The Dark Knight did what he needed to do. Terry Collins and the bullpen did not, and the Mets lost 6-4 to the Red Sox tonight at Citi Field.
In his return to the mound after almost two weeks off, Matt Harvey looked marvelous. In his most recent starts before being skipped, Harvey’s velocity had been down in his first few innings of work. Simply put, the rest did him good. The Dark Knight’s first pitch, though a ball, was a cool 96 miles per hour, and he would hit 99 mph before inducing a leadoff groundout off the bat of Mookie Betts. Harvey certainly settled in more as the game went on, but he held the Red Sox to two hits through six innings and struck out eight.
Henry Owens performed admirably against the Mets offense. The Red Sox lefty struggled with his command over his five innings of work tonight, walking four and throwing 108 pitches, but the Amazins were unable to get a lot going against him. Juan Lagares looked particularly inept against Owens’s off-speed pitches.
Initially, though, it was nice to see the Mets manage to score in spite of their power outage. In the fourth, Wilmer Flores lunged at a changeup to give the Mets their first extra-base hit of the night. Travis d’Arnaud then singled to shallow center field and, logically, should have advanced Flores to third. However, Wilmer Flores—legend that he is—is not governed by logic. Therefore, when Tim Teuful told him hold up, Flores just ignored him and managed to give the Mets a 1-0 lead. The Amazins scored again in the next inning after David Wright scored when Rusney Castillo misplayed a Michael Cuddyer single in right to make the score 2-0 going into the seventh.
Harvey’s pitch count was at 103 through six, and Logan Verrett, hero of last Sunday, came into preserve the lead. He failed. David Ortiz homered on the first pitch he saw, and a few batters later Jackie Bradley Jr. also homered to drive in Blake Swihart and give the Sox a 3-2 lead.
They would not hold that lead for long, though. After Curtis Granderson lined out against Robbie Ross Jr., Ross was removed in favor of Alexi Ogando. Ogando then loaded the bases by walking Yoenis Cespedes, coughing up a single to Wright, and allowing another walk to Cuddyer. After Wilmer Flores popped out—and let’s be honest: if Flores had driven in the go-ahead runs at that point, Citi Field might have combusted from the mythical epic-ness of it all—d’Arnaud also walked to tie the game up. But the Mets got nothing else in the inning.
Tyler Clippard and Jeurys Familia came on to pitch a scoreless inning each in the eighth and ninth, and in the home half of the ninth, Yoenis Cespedes, David Wright, and Michael Cuddyer were destined to face Tommy Layne. Why Layne was in made absolutely no sense, as right-handed hitters have dominated him all season. It worked, though, as Wright hit into a double play after Cespedes walked and Cuddyer grounded out to send the game into extras.
For reasons known only to Terry Collins, Carlos Torres found himself on the mound despite having thrown two-and-one-third innings the night before. He proceeded to pitch some batting practice to the Red Sox hitters. The Sox took the lead on a home run off the bat of Blake Swihart that was originally ruled as an inside-the-parker, but was later revealed to be a homer of the traditional variety as it hit above the orange line on the center field wall. The Red Sox got two more runs on a sacrifice fly and a Mookie Betts single that knocked Torres out of the game, as Collins brought in Eric O'Flaherty to stop the bleeding.
Junichi Tazawa replaced Layne in the bottom half of the inning, and after getting d'Arnaud to ground into a double play, decided to make things interesting by issuing four straight walks to make the score 6-4 and bring Cespedes to the plate. Craig Breslow entered and got Cespedes to fly out to deep center field, and the Red Sox won the opening game of the series.
SB Nation GameThreads
* Amazin' Avenue GameThread
* Over The Monster GameThread
Win Probability Added
Big winners: Matt Harvey, +31.2% WPA; Travis d'Arnaud, +30% WPA
Big losers: Logan Verrett -53.4% WPA; Carlos Torres, -47.3% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Travis d'Arnaud walk, bottom of the seventh
Teh sux0rest play: Blake Swihart homer, top of the tenth
Total pitcher WPA: -48.7% WPA
Total batter WPA: -1.3% WPA
GWRBI!: Josh Rutledge