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Mets vs. Cubs recap: Early lead turns into blowout loss

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The Mets took an early lead, but it was a distant memory by the time the game ended.

MLB: New York Mets at Chicago Cubs Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

The Mets are hard to watch. It’s been that way for quite some time, but the things that we have known for the past few weeks and months haven’t really changed all that much. Clearly overmatched against the Cubs—a team that isn’t playing up to its expectations, either, but is still leading its division with a pretty decent chance to make the playoffs—the Mets had lost twice going into the series finale on Thursday night. And they briefly took a lead but lost in another landslide.

Things started off okay. Rookie starter Jen-Ho Tseng was very shaky for the Cubs in the first, and the Mets were gifted a few baserunners and managed to score one on a sac fly. They could have done more, but they didn’t. In the second, though, Jose Reyes singled in a run before Brandon Nimmo doubled him in—a technicality since rookie Cubs catcher Taylor Davis botched the reception of a throw that should have easily retired Reyes before he reached home plate.

But with a 3-0 lead, the Mets quickly turned back into their 2017 selves, boosting the Cubs’ playoff odds in the process. With the help of a not-so-great decision by Amed Rosario to throw home—a rookie mistake by a rookie, as someone put it on TV or the internet at the time—Mets starter Seth Lugo gave up three runs in the bottom of the second.

Dominic Smith and Travis d’Arnaud hit back-to-back home runs to begin the fifth and give the Mets a two-run lead, but that’s when the fun stopped. Lugo got into a mess of a situation in the bottom of that inning, and the Cubs wound up scoring five runs against him and Josh Smoker. In total, Lugo gave up eight runs, all but one of which was earned, on nine hits in three-plus innings. He now has a 5.21 ERA on the season, and it still somehow feels like he’s had a pretty good year, at least compared to the seasons that Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, and Steven Matz have had.

From there, Jerry Blevins and Paul Sewald gave up a total of five runs, which put the Cubs at fourteen on the night. That was far more than enough to beat the Mets in this one, too, as the team from New York mustered just one more run when Tomas Nido got his first major league hit in the ninth to plate a run. In somewhat fitting fashion for the Mets, the game came to an end later in that ninth inning when Nido made an ill-advised decision to try to score from third one what was one of many awkward plays in the game. He was thrown out.

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What’s WPA?

Big winners: Dominic Smith, +19.5% WPA, Jose Reyes, +12.8% WPA
Big losers: Seth Lugo, -66.2% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Dominic Smith hits a solo home run to give the Mets the lead in the third, +11.5% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Travis Davis “singles,” chaos ensues in the second, -15.7% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: -76.3% WPA
Total batter WPA: +26.3% WPA
GWRBI!: Kris Bryant