The Mets lost their series opener to the last place Marlins 8-2, which means they are now very close to being the last place Mets. This was a game Jacob deGrom was slated to start, but he was pushed back a day due to a family issue, which meant that Corey Oswalt—fresh up from the minor leagues—had to make a last minute start for the Mets. Oswalt’s only other appearance for the Mets this season came on April 25th, when he pitched in long relief in a game where Steven Matz was knocked out early.
This emergency spot start for Oswalt did not go how he or the Mets would have hoped. He pitched two quick and relatively uneventful innings before running into trouble in the third inning. Lewis Brinson, who came into the night hitting .178 on the season, led off the inning with a solo home run to put the Marlins on the board. Brinson would go on to collect two more hits, ending the night a triple short of the cycle. Oswalt retired his fellow rookie opponent, Sandy Alcantara on a groundout. But Oswalt then walked Derek Dietrich and gave up two straight singles to Brian Anderson and J.T. Realmuto to put the Marlins up 2-0. It seemed Oswalt may escape the jam when he got a huge strikeout in Justin Bour, but it was not to be. Starlin Castro followed up with an RBI single and stole second base. J.T. Riddle then delivered the nail in Oswalt’s coffin: a three-run shot that gave the Marlins a six run lead before Oswalt’s spot even came up in the batting order. Oswalt was removed from the game in favor of Chris Beck, who promptly retired Miguel Rojas on a groundout to finally end the inning.
Alcantara, the Marlins’ number two prospect, had a positive first major league start, despite some issues with his command. The Mets were able to capitalize on his spotty control, drawing five walks against him. However, this did not translate to runs, as the Mets only managed one run against him in his five innings of work. That run came in the fourth inning, when Wilmer Flores worked a one-out walk. Todd Frazier flew out for the second out, but Devin Mesoraco smacked a double off the wall in left field, scoring Flores all the way from first. The throw home attempting to nab Flores at the plate got away, advancing Mesoraco to second. Amed Rosario then walked for the second time on the night—the first time he walked twice in a game all season. However, Dominic Smith, pinch hitting for Beck, grounded out to end the rally.
Tyler Bashlor was tasked with long relief and came in to start the bottom of the fourth inning. He retired eight Marlins in a row, but with two outs in the sixth, Brinson doubled and Cameron Maybin rolled a pinch hit single into the hole to make the score 7-1 and end Bashlor’s night on a sour note. Jerry Blevins was brought in to face the lefty Dietrich and got him to pop out to second to end the inning. Blevins stayed in for the seventh inning and retired the Marlins 1-2-3.
Drew Rucinski pitched a scoreless sixth for the Marlins, working around a one-out single off the bat of Flores. Ben Meyer followed that with a scoreless seventh, but hit a snag in the eighth when Jose Bautista—still hot at the plate—led off the inning with a single. Meyer then surrendered a single to Asdrubal Cabrera and a walk to Michael Conforto to load the bases with nobody out. Don Mattingly then turned to righty submariner Brad Ziegler to face Flores. Predictably, Ziegler was a bad matchup for Flores and he grounded into a double play, scoring a run. Todd Frazier then worked a walk to put men on first and third, but Jose Reyes—pinch hitting for Blevins—struck out, allowing the Marlins to escape having allowed only one run.
The Marlins added on in the bottom of the eighth, scoring a run off Drew Smith. Starlin Castro smacked a leadoff single. J.T. Riddle then hit a weak grounder that found a hole, despite Cabrera’s best efforts, which are of course limited by injury these days. Castro advanced to third on the hit and was driven in on a sac fly off the bat of Rojas.
Amazingly, Amed Rosario led off the top of the ninth inning with his third walk of the night—this one coming off Marlins’ closer Kyle Barraclough. But he, like so many other Mets baserunners, was stranded. Kevin Plawecki fouled out for the first out. Brandon Nimmo then blooped a single down the left field line, but Bautista and Cabrera both struck out swinging to end the threat. In total, the Mets went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position, left ten men on base, and grounded into three double plays. The Marlins, meanwhile, went 4-for-5 with runners in scoring position and left three men on base. Of course Oswalt handed the Mets a hefty deficit early, but they had opportunities to chip away and, as usual, failed to do so. In other news, water is wet, the sky is blue, and the Pope is Catholic.
Jacob deGrom will take the mound for game two in Miami, as the Mets hope to avoid falling to last place in the NL East. His opponent will be Pablo Lopez, making his major league debut for the Marlins.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big winners: None
Big losers: Corey Oswalt, -30.4% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Corey Oswalt gets the double-play grounder from Brian Anderson in the first inning, +7.2% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Corey Oswalt gives up a first-inning homer to Lewis Brinson, -11.8% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: -29.6% WPA
Total batter WPA: -20.4% WPA
GWRBI!: J.T. Riddle