Nobody on the Mets showed up tonight in a 5-1 loss to the Nationals. Wilmer Font demonstrated again that the Mets’ are in sore need of pitching help, while the offensive struggles of recent weeks continued. It’s been a bump couple of weeks for the Mets, and failing to take advantage of a similarly struggling Nationals team could come back to bite them.
From the jump, Font struggled. The first three Nationals reached base on a walk, a single, and a ground-rule double, putting the Mets in a 1-0 hole before Font had recorded an out. An RBI-groundout and an RBI single extended the Washington lead to three runs before Font finally escaped the inning when Wilson Ramos threw out Howie Kendrick trying to steal second, but it took 30 pitches to get out of the first frame.
The second was uneventful, though Font flirted with fire by walking Patrick Corbin. Things got ugly again in the third, however. Victor Robles led off with a home run, and two of the next three Nationals doubled to stretch the lead to five. That was enough for Mickey Callaway, who pulled his starter with one out in the third. Font allowed six hits, walked two, struckout two, and gave up five runs, all earned. His ERA on the season is 7.08. He is also the Mets’ fourth starter (they don’t really have a fifth starter at the moment) until Steven Matz returns. Not ideal.
On the offensive end, the Mets had already put together their biggest offensive threat of the game. Juan Lagares had the Mets’ first hit with one out in the third, then advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. A walk to Jeff McNeil set the table for J.D. Davis, who lined a double into left field. Lagares scored, and there were runners at second and third with two outs, but Robinson Cano grounded out to end the threat. The Mets wouldn’t put a single runner into scoring position for the rest of the game.
Drew Gagnon and Tyler Bashlor stepped up big time with 4.2 scoreless innings out of the bullpen, keeping the Mets in the game, but Patrick Corbin continued to befuddle Mets hitters. The slider-spamming lefty struck out Jeff McNeil twice, J.D. Davis twice, Robinson Cano twice, Michael Conforto twice, and added strikeouts of Peter Alonso, Juan Lagares, and Todd Frazier to boot. By wRC+, the Mets have the eleventh worst offense in baseball over the past thirty days (92) and the eighth worst over the last two weeks (82). Given the weakness of this team’s pitching, the offense performing at a similar level as the Tigers and Orioles is extremely concerning.
In the bottom of the eighth, Jeurys Familia made his first appearance since going on the Injured List with a shoulder injury. He looked solid, inducing two ground outs and striking out Brian Dozier, but his velocity remained significantly lower than in years past. Hopefully this brief sample portends an improved performance from the presumptive setup man, who likely needs to learn how to pitch with diminished velocity at this point in his career.
Corbin finally left the game in the ninth, but the Mets wouldn’t get a shot at the ghastly Washington bullpen. Instead, Sean Doolittle entered in a non-save situation and made mince-meat of the heart of the Mets order. Robinson Cano struck out, Peter Alonso struck out, and Michael Conforto flew out to finish off the loss. The Mets now sit at 20-21, 3.5 games back of the first place Phillies in the NL East. They’ll play one more in Washington tomorrow with Zack Wheeler on the mound for the rubber game.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big winners: None
Big losers: Wilmer Font, -34.4% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: -27.4% WPA
Total batter WPA: -22.6% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: J.D. Davis drives in Juan Lagares with a double in the third, +10.0% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Anthony Rendon hits a ground rule double in the first to score Adam Eaton, -12.7% WPA