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Mets vs. Pirates, Game 1 recap: Matz doesn't dominate, Niese does

The Mets dropped the first game of yesterday's doubleheader despite facing Jon Niese.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The first of the Mets’ pair of losses to the Pirates yesterday was probably the more annoying of the two games, though they could both be described by that word. In the day game, though, the Mets were facing former Met Jon Niese, who had been on a nice roll over his past handful of starts but still had 2016 numbers that weren’t even as good as what he had done for the Mets over the past couple of years.

But Niese got the Mets to hit ground ball after ground ball, and most of the contact was so weak that it turned into easy outs. On the rare occasions that the Mets hit the ball well to the outfield, the Pirates’ defenders were almost always there to catch it.

Steven Matz wasn’t bad by any means, but he wasn’t dominant, either. He threw 101 pitches in five innings, which was the only reason he only lasted that long. He struck out eight, which is great, and he walked two, which isn’t spectacular but also isn’t the end of the world. He gave up eight hits, and just 58 of his pitches were strikes. So he didn’t lose many hitters to the walk, but he got behind in the count often and gave up more hits than usual as a result.

Antonio Bastardo continued his recent stretch of poor performances with a run allowed on a solo home run by Jordy Mercer in the sixth inning, but by the end of the game, that run didn’t really matter much.

The Mets’ only run of the day came from Curtis Granderson, who hit a home run in the eighth to cut the Pirates’ lead to 3-1. The Mets had other opportunities to score, most notably in the top of the fifth after Matz hit a one-out triple. Niese got out of that inning with a couple of weak ground ball outs, though. And it’s worth noting that Matz hit one of the loudest fly balls, a shot to the warning track in dead center that was tracked down by Andrew McCutchen.

SB Nation GameThreads

* Amazin' Avenue GameThread
* Bucs Dugout GameThread

Box scores


Win Probability Added

(What's WPA?)

Big winners: none
Big losers:Asdrubal Cabrera, -12.7% WPA, Michael Conforto, -11.5% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Steven Matz hits a triple in the fifth inning, +10.4% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Josh Harrison leads off the first with a triple, -9.7% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: -5.9% WPA
Total batter WPA: -44.1% WPA
GWRBI!: Andrew McCutchen