issue to strand Valbuena and keep the score tied at one. Though Carlyle had a 1-2-3 inning the seventh, the Cubs scored again in the top of eighth, as Anthony Rizzo hit his twenty-ninth home run of the year to put the Cubs up 2-1.
The final runs for the Cubs came in the ninth against Jenrry Meija, who came on to pitch that inning to the eternal joy of Mets fans everywhere. The good news: the Cubs did not score a run on Meija’s first pitch of the day, as they did yesterday. The bad news: Meija quickly gave up a single to pinch hitter Ryan Sweeney, and after Alcantara flew out to center field, Javier Baez hit a tape-measure shot to left that probably came down with snow on it to put the Cubs up 4-1. Meija got out of the inning without allowing any more runs, but alas, though Daniel Murphy led off with a double in the bottom of the ninth, Hector Rondon then set down David Wright, Lucas Duda, and Travis d'Arnaud to end the game.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big winners: Carlos Torres, 26.0; Lucas Duda, 16.5
Big losers: Dana Eveland, -19.3; Buddy Carlyle, -15.7
Teh aw3s0mest play: Lucas Duda homer, bottom of the fourth
Teh sux0rest play: Anthony Rizzo homer, top of the eighth
Total pitcher WPA: -12.8
Total batter WPA: -37.2
GWRBI!: Anthony Rizzo homer, top of the eighth