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Stolen bases, runners left on base are Mets’ undoing in second loss to Nationals

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The Mets could not stop the Nationals from running wild.

Washington Nationals v New York Mets Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

After a brutal loss to open the series, Mickey Callaway preached resiliency for Tuesday night’s game, but it was always going to be an uphill battle with Gio Gonzalez on the mound. The Mets again were their own worst enemy and dropped their first series of the year with a 5-2 defeat.

LOSE, 5-2

The Mets were not good on both sides of the ball and ultimately defeated themselves again. They allowed three stolen bases—all of which scored and were the difference in the game. Offensively, they could never come up with a big hit and left eleven men on base.

Zack Wheeler was fine in his second start despite giving up three runs. The problem was he was not missing bats and the balls put into play were soft hits that found holes. He worked out of a bases loaded situation in the first, but trouble eventually found him. It all started with Trea Turner who has been a menace this entire series. He singled to start the inning and went to third when Howie Kendrick singled behind him. Bryce Harper hit a sacrifice fly and the Nationals had a 1-0 lead.

That remained the score until the fourth when Moises Sierra led off with a single and Michael A. Taylor followed with a walk. Wilmer Difo made it 2-0 when he blooped a hit into shallow right field and Pedro Severino kept it rolling with a single to bring home another run. Wheeler was able to stop the bleeding and that would be the only damage he would allow before leaving after six innings.

Wheeler attempted to help himself and got a rally started in the fifth. He led off with a single and went to third on Amed Rosario’s double. Wheeler scored the Mets’ first run on Asdrubal Cabrera’s sacrifice fly. Amed Rosario was able to take third on the throw and scored the Mets’ second run when Yoenis Cespedes grounded out.

Mickey Callaway had been pressing all of the right buttons until these recent losses. He pinch hit Jose Reyes in the sixth with the tying run on third base with out. Jose Reyes did not have a hit when he came up to the plate and after the at bat he still did not have a hit. He struck out with an ugly swing and the rally stalled. This is not all on Callaway since he had limited right handed options on the bench. Michael Conforto might have been an acceptable option since he has shown he can hit lefties and can at least hit a ball into the outfield.

Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, and Zack Wheeler each have more hits than Reyes, so does Tomas Nido and Jose Lobaton. Meanwhile Howie Kendrick in the opposing dugout is batting .300 and making only $1.5 million more than Reyes. With Phillip Evans and Ty Kelly playing well in Triple-A, combined with Reyes’s woeful defensive abilities, it is hard right now to justify any playing time and a spot on this team for the aging shortstop.

With the crisis averted for the Nationals, they poured it on. Trea Turner again led the charge with a leadoff walk and a stolen base against Robert Gsellman. Gsellman was allowed to pitch to Harper and he induced a fly out but Ryan Zimmermann singled to bring home Turner.

The Mets once again attempted to come back with another rally in the bottom of the seventh. They got runners on first and third with one out, but Ryan Madson came back to strike out both Todd Frazier and Jay Bruce to end the threat.

The Nationals again got to Gsellman in the eighth with the help of another stolen base. This time it was Michael A. Taylor who eventually scored on a ground out despite the infield being drawn in.

In the bottom of the inning the Mets again got runners on but Asdrubal Cabrera struck out and left them where they were. On to the ninth!

Gerson Bautista made his debut after getting called up. He faced the top of the Nationals’ lineup and escaped without giving up any runs.

During their win streak, the Mets were the comeback kids but they had no such magic left in this game. They went down quickly against Sean Doolittle and are now hoping to salvage a win and stop this brief skid against their rivals.

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What’s WPA?

Big winners: None
Big losers: Todd Frazier -20.3%, Jay Bruce -15.9%, Robert Gsellman -14.2%, Jose Reyes -12%
Teh aw3s0mest play: Amed Rosario double in fifth
Teh sux0rest play: Ryan Zimmermann single in seventh
Total pitcher WPA: -20.5%
Total batter WPA: -29.5%
GWRBI!: Pedro Severino