In what may be the least surprising news of the past week, the Mets lost to the Cubs 2-0 this afternoon, completing Chicago’s sweep at Citi Field. In what was somehow both almost a no-hitter and also the least depressing loss of the weekend, the Mets just keep finding new ways to lose.
Steven Matz started for the Mets today and, in his first start since his finger discomfort, looked pretty good. Over his first six innings, Matz allowed two walks and two hits and struck out six.
For the Cubs, Jon Lester took the hill this afternoon, and promptly walked the first two batters he faced, before striking out Jay Bruce, Kevin Plawecki, and Michael Conforto to escape the inning. Those would be the only base runners Lester would allow until Addison Russell made an error in the sixth, allowing Amed Rosario to reach base.
Notice what I haven’t mentioned yet? Any New York hits. The Mets were no-hit through the first five innings, before finally broken up by...Plawecki?
The sixth inning started out with a Brandon Nimmo strikeout, before Jose Bautista was hit by a pitch. A Bruce fly out and Plawecki’s single followed, as did a four-pitch walk to Conforto, loading the bases with two outs. Adrian Gonzalez was unable to capitalize on the situation, and the Mets left the inning with no runs to show for themselves.
In the top of the seventh, Javier Baez and Willson Contreras singled to start the inning, putting men on first and second with no outs. While throwing over to first base to check on Contreras, Baez broke for home, stealing it safely, as Contreras took second base. Matz then struck out Ian Happ, before surrendering a single to Kyle Schwarber and a run-scoring sacrifice fly to Ben Zobrist, putting the Cubs up 2-0.
Twice more in the game, the Mets got a baserunner - on hits by Rosario in the seventh and Conforto in the ninth - that was instantly erased by a double play. Unlike the offense, the Mets’ bullpen was much improved from earlier in the weekend. Of course, it was just two innings, and just Paul Sewald throwing, but Sewald looked far better than he did in his meltdown of a performance on Friday night.
Of note, the Cubs lost Addison Russell to a bruised left middle finger, sustained on a swing in the fifth inning. The injury doesn’t appear too serious, but Russell does expect to miss a few games.
All told, this was a disastrous weekend for the Mets, who only managed to score more than one run once this entire series. The return of Todd Frazier and Yoenis Cespedes should help things, as should Anthony Swarzak pitching for the first time since the first week of the season, but while the Mets are still carrying Jose Reyes and giving regular playing time to an incredibly slumping Jay Bruce, they need more than just some good health news.
The Mets have a much-needed day off tomorrow, before beginning a two-game set with the Orioles on Tuesday. Jason Vargas will start for the Mets against fellow 2017 free agent Alex Cobb.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big winners: None.
Big losers: Adrian Gonzalez, -30.4% WPA, Jay Bruce, -17.3% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Michael Conforto’s ninth-inning lead off single, +8.9% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Wilson Contreras’s single in the seventh inning, -15.8% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: +7.9% WPA
Total batter WPA: -57.9% WPA