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Mets vs Padres recap: Montero labors, offense misses opportunities

Rafael Montero threw 87 pitches in three innings and the Mets left nine runners on base.

MLB: San Diego Padres at New York Mets Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

When the Mets announced that Rafael Montero was going to start Thursday night’s game three hours before game time, pushing Jacob deGrom back a day, many Mets fans’ hopes of taking the rubber game of this series were severely diminished. Still, the Mets were facing the worst team in baseball who were starting a pitcher making his MLB debut, so they still had a chance. But the Mets did indeed fall last night in a misty and foggy affair, losing 4-3, and dropping the series to the 18-31 Padres.

lose 4-3 mirror

Things got rocky right out of the gate for Montero. After getting the first batter of the game out, Montero then promptly yielded back-to-back walks, followed by back-to-back singles, the latter of which scored a run. The Padres still had the bases loaded, and Montero would walk in the second run of the inning two batters later. It took him 45 pitches to get through the first inning, but he only allowed those two runs and stranded the bases loaded.

That inning all but set the tone for the day for Montero, who was on a strict pitch count anyway. He gave up another run in the third, and was pulled after that inning. He finished his outing having thrown a whopping 87 pitches in a laborious three innings of work. Montero’s ERA is now 8.24 on the season, and it’s unclear when or if he will ever make an appearance for the Mets again.

Montero gave way to Paul Sewald in the fourth, who turned in three rock solid innings to help out the overworked Mets bullpen, striking out four and allowing only two baserunners over those three innings. Sewald lowered his ERA to an impressive 2.08 in 17.1 innings of work for the team so far this year.

On offense, the Mets were hard-pressed to overcome the three-run deficit Montero had put them in. Lucas Duda hit his fifth homer of the campaign in the second inning to get them closer, but the Mets offense could not push across anything else against rookie Dinelson Lamet. They left runners on base, and Matt Reynolds was gunned down at the plate trying to score in the third. Lamet struck out eight Mets in five innings his MLB debut, three of them being Michael Conforto, who surprisingly struck out four times overall tonight.

The offense missed another opportunity in the sixth inning, stranding runners at the corners when T.J. Rivera struck out in a pinch-hitting appearance. They again left two men on in the seventh inning, but were finally able to muster a run on a single by Duda in the eighth inning to get them within one run at 3-2. But an Asdrubal Cabrera double play ended any further threat for the Mets in that inning.

Addison Reed took the mound in a non-save situation in the ninth, and was the only Mets reliever to give up a run in the game. He allowed one run on a Cory Spangenberg double to make it 4-2.

The Mets again made some noise in the bottom of the ninth of Brad Hand for the second straight day, and this time were able to tally a run off him on a Jose Reyes RBI groundout to make it 4-3. Jay Bruce came up with the tying run on base and representing the winning run, but he fouled out to end the game. The Mets are back at seven games under .500.

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What’s WPA?

Big winners: Neil Walker, +14.7% WPA, Paul Sewald, +10.4% WPA
Big losers: Rafael Montero, -20.1% WPA, Jose Reyes, -17.0% WPA, Jay Bruce, -14.8% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Lucas Duda hits an RBI single in the bottom of the eighth inning, +13.3% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Matt Szczur hits an RBI single in the top of the third inning, -9.2% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: -11.3% WPA
Total batter WPA: -38.7% WPA
GWRBI!: Cory Spangenberg