The Mets had been using Citizens Bank Park as their own personal playground, but that came to a screeching halt in a 3-1 loss to Aaron Nola and the Phillies.
A little over an hour before game time rumors started to spread about a possible Neil Walker trade. Walker was scratched from the lineup and Jose Reyes was inserted into the two hole in his place. Reyes is not the answer going forward, so if this team wants to prepare for next season, now is the time to give Wilmer Flores or Gavin Cecchini an extended look at second.
Walker’s bat had been heating up in this series, and Reyes’s bat has been giving weak popups freezer burn pretty much the entire year, so that could be part of the reason why the offense sputtered in this game.
Another reason why is that Aaron Nola is actually really good. He looked dominant against the Mets’ hitters and had them flailing at pitches throughout his seven innings of work. He struck out eight and gave up only two hits. One of those hits left the yard when Yoenis Cespedes handed the Mets a 1-0 lead when he connected for another blast in Citizens Bank Park. When Cespedes connects it is a pleasant reminder of how much fun he is to watch when he is healthy. Unfortunately, Cespedes also had a chance to get his team back in it with runners on in the eighth, but he struck out against reliever Ricardo Pinto. The offense as a whole struggled against Phillies pitching so Cespedes does not carry the blame by himself.
The Mets did have a chance to score in the third after Amed Rosario doubled. Brandon Nimmo struck out but made it to first on a passed ball by the catcher. They attempted a double steal but Rosario was thrown out at home. The play was unsuccessful but it is exciting to think they have the personnel to attempt plays like this. This is an aspect of their game that hasn’t been seen for quite some time so why not try and see what your players can do.
Steven Matz is another player that needs to show what he can do. He had quite a few woeful outings in a row and was looking to rebound. He was not dominant, and the Phillies might have helped him out on a few occasions, but he did look much better on the mound. He did not allow a hit until the fifth, where things unraveled a bit on him. He gave up two consecutive two-out hits to Cesar Hernandez and Freddy Galvis to bring home two runs. Matz pitched into the sixth but was done after he hit Nick Williams with a pitch with two out. Matz gave up just the two runs, walked two, and struck out only one batter.
Chasen Bradford cleaned up the sixth for Matz and pitched a perfect seventh. He has been a bright spot coming out of the bullpen ever since he was recalled from Las Vegas.
Erik Goeddel has been better recently, but the Phillies got a run off him in the eighth. He limited the damage to one run after he gave up a leadoff walk and a single. Maikel Franco popped a ball up in foul territory that Cespedes never ran toward, but Rosario hustled over and grabbed it for the final out of the inning. Rosario also made a fantastic jump throw earlier in the game to help Matz get through an inning. His bat has looked much better these past few games, but his defense has been as good as advertised since his arrival and is a welcome breath of fresh air at the shortstop position.
Dominic Smith did not pick up any hits in his second game and was pinch-hit for in the ninth with Wilmer Flores. The Mets got the tying run to the plate but both Flores and Travis d’Arnaud couldn’t get it done against Luis Garcia.
Sure there are going to be some growing pains with the younger players, but they mostly weren’t given a chance. Dominic Smith was pulled for the second game in a row and Jose Reyes started at second over Wilmer Flores. The point of this season is not to win ball games anymore. It is about putting your players in a position to succeed in the future and, in this game at least, that did not happen.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big winners: None
Big losers: Travis d’Arnaud -12.2%
Teh aw3s0mest play: Yoenis Cespedes home run in fourth
Teh sux0rest play: Cesar Hernandez single in fifth
Total pitcher WPA: -0.8%
Total batter WPA: .49.2%
GWRBI!: Tommy Joseph