Coming into the contest tonight, the Cubs, the team that lives and dies by its crop of young hitters, hadn’t scored more than two runs in a game over a week. The Mets—well, the Mets just clearly hate offense of any kind, unless it comes from Curtis Granderson or Steven Matz. That’s the only explanation for how inept they looked at the plate during the month of June.
Indeed, tonight’s game was a question of which offense wanted to score least. Both Jon Lester and Bartolo Colon had looked mighty human recently, and it seemed like a good night for at least one of these squads to bust out of their respective funks. Sadly for the Cubs, Bartolo Colon brought his A-game. The big man allowed only three hits, one walk, and struck out eight over seven effortless innings.
In spite of that, the Mets—yet again—refused to score, though they came close a few times against Lester. Curtis Granderson led off the first with a single, but Ruben Tejada, Lucas Duda, and Daniel Murphy went down quickly and quietly to prevent him from advancing further than first. In the second, they went a little crazy and loaded the bases with one out against Lester, but Bartolo and Grandy failed to get anybody across the plate, flying out to right and left, respectively. But the fun didn’t stop there! In the fifth, Juan Lagares led off with his first extra-base hit since Father Time’s grandpa played for the Mets, and stood at second with no outs. As to be expected though, Bartolo, Granderson, and Tejada went down in order to hand Lester another goose egg.
Thankfully, while all this was going on, Colon was rolling on the mound. He set the Cubs down in order in the sixth, and even struck out both Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant for the second and third outs of that inning. In the seventh, he recovered from letting up a two-out single to Mike Baxter (may he forever be praised) to strike out pinch hitter Miguel Montero. Bartolo left the game after that, but Bobby Parnell came on to pitch a scoreless eighth to keep the Mets in it.
But just when you thought the Amazins’ offense could not get any worse, the bottom of the eighth happened. It all started when Tejada made it to first on a throwing error by Starlin Castro against new Cubs’ pitcher Pedro Strop. After a Lucas Duda strikeout, Daniel Murphy laced a double that put runners on second and third with one out. Up came Darrell Ceciliani to try to end the misery and put the Mets on the board. Instead, he made a flailing and hideously awkward attempt at a suicide squeeze that left a brain-dead Tejada wandering off of third to hand the Cubs an out. Ceciliani then struck out to end the inning, confirming for Mets fans everywhere that love is dead and that the gods have abandoned them.
To be fair, the Cubs were also plumbing new depths of offensive incompetence. Jeurys Familia pitched the ninth for the Mets and promptly allowed a leadoff double to Anthony Rizzo. Kris Bryant struck out, but after Familia intentionally walked Chris Coghlan, the Cubs executed a double-steal thanks to Murph’s inability to keep his glove down on the tag. Fortunately, Familia worked around it, and made it out of the inning unscathed. Hansel Robles then pitched a scoreless tenth for the Mets, but just when you thought they might call the game due to lack of aggression, the Cubs broke through. Against Carlos Torres in the eleventh, Starlin Castro hit an infield single to third that drove in Anthony Rizzo. Another run came in against Sean Gilmartin to the make the score a-way-more-intimidating-than-it-should-look-but-because-of-the-way-the-Mets-have-been-playing-I-knew-there-was-no-hope 2-0.
That being said, with two outs in the bottom of the eleventh, Ceciliani attempted to redeem himself when he laced a single off of James Russell to keep the Mets in business. James Grimm then came on for the Cubs and walked Wilmer Flores, which put runners at the corners after Ceciliani had advanced on defensive indifference and a wild pitch. Sadly, though, Kevin Plawecki struck out looking to end a bizarre and painful game for the Mets.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big winners: Bartolo Colon, +40.0% WPA; Daniel Murphy, +16.0% WPA
Big losers: Carlos Torres, -36.0% WPA; Ruben Tejada, -26.0% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Daniel Murphy double, bottom of the eighth
Teh sux0rest play: Starlin Castro single, bottom of the eleventh
Total pitcher WPA: +29.0% WPA
Total batter WPA: -79.0% WPA
GWRBI!: Starlin Castro