The Mets’ season reached a low point with yesterday’s 2-0 loss to the Marlins, as they fell to four games under .500 for the first time this year. The offense was completely listless against Pedro Lopez, who the Mets lit up the last time they faced him. Lopez got his revenge in the form of a seven-inning shutout performance, surrendering just one hit and striking out seven. That one hit came in the very first batter of the game, as Jeff McNeil lined a double just inside the left field line to lead off the first inning. But Lopez came back to strike out both Amed Rosario and Robinson Cano and get Pete Alonso to ground out to third to quickly end the threat.
It was the only time a Met would reach second base all afternoon. Meanwhile, Steven Matz, fresh off the injured list after dealing with nerve discomfort in his forearm, gave up a home run to the very first batter he faced. Jon Berti’s solo homer was all the Marlins would need to secure the victory against the floundering Mets, but they added an insurance run against Matz in the third inning when Berti walked with one out and advanced to second on chopper back to the mound off the bat of Garrett Cooper. Berti then scored on a single from Brian Anderson to stretch the Marlins lead to two runs.
All told, it wasn’t a bad first performance from Matz, who was held to a pitch count and removed after just 3 2⁄3 innings of work. Despite the mediocre results and lack of run support, there were some positives to take away from the outing. Matz had his curveball working all afternoon, which is an encouraging sign since he cited it as the pitch that was giving him the most discomfort. He struck out six batters and walked two.
Matz was pulled in the fourth after getting into a jam that was only partially his own making. Jorge Alfaro reached base on an infield single on which Todd Frazier made a nice diving grab, but was unable to throw out Alfaro, who runs well for a catcher. Matz rallied to strike out the next two batters and the inning should have been over when he picked Alfaro off as he took off running, but Pete Alonso threw the ball errantly to second base, allowing Alfaro to reach safely. Alfaro clearly had tweaked something in his calf as he legged out his infield hit and was not running well enough to advance to third on the play. He was later removed for a pinch runner, diagnosed with a calf strain. This all occurred with a 2-2 count on the eight hitter Miguel Rojas and—somewhat perplexingly—the Mets opted to give Rojas the intentional pass to get to the pitcher Lopez. But that decision came back to bite them, as Lopez singled to load the bases, chasing Matz from the game.
Tyler Bashlor, who has been pitching very well out of the bullpen lately, quickly put out the fire, striking out Berti on three pitches to avoid an even steeper uphill climb for the Mets. The Mets didn’t do much of anything to mount a comeback, however. They only managed two more baserunners off Lopez. Todd Frazier walked with two outs in the fifth, but Juan Lagares struck out swinging. Jeff McNeil reached base on a one-out walk in the sixth, but he was promptly erased on a double play grounder off the bat of Amed Rosario.
Bashlor stayed in the game and pitched a scoreless fifth, working around a one-out walk to Anderson. Robert Gsellman then logged two easy, scoreless innings of work, continuing the run of good work by the Mets bullpen that has mostly gone unnoticed because of the failings of the offense and starting pitching.
The Mets’ final chance at a comeback came in the eighth inning when Brandon Nimmo worked a leadoff walk against Tyson Guerrero, who has a reputation of walking a lot of hitters. However, the Mets were unable to get it done with the tying run at the plate, as Todd Frazier struck out looking and then Juan Lagares grounded into a double play, the Mets’ second one of the afternoon.
Because the Mets haven’t done much winning lately, Edwin Diaz came in to get some work, as he hadn’t pitched in a week. Diaz retired the Marlins on just ten pitches, striking out Starlin Castro and inducing grounders to short from Chad Wallach and Martin Prado. The Mets went down 1-2-3 in the ninth. Guerrero stayed in to retire the right-handed pinch hitter J.D. Davis and then Marlins manager Don Mattingly called on the lefty Adam Conley to face McNeil, who flew out to center on the ninth pitch of his at-bat. Rosario then grounded out to end the game, securing the victory for the Marlins. The Mets fall to 1-4 on the road trip and rumors of Mickey Callaway’s job security have begun to swirl among the New York press.
The Mets look to avoid the sweep this afternoon as Noah Syndergaard tries to stop the bleeding, facing off against Sandy Alcantara.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big winners: None
Big losers: Amed Rosario, -14.6% WPA, Juan Lagares, -12.6% WPA, Steven Matz, -11.8% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: +0.5% WPA
Total batter WPA: -50.5% WPA
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