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A.J. Ramos and the strike zone have a disagreement, as Mets fall in extras

A.J. Ramos dealt the final blow, but this was a pretty bad loss all around.

MLB: New York Mets at Milwaukee Brewers Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Last night’s game started off promisingly enough for the Mets when Brandon Nimmo flashed the leather in the bottom of the first inning, making a diving catch to rob Christian Yelich of a hit off Noah Syndergaard. However, the very next inning Travis Shaw—who would go on to have a very good night at the plate—hit a solo homer to lead things off and put the Brewers up 1-0 early. Domingo Santana immediately followed with a single, but Syndergaard was able to induce the 4-6-3 double play grounder from Jonathan Villar. Manny Pina then singled as well, but Syndergaard struck out Tyler Saladino to end an inning in which he was definitely hit hard by the Brewers.

LOSE, 4-3

The Mets struck back in the top of the third when Amed Rosario hit an absolute blast to dead center field to tie the game at 1. But the Brewers got to Syndergaard again in the bottom of the frame, when he once again struggled to hold runners on first base. He retired the opposing pitcher Guerra on a groundout to lead off the inning, but then gave up a single to Lorenzo Cain, who promptly stole second base. Christian Yelich followed that with a single up the middle to score Cain and a stolen base of his own. Jesus Aguilar flew out for the second out, but Travis Shaw singled up the middle to put the Brewers on top 3-1. Syndergaard stopped the bleeding there, striking out Domingo Santana looking to escape further damage.

The Mets once again followed with a solo home run in the top of the next inning, this time by Michael Conforto, who was actually fooled on a decent pitch by Guerra, but was able to muscle the ball out to right field. The Mets managed just one more hit off Junior Guerra in the top of the sixth when Asdrubal Cabrera led off the inning with a single. However, he was erased on a double play by Wilmer Flores. Guerra exited the game after six innings of work, allowing just the two runs on five hits with three strikeouts.

Noah Syndergaard settled in nicely after the third inning, holding the Brewers hitless for three straight innings. The only base runner Syndergaard had to negotiate after the third inning came with one out in the fourth when Manny Pina hit a bouncer to third base on which Wilmer Flores committed an error, bouncing a throw to first that Adrian Gonzalez was unable to handle. However, Syndergaard retired Saladino on a flyout and struck out Guerra to end the threat.

Syndergaard finished his outing by retiring eight straight batters, five of them via the strikeout. He ended up recording eight strikeouts in all over his six innings of work, throwing just 78 pitches. Down one run in the top of the seventh, after Michael Conforto and Devin Mesoraco looked predictably hopeless against Brewers’ star reliever Josh Hader, Jose Bautista, pinch hitting for Adrian Gonzalez, managed to work out a walk to get the tying run on base with two outs. Instead of allowing Syndergaard to hit for himself, Mickey Callaway opted to pinch hit Jose Reyes, who made contact, but grounded out to second base to end the inning and force Syndergaard’s early exit.

Syndergaard was replaced by Seth Lugo, who retired the Brewers 1-2-3 in the bottom of the seventh. Hader made quick work of the Mets in the top of the eighth, striking out the side. Lugo pitched another perfect inning in the bottom of the eighth, extending his scoreless innings streak to 17 straight. After two great innings of work from Hader, the Brewers turned to their normally dominant closer Corey Knebel to finish the game. Wilmer Flores hit a ball straight down at the plate that catcher Manny Pina managed to smother and tag Flores for the first out. The ball appeared to have been in foul territory, but the umpire’s view was obscured and the call was not reviewable. Jay Bruce then lined out to center to get the Mets down to their final out.

Suddenly, Knebel had trouble finding the strike zone and Michael Conforto and Devin Mesoraco drew back-to-back walks to put the tying run in scoring position. Then in his first big moment as a met, Jose Bautista delivered, smacking an RBI single to tie the game at 3. Luis Guillorme, pinch hitting for Lugo, worked a ten pitch at-bat, fouling off some good pitches from Knebel and finally drew a walk to load the bases for Amed Rosario. Craig Counsell decided he had seen enough from Knebel and removed him in favor of Jeremy Jeffress, who did his job to retire an over-eager Rosario, who grounded out to shortstop, ending the Mets’ chance to get ahead for the first time in the game.

Robert Gsellman was tasked with pitching the bottom of the ninth. Travis Shaw led off the inning with a cue shot double down the left field line against the shift, his third hit of the night. Gsellman then struck out Domingo Santana looking. The Brewers sent up Ryan Braun to pinch hit and the Mets opted to give him the intentional free pass with first base open. Manny Pina then hit an absolute screaming line drive to Brandon Nimmo, who was able to double off Travis Shaw, who had taken off running at contact, perhaps forgetting how many outs there were. This fortunate base running blunder sent the game into extra innings.

The Mets had some hard hit balls off Jeffress in the tenth, but nothing came of it, as Asdrubal Cabrera was gunned down at second attempting to stretch a single into a double with one out. Wilmer Flores then just got under a pitch and drove it to deep left field, but Christian Yelich caught it just a step from the wall to end the inning.

Gsellman stayed in to start the bottom of the tenth inning and retired the leadoff hitter Saladino on a fly ball into foul territory in right field, on which Jay Bruce made a nice running grab. Eric Sogard, who was double-switched into the game and batting in the pitchers’ spot, then hit a single to put the winning run on base for the Brewers. Gsellman was able to retire Lorenzo Cain on a deep fly to the warning track in center field.

Mickey Callaway then chose to take Gsellman out of the game and put in Jerry Blevins to face Christian Yelich, perhaps with the Nick Williams home run he got burned by in the past when failing to go to Blevins still on his mind. Christian Yelich dumped a single in front of Jay Bruce in right field. Many right fielders probably make the play, but Bruce had been playing deep and continues to battle plantar fasciitis, which perhaps has resulted in him losing a step or two in the field. Nevertheless, Jerry Blevins did hang a curveball to Yelich and once again failed to do his job in what is quickly becoming somewhat of a lost season for him.

Instead of going to his closer Jeurys Familia, Mickey Callaway opted to conserve Familia in the event that the Mets took the lead. Instead, he turned to A.J. Ramos, who has been notoriously bad coming in with runners on base, a trend he did not buck tonight. Hernan Perez stood at the plate as the pinch hitter, with Travis Shaw—the big lefty who already had collected three hits in the game—looming on deck. Ramos couldn’t find the strike zone and walked Perez on four pitches, which is when the inevitability of the loss began to truly sink in. Predictably, Ramos walked Shaw as well to force in the winning run and end the game in a brutal loss for the Mets.

It’s easy to put this one on Ramos, who certainly was awful tonight, continuing to call into question the wisdom of paying him $9 million. However, there is plenty of blame to go around tonight, with Mickey Callaway making a few questionable managerial decisions and several players failing to execute. Jerry Blevins continues to not get the job done. Noah Syndergaard continues to be vulnerable to the stolen base. Amed Rosario had a chance with the bases loaded to put the Mets ahead and failed to capitalize. Wilmer Flores grounded into a double play in a key spot. Jay Bruce, despite having made a good play earlier in the game, seemed like a liability on the liner by Yelich off Blevins and also went 0-for-4 batting in the cleanup spot.

After the Mets seemed to be firing on all cylinders in last night’s game, tonight was a disappointing let down as the Mets continue to lose games started by Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard at an unsustainable clip. The Mets were able to claw back against a fantastic closer in Knebel, but ultimately couldn’t seal the deal and fell victim to their own bullpen woes.

Jason Vargas looks to build upon the success he had in his last start tomorrow afternoon, matching up against Chase Anderson, as the Mets try to get back on top in the third game of this four-game series at Miller Park.

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Win Probability Added

What’s WPA?

Big winners: Jose Bautista, +35.3% WPA, Robert Gsellman, +22.3% WPA
Big losers: A.J. Ramos, -35.5% WPA, Wilmer Flores, -24.9% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Jose Bautista singles to tie the game in the ninth, +32.8% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: A.J. Ramos walks Travis Shaw to force in the game-winning run, -33.7% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: -15% WPA
Total batter WPA: -35% WPA
GWRBI!: Travis Shaw