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Thor ineffective again as Mets’ comeback falls short

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The Mets put up a four spot against the Brewers bullpen in the seventh, but the deficit proved to be too large to overcome.

Milwaukee Brewers v New York Mets Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

The Mets lost 8-6 to the Brewers in a game that had no shortage of weird plays and exciting moments. Noah Syndergaard started on his bobblehead night and wasn’t sharp again, allowing five runs on ten hits, walking three, and striking out five. This is now Syndergaard’s third straight start where he has only pitched five innings and also given up five or more runs, the first such stretch of his career.

Things got off to a frustrating start immediately for Syndergaard, who gave up an infield hit on a 3-2 pitch to the first batter of the game, Lorenzo Cain. Cain would go on to collect three hits on the night. After getting Christian Yelich to pop out to second, Syndergaard induced more soft contact from Mike Moustakas, who hit a slow grounder to third base, which J.D. Davis slung over to first in time to retire him, assisted by a nice stretch by Pete Alonso. But Alonso then tried to throw to second in an attempt to catch Cain napping and threw the ball errantly, allowing Cain to come all the way around to score from second for the game’s first run.

Syndergaard got into trouble again in the second, when he loaded the bases on a single, another infield single, and a walk. But he escaped the jam with an inning-ending 5-4-3 double play off the bat of Cain, who was originally called safe at first, but was then ruled out by replay review. Syndergaard couldn’t avoid damage in the third inning, however. He gave up two straight singles to Yelich and Moustakas to lead off the inning. He then struck out Yasmani Grandal, but walked Travis Shaw to load the bases. Eric Thames then found a hole past the Mets’ drawn in infield to plate two runs and put the Brewers up 3-0. The inning may have ballooned even further if not for the fact that Shaw tried to advance to third base and was tagged out for the second out.

The Mets scratched out a run in the third, the only run they would score off of Brandon Woodruff, who also only went five innings, but was able to keep the Mets mostly at bay. Woodruff hit Jeff McNeil with a pitch with one out in the third and then Alonso singled up the middle. Robinson Cano, who after a hot streak went hitless on the night, grounded into a force out, but ball four to Michael Conforto skipped away from Grandal and McNeil scampered home with the Mets’ first run of the night. Passed balls and wild pitches abounded for both teams last night, as it was a rough night for both Grandal and Travis d’Arnaud behind the plate.

With the game still close, Syndergaard had a chance to hold the Brewers where they were and give the Mets a chance to come back. However, he gave up two solo home runs to Ben Gamel and Christian Yelich in the fourth inning, allowing the Brewers to open up a 5-1 lead. Syndergaard looked pretty shell shocked in the dugout after the inning was over and after the game, explained that he has next to no feel for his off-speed pitches right now, saying, “Every time I get a new baseball out there, it feels like I’m holding an ice cube.”

Syndergaard did finish his night strong, however. After issuing a leadoff walk to Grandal, he retired the next three batters in a row, striking out two of them. The Brewers tacked on a run in the sixth off of Robert Gsellman. It was a good night for Ben Gamel, who smacked a one-out double. He was driven in by Moustakas, who shot a single the other way against the shift to make the score 6-1.

Junior Guerra threw a 1-2-3 sixth inning for the Brewers, the first 1-2-3 inning for either side on the night. Robert Gsellman logged a second inning of work and this one was scoreless, working around a walk and a wild pitch.

The Mets did damage in the seventh inning, putting up a four spot and clawing to within one run. Amed Rosario led off the inning with a solo homer off of Alex Wilson. Travis d’Arnaud then sent a booming base hit to the left field wall, which he tried to stretch into a double, but was thrown out at second base. Dominic Smith, pinch hitting for the pitcher’s spot, then walked to put two men on. Craig Counsell then elected to pull Wilson in favor of the lefty Alex Claudio, who he wanted in there to face the lefties at the top of the Mets’ order in McNeil, Cano, and Conforto. However, sandwiched between McNeil and Cano was Pete Alonso. Claudio did his job, getting McNeil to hit a slow grounder to second, but Moustakas threw errantly to first base, allowing McNeil to reach safely and Smith to advane to third. Alonso then punished Counsell for his decision, hitting another one of his towering shots—a three-run blast that brought the Mets within one.

However, once again Mets pitching failed to hold the opposition where they were, stymieing the offense’s chance at a comeback. The top of the eighth inning featured a sequence of poor play by the Mets that resulted in another two Brewers runs to make the score 8-5. Jeurys Familia was brought in to pitch the inning and immediately walked the leadoff hitter, a problem that has plagued him this year. He then surrendered a single to Lorenzo Cain to put two men on. Yelich then hit a slow grounder up the first base line that seemed like it was heading foul, but Familia inexplicably picked up the baseball and tried to make a play at first. His throw was not in time and a run scored. This was followed by yet another ball trickling away from d’Arnaud, allowing Cain to advance to third base. After Familia struck out Moustakas, he induced yet another grounder, this time back to the mound, but instead of throwing home he opted for the sure out at first, allowing another run to score.

The Mets, still with some fight left in them yet, brought the tying man to the plate in the eighth inning against Jeremy Jeffress. J.D. Davis worked out a walk to lead off the inning and then Brandon Nimmo singled, his third hit of the night. Rosario followed that with another single to make the score 8-6, still with nobody out. But then Counsell brought in his closer Josh Hader to get a six-out save and Hader mowed down the Mets without incident. He struck out the pinch hitters Todd Frazier and Wilson Ramos and then McNeil all in quick succession to end the threat.

Edwin Diaz pitched the top of the ninth for the Mets, not having pitched since Monday, and matched Hader, striking out the side. Hader logged a 1-2-3 bottom of the ninth inning, striking out two, to secure the save and the victory for the Brewers.

It’s the Mets’ first three-game losing streak of the season, as they fall to .500 for the year. They look to salvage the final game of the series, as Steven Matz faces off against Gio Gonzalez, the pitcher the Mets lost out on.

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What’s WPA?

Big winners: Brandon Nimmo, +17.3% WPA, Pete Alonso, +16.9% WPA
Big losers: Noah Syndergaard, -31.6% WPA, Jeurys Familia, -16.2% WPA, Robinson Cano, -16% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: -48.5% WPA
Total batter WPA: -1.5% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Pete Alonso’s three-run homer, +18.5% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Todd Frazier strikes out swinging against Josh Hader in the eighth, -11% WPA