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Different month, different country, same bullpen as Mets fall to Jays

The mailgned Mets bullpen blew another solid outing by Zack Wheeler.

New York Mets v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

Tuesday night’s game started out as well as any game has for the Mets since the month of April ended. The offense was showing some power, and Zack Wheeler was dominating on the mound. But as has happened so often this season, the Mets’ fortunes completely turned once Mickey Callaway went to his bullpen. And from there, it simply became yet another 2018 Mets horror show.

LOSE, 8-6

Asdrubal Cabrera started New York’s attack early with a two-run home run in the first inning, his 15th of the season. Blue Jays starter Marco Estrada was pulled with an apparent injury after only 12 pitches, so the Mets were able to keep the offense going against the softer part of Toronto’s bullpen. Devin Mesoraco followed in the second inning with a two-run home run of his own, and Wilmer Flores added a solo shot in the top of the fourth, giving Zack Wheeler a comfortable 5-0 cushion to work with.

That seemed like it was going to be more than enough for Wheeler, because he was already dealing at that point. Wheeler had gone perfectly through the first three innings and looked to be on top of his game, though he did run into a little trouble in the fourth and fifth innings. In the fourth, Wheeler allowed his first baserunner when he walked Curtis Granderson leading off the inning. Granderson would get to third on a Teoscar Hernandez single, but Hernandez helped Wheeler out by getting thrown out at second trying to stretch it. He walked one more hitter in the frame, but was able to escape the inning with no damage.

Wheeler wasn’t so fortunate in the fifth, though. He once again walked the leadoff hitter, and even though he retired the next two hitters, he wound up plunking Devon Travis with a pitch to put two runners on for Granderson, who delivered a two-out double to plate Toronto’s first run and cut the lead to 5-1. But Wheeler again navigated his way out of trouble, stranding both runners in scoring position by getting Hernandez on strikes to end the inning. The Mets got that run back in the seventh on a Michael Conforto RBI double that scored Brandon Nimmo, and they led 6-1 at that point.

Only needing eight pitches to get through the sixth inning, Wheeler went back out for the seventh. He set down Russel Martin on strikes to begin the inning, but the next batter, Randall Grichuk, laced a single into right field that went under Jose Bautista, allowing Grichuk to get all the way to third on a two-base error. That signaled the end of the line for Wheeler, who gave way to Anthony Swarzak.

Swarzak recorded the second out of the inning on a run-scoring groundout, but then walked the ninth-place hitter Devon Travis after throwing a 3-2 breaking ball in the dirt with a four-run lead. Swarzak then yielded a double, a run-scoring wild pitch, and another walk to make it a 6-3 game and bring the tying run to the plate in the form of Yangervis Solarte. Mickey Callaway had seen enough, and brought in Robert Gsellman to try to get through the inning.

But Gsellman’s struggles continued, and he served up a game-tying, three-run bomb to Solarte that knotted things up at six. The Mets bullpen had blown a five-run lead before they could even retire two batters. And it only got worse from there.

Gsellman got out of the inning, but Tim Peterson came on for the eighth, retired the first two hitters he faced, hit Grichuk with a pitch, and then coughed up a two-run dinger to Lourdes Gurriel Jr. And just like that, the Blue Jays had an 8-6 lead.

In the top of the ninth, the Mets got a small two-out rally going when Jose Bautista singled and Cabrera walked, putting the tying runs on base, but former Met Tyler Clippard came in and got Conforto to ground into the shift to end the game. With the loss, the Mets are now 6-23 in their last 29 games and have fallen back to 16 games under .500.

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Win Probability Added

What’s WPA?

Big winners: Zack Wheeler, +18.9% WPA, Asdrubal Cabrera, +20.3% WPA, Devin Mesoraco, +10.3% WPA
Big losers: Robert Gsellman, -36.0% WPA, Tim Peterson, -31.0% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Asdrubal Cabrera’s two-run home run in the first inning, +16.2% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Yangervis Solarte’s three-run home run in the eighth inning, -38.8% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: -57.0%
Total batter WPA: +7.0%
GWRBI!: Lourdes Gurriel Jr.