Having already taken the first two games of their three-game series with the Nationals on Friday and Saturday, the Mets entered Sunday with a chance for an uplifting sweep of their division rivals. Instead, they played one of the worst single regular season games you might draw up in a fever nightmare.
The big story going into the game was that Noah Syndergaard was pitching it, even though he had been skipped a few days earlier because of biceps tendinitis. And at least on the physical side of things, he looked fine early in the game, hitting 99, 100, and 101 miles per hour with his fastball.
That velocity didn’t translate into success, though. He gave up five runs in that inning, and he took the mound for the second as the Mets still had a reasonable shot to get back in the game. But not too long into that inning, he looked uncomfortable after throwing one pitch and grimaced heavily after the next one as he held the area underneath his right arm.
With that, Syndergaard’s day was over, and the schedule for his Monday morning had been decided, too. But the Mets’ version of baseball hell was just getting started.
The Mets made things close at first, getting within one run of the Nationals in the top of the fourth with Sean Gilmartin, who had taken over for the injured Syndergaard, getting in on the fun with an RBI double and a run scored. But Gilmartin’s pitching fortunes took a turn for the worse, and by the time he was done, he had given up five runs in two-and-two-thirds innings.
Fernando Salas gave up three runs and now has a 7.15 ERA on the season. Josh Smoker gave up six, one of which was unearned, leaving him with a 6.75 ERA. And with the game thoroughly out of reach, the Mets had Kevin Plawecki pitch the last two obligatory bottoms of an inning. The catcher retired the side in order in the seventh but gave up four runs in the eighth.
In the standings, it’s only one loss. The best-case scenario here is that Syndergaard is relatively okay and the Mets can eventually look back at this particular game and laugh. But it’s hard to think of a way to make the team’s last game in the month of April any more discouraging.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big winners: Jay Bruce, +12.3% WPA
Big losers: Noah Syndergaard, -38.6% WPA, Sean Gilmartin, -28.6% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Michael Conforto singles to score Sean Gilmartin in the fourth, +9.5% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Anthony Rendon hits a two-run single in the first, -16.6% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: -70.5% WPA
Total batter WPA: +20.5% WPA
GWRBI!: Anthony Rendon