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Mets fail to score in series finale against Nationals

Tanner Roark and the Nationals’ bullpen shut out the Mets.

MLB: New York Mets at Washington Nationals Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

On Wednesday afternoon, the Mets had an opportunity to gain ground on both of the other teams contending for Wild Card spots in the National League. But they were shut out by Tanner Roark and the Nationals’ bullpen, and it was the Mets’ bullpen that cracked first—and ever so briefly—when Wilson Ramos hit a long solo home run in the bottom of the seventh that was the only run scored in the game.

If the Mets had to be shut out, at least they did so against a pitcher who’s had a great year. Roark’s peripheral rates aren’t particularly impressive, but he has a 2.75 ERA on the season through 193.1 innings. The Mets aren’t the only team that’s had a game like that against him, and it was the first time they were shut out since a brutal 9-0 loss to the Diamondbacks back on August 11.

Despite all of that, the Mets did have one great opportunity to score in the top of the first. Jose Reyes and Asdrubal Cabrera singled, and after Yoenis Cepsedes popped out, they advanced to second and third on a passed ball. Curtis Granderson walked to load the bases for Jay Bruce, who promptly struck out on three pitches. T.J. Rivera, the hero of the Mets’ Tuesday night win, followed up with a fly ball out just slightly in foul territory down the right field line.

In 144 plate appearances with the Mets, Bruce has now hit .192/.271/.315 with four home runs and a 57 wRC+. Even at his worst, he was never nearly that bad over the course of any full season, but each of his at-bats seems to be building a case that the Mets might not even want to pick up his very modest $13 million option for 2017.

On the bright side, Robert Gsellman looked very good again. He threw five-and-two-thirds scoreless innings, but Terry Collins went to the left-handed Josh Smoker with two outs, a runner on second, and Daniel Murphy due up. Collins had Smoker intentionally walk Murphy to pitch to Bryce Harper instead—a notion that would have sounded downright insane a few months ago—and it worked, as Smoker struck him out.

Fernando Salas took over in the seventh and gave up the bomb to Wilson Ramos. He finished that inning and pitched a scoreless eighth, which left him with a 1.13 ERA since the Mets traded for him but left the Mets behind in the game.

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What’s WPA?

Big winners: Robert Gsellman, +29.5% WPA
Big losers: T.J. Rivera, -15.4% WPA, Fernando Salas, -14.1% WPA, Curtis Granderson, -11.8% WPA, Jay Bruce, -11.5% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Danny Espinosa grounds into a double play in the fifth, +6.8% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Wilson Ramos hits a solo home run in the seventh, -23.0% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: +20.7% WPA
Total batter WPA: -70.7% WPA
GWRBI!: Wilson Ramos