It was a starting pitching matchup of two rookie pitchers, but one fared much better than the the other in the Mets’ 9-2 loss.
When the season started I’m sure nobody could have predicted a game where Chris Flexen would be getting the start and Phillip Evans would be the cleanup hitter in a late September game against a division rival, yet here we are.
The first few innings were surprisingly well played by two teams well out of the race in the final week of the season. Flexen and Atlanta starter Lucas Sims looked to be at the top of their game and cruised through the first three innings. Ozzie Albies ambushed Flexen on his first pitch thrown in the fourth for a solo home run, but Flexen seemed to brush it off and got through the rest of the fourth and even the fifth without further damage.
The sixth proved to be his breaking point. Sims led off the inning with a bit of a lucky hit and then Flexen’s command of the strike zone deserted him. After back-to-back walks to Ender Inciarte and Albies, Flexen was lifted from the game. As crisp as the first few innings were, for the rest of the game it was the exact opposite for the Mets’ pitchers.
First up was Josh Smoker. He allowed all three inherited runners to score when Nick Markakis hit a double down the line and Rio Ruiz hit a sacrifice fly to put the Braves up 4-0.
Erik Goeddel gave up doubles to Jace Peterson and Inciarte to give the Braves their fifth run. Kevin McGowan entered for the eighth and gave up a two-run blast to Tyler Flowers and an infield hit to Matt Adams to plate the third run of the inning.
Unfortunately the Braves were not done. Freddie Freeman had been held in check for the entire game, but he doubled with one out in the ninth against Jacob Rhame. After a couple of walks, Freeman became Atlanta’s ninth run when he came home on Rio Ruiz’s sacrifice fly.
When all was said and done, Mets pitching gave up 10 hits and issued seven walks. They were clearly the standout in the Mets’ 90th loss, but the offense didn’t fare much better. The few baserunners they managed against Sims were erased by Flowers. Juan Lagares was caught stealing in the third and Jose Reyes got thrown out at third base in the sixth.
Tomas Nido made his first major league start and finally put the Mets on the board when Sims left the game. Sims departed with two out and two on in the seventh and Nido hit a booming double off Dan Winkler to bring both runners home, but that was it for the scoring on the Mets’ side.
This game suddenly went off the rails and continued to spiral downhill on the backs of bad pitching. This is also exactly what happened this season, which is how we ended up with Flexen on the mound and and Evans as a cleanup hitter in September.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big winners: None
Big losers: None Teh aw3s0mest play: Brandon Nimmo single in fourth
Teh sux0rest play: Nick Markakis double in sixth
Total pitcher WPA: -20.7%
Total batter WPA: -29.3%
GWRBI!: Rio Ruiz