This was going to be an easy recap. As the game trudged into the top of the ninth inning, it seemed inevitable the Mets would suffer their first shutout of the season. I congratulated myself on my working title, “The Mets lay a goose egg on Easter Sunday.”
I started typing up the recap as the inning got underway—more fervently so after Lucas Duda, the first batter, struck out looking. I paused for a moment when d’Arnaud laced a single into right field, but Jose Reyes was coming up and I felt safe resuming my task. When he struck out looking—it was inevitable, really—I was putting the finishing touches on my snappy little recap with the aim of hitting “publish” a minute or two after the final out.
All action stopped when Flores got a base hit of his own and scampered safely to second after d’Arnaud arrived at third. Though I knew it was unlikely the Mets would tie the game or take the lead, the sudden flurry of activity warranted at least a mention in my recap. I had to be careful about what I added and tweaked—and besides, this last out to play with represented the Mets’ best opportunity of the game. Naturally, pinch-hitter Asdrubal Cabrera singled to drive in d’Arnaud and Flores and tie the game.
I could only laugh at myself as I went back to the drawing board. Baseball had struck again; another chapter of “it ain’t over till it’s over” had been filed; and the Mets had come alive at the last-possible moment.
By that time, you could have been forgiven for having mostly forgotten about Matt Harvey’s nice six-inning outing in which he gave up two runs on seven hits. You would have forgotten about it because of a more pressing matter—namely, that of the Mets being held hitless until Neil Walker hit a single with one out in the eighth inning.
Indeed, the Mets’ futility at the plate was the story of this game, and the main reason they lost. You can sort of suck it up and get over it if your team runs into a dominant pitcher or a special performance; but it is harder to figure when the opposing starting pitcher, Dan Straily in this case, lasts all of five-and-a-third innings. No, the Mets just couldn’t hit worth a damn today; and when they did, though it was fun, it wasn’t enough.
I had visions of extra innings dancing through my head as the game went to the bottom of the ninth with Addison Reed on the mound. Concern for how the over-taxed bullpen would handle another protracted showdown against the pesky Marlins lineup was quickly overshadowed by disappointment when Marcell Ozuna ripped a lead off base hit against Addison Reed.
Disoriented and on edge, I tried to recall a time in which Ozuna had made an out or screwed something up—because he had been everywhere today, hitting baseballs and catching would-be Wilmer Flores doubles while hanging off the outfield fence and the like. On cue, Miguel Rojas ripped a double to left field that, I thought, was sure to bring Ozuna home and win the game—walk-off style, again—for the Marlins. Silly me: I had forgotten about the new life the Mets had breathed into this game, and was thoroughly delighted when Ozuna was gunned down by Cabrera’s perfect relay throw--courtesy, first, of a great throw back in from Yoenis Cespedes.
Alas, the next batter, pinch-hitter J.T. Riddle, stepped into the box and cranked a two-run homer over the wall in right-center; and just like that, the Marlins had their second walk-off win in three days. Yeesh.
Right now, it is difficult to grasp that the 2017 baseball season is still very, very young. This would have been recalled as an exhausting and hard-fought series regardless of which team won today’s game; but the Mets’ loss today—and with it, the series loss—made it sour.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big winners: Welp
Big losers: Addison Reed, -36.6% WPA, Jay Bruce, -19.3% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Asdrubal Cabrera’s two-RBI single in the top of the 9th inning
Teh sux0rest play: J.T. Riddle’s walk-off home run in the bottom of the 9th inning
Total pitcher WPA: -28.9% WPA
Total batter WPA: -21.1% WPA
GWRBI!: J.T. Riddle