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Mets vs. Cubs recap: Lester throws a gem, Matz struggles

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The Cubs beat the Mets last night at Wrigley Field.

MLB: New York Mets at Chicago Cubs Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

The Mets’ long winning streak against the Cubs finally came to an end last night at Wrigley Field. Steven Matz wasn’t terrible by any means, but he wasn’t great, either, and threw 102 pitches as he gave up four runs in five-plus innings.

Three of those runs scored when Anthony Rizzo got the Cubs on the board first with a three-run home run in the bottom of the third inning. The Mets had threatened in the second and third innings but failed to score, and Matz had allowed a single in each of the first two innings but nothing else. But he allowed Javier Baez to hit his second single of the evening in the third, hit Kris Bryant with a pitch, and served up the aforementioned home run to Rizzo.

That inning could have gone worse, too. Willson Contreras followed up the home run with a ground rule double that got stuck in the ivy—a play on which Yoenis Cespedes correctly didn’t try to retrieve the ball. And one out later, when Matt Szczur singled to Cespedes in left field, the Cubs foolishly sent Contreras home. Cespedes threw him out easily.

But that was really the highlight of the game for the Mets. They didn’t score until Wilmer Flores hit a leadoff home run off Jon Lester in the seventh inning, and they didn’t score after that, either. They got a couple runners on base in each of the eighth and ninth innings, against Lester and the Cubs’ bullpen, but none of those threats amounted to runs, either.

And the Mets’ bullpen allowed one run in the eighth after Szczur hit a two-out double off Erik Goeddel. Albert Almora Jr. singled to left, setting up another opportunity for Cespedes to throw out a runner at the plate, but this time, the ball went through his legs and rolled to the wall.

While the Mets teed off on Lester in his start at Citi Field in early July, he is a good pitcher, and in isolation, losing a game in which the other guy was on top of his game and the Mets’ guy wasn’t isn’t really a tough pill to swallow. But as the Mets look to continue contending, it’d be great if they got back to beating the Cubs tonight.

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What’s WPA?

Big winners: none
Big losers: Steven Matz, -15.6% WPA, Asdrubal Cabrera, -13.0% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Wilmer Flores singles in the second to put runners on first and second, +5.9% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Anthony Rizzo hits a three-run home run in the third, -24.3% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: -16.6% WPA
Total batter WPA: -33.4% WPA
GWRBI!: Anthony Rizzo