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Long ball, missed opportunities bite Lugo and the Mets

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Seth Lugo had his a rough outing and the Mets left lots of men on base early.

MLB: New York Mets at Arizona Diamondbacks Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Mets lost yet another game last night, dropping a late night game in the desert to the Diamondbacks, 7-3. The Mets had Zack Godley on his heels early in last night’s game, putting men on base in each of the first four innings. However, they only managed to score two runs over that span and allowed Godley to settle in and outlast Seth Lugo for 6 23 innings.

Michael Conforto led off the game with a walk and advanced to third base on two groundouts from Todd Frazier and Brandon Nimmo. Alex Avila then saved a run, making a diving back hand stop behind the plate on what would have surely been a wild pitch to score Conforto. Godley was a bit wild all night and Avila put on a showcase behind the plate, stopping several balls from reaching the backstop.

LOSE 7-3

Godley got the job done, though, despite spotty control over his pitches. When he was able to command his breaking ball, it was very sharp, keeping Mets hitters off balance. Godley gave up another leadoff walk in the second inning to Jose Bautista. Dominic Smith then smacked a double to put men on second and third with nobody out. Godley escaped the jam and the Mets came away without a run. Kevin Plawecki grounded out to third base and Alex Avila saved yet another run with a lunging block behind the plate. Amed Rosario flew out to shallow center field and with the pitcher Lugo on deck, Jose Bautista took a chance and tried to score, but was thrown out by a mile to end the inning.

The Mets threatened again in the third, as Lugo led off the inning with a single—his first hit of the season. Conforto was then hit by a pitch and Lugo advanced to second. Frazier drove Lugo in with a double down the left field line to plate the Mets’ first run and Mets still had two men on with nobody out. However, Nimmo, Asdrubal Cabrera, and Bautista subsequently all struck out in succession to let Godley off the hook having surrendered just one run.

Seth Lugo was solid early in the game, despite not having his best stuff. Paul Goldschmidt hit a solo homer in the first inning to give the Diamondbacks an early lead, but Mets’ third inning run tied the game at one. Lugo struck out the side in the second, but found himself in trouble again pitching in a tie game in the bottom of the third. Jon Jay—who would go on to have three hits on the night—led off the inning with a base hit to center field. Goldschmidt followed that with a single of his own, advancing Jay to third. Jake Lamb then drove Jay in with an RBI single to put the Diamondbacks ahead 2-1. They wouldn’t surrender the lead again. Daniel Descalso added on, hitting a sacrifice fly to tack on another run and extend the Diamondbacks’ lead to two. Unlike the Mets, the Diamondbacks were able to capitalize with men on base, which was ultimately the difference in the game.

The Mets struck back in the top of the fourth when Smith hit a solo shot off the right field foul pole to bring the Mets within a run. Plawecki kept things going with a walk, but was picked off of first base when he took off toward second at the first sign of Rosario squaring to bunt. However, Rosario missed the ball and Plawecki stumbled trying to make it back to first and was erased by Avila. Rosario flew out and Lugo struck out to end the inning.

Lugo had a quick bottom of the fourth and Godley had his first 1-2-3 inning in the top of the fifth, striking out both Frazier and Nimmo in the frame. Lugo’s pitch count was approaching 100 in the fifth and he got two relatively quick outs, as Goldschmidt grounded out to short and Jake Lamb struck out swinging for Lugo’s seventh strikeout of the night. It seemed Mickey Callaway was hoping to simply get Lugo through five before turning things over to the bullpen. Lugo did get through five, but with two outs David Peralta singled and then Descalso delivered the crushing blow—a two run shot that put the Diamondbacks ahead 5-2 and soiled Lugo’s otherwise solid pitching line.

Lugo and Godley battled through not having their best stuff, but ultimately Lugo made one too many mistakes and a costly one to Descalso. The Mets, as usual, failed to respond and went down 1-2-3 again in the sixth, allowing Godley to pitch into the seventh. Chris Beck, acquired off waivers from the Chicago White Sox, made his Mets’ debut out of the bullpen in the sixth and did not pitch terribly well. He surrendered a walk to Jarrod Dyson—the last man in the Diamondbacks’ lineup you want to put on base—with one out. Dyson then promptly stole second base and third base. Beck struck out the pitcher Godley, but then Jon Jay singled to drive in Dyson and extend the Diamondbacks’ lead to 6-2. On what was perhaps a lucky break for the Mets, the inning ended when Jay was caught stealing. He looked safe on replay, but upon review the umpires surprisingly confirmed the call, allowing Beck to escape having surrendered just one run.

Rosario slashed a one out single against Godley in the seventh, but Godley struck out Wilmer Flores, who was double switched in to play first base and bat in the pitchers’ spot in his first night back from the disabled list. That closed the book on Godley and Andrew Chafin was brought in to face the lefty Conforto, who grounded out to first to end the inning.

Beck found himself in trouble again in the seventh. Goldschmit hit a ball hard toward the corner to lead off the inning, but Nimmo made a nice play to track it down. Lamb then flew out to Smith, who got his first chance in the outfield and made the catch. Smith was moved to the outfield when Flores entered the game to play first base. With two outs, however, Beck then loaded the bases on a single and two walks, forcing Callaway to turn to Jerry Blevins to face Avila with nowhere to put him. Blevins did his job this time, striking out Avila looking to end the inning.

The Diamondbacks weren’t finished scoring, however. Chafin went back out to the mound for the eighth and retired the Mets 1-2-3. Anthony Swarzak was tasked with the eighth inning and retired his first two batters, but once again, the damage came with two outs. Jay tripled off the wall in left center field and Goldschmidt drove him in with a single to make the score 7-2. Swarzak then struck out Lamb to end the inning.

The Mets put together a last-ditch effort in the ninth off Jorge De La Rosa, as Jose Reyes led off the inning with a pinch hit double. Smith then struck out swinging before Plawecki hit a dribbler in front of the mound, but De La Rosa airmailed the throw to first, allowing Plawecki to reach base and Reyes to advance to third on the error. Rosario struck out swinging for the second out, but Flores delivered an RBI double to drive in Reyes for the Mets’ third run. Torey Lovullo then brought in his closer Brad Boxberger to face Conforto, who flew out to left to end the game.

This was certainly a game of missed opportunities for the Mets, whose lineup didn’t look quite as anemic as it has of late. However, they failed to get timely hits with runners in scoring position and the Diamondacks did not, which is a losing formula. Seth Lugo had his worst start of the season, but to be fair, the bar had been set awfully high. The Mets are still losing, but at least the Mets’ young players are providing something worth watching. Dominic Smith went 2-for-4, displaying some power, which had been lacking to a concerning degree at Triple-A Las Vegas. He also put up a good showing in his first outfield appearance. Wilmer Flores had an RBI hit in his first night back from the disabled list.

Steven Matz matches up against fellow lefty Patrick Corbin tonight, as the Mets try to avoid dropping yet another series.

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What’s WPA?

Big winners: Dominic Smith, +18.5% WPA
Big losers: Seth Lugo, -25.2% WPA, Amed Rosario, -15.9% WPA, Asdrubal Cabrera, -14.9% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Todd Frazier’s RBI double, +14.7% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Daniel Descalso’s two-run homer, -18.2% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: -27.9% WPA
Total batter WPA: -22.1% WPA
GWRBI!: Daniel Descalso