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As the Mets’ pitching improves, the offense stays silent in loss to Brewers

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Luis Avilan also left the game with elbow tightness, so it was an all around bad start to the Mets’ road trip.

MLB: New York Mets at Milwaukee Brewers Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

The Mets lost 3-1 to the Brewers in the opening game of a three game series at Miller Park on a night where they never really got going offensively. The Mets’ pitching—particularly their starting pitching—is finally starting to rebound and in very typical Mets fashion the offense, which had been red hot to start the year, has now become ice cold.

Things started off promisingly enough at the plate for the Mets, as they went up 1-0 in the first inning. With two outs, Robinson Cano worked out a walk on the twelfth pitch of his at-bat. Michael Conforto then beat out an infield hit and Wilson Ramos smacked a single to drive in Cano for the game’s first run. The inning had the potential to be even bigger, but the first two outs of the inning came on a strike ‘em out, throw ‘em out double play when McNeil took off on a hit and run with Alonso at the plate.

Unfortunately, Steven Matz immediately gave that run back on a solo home run off the bat of Lorenzo Cain on his third pitch of the night. Matz was not particularly sharp; he gave up nine hits and struck out only three batters in his 5 23 innings of work. But he also only walked one batter and did well to avoid the big inning, something that had plagued him in the past, especially when batted ball luck did not go his way, as was the case in this game.

The Mets got a runner in scoring position in the second inning from an infield single and stolen base from Amed Rosario, but failed to score. This was the theme all night for the Mets, as they allowed Woodruff to scatter six hits over his five innings of work. He walked two and struck out seven Mets. The Mets’ best chance against Woodruff came in the fifth when Steven Matz continued the trend of Mets pitchers performing well with the bat by smacking a one-out single. Jeff McNeil then flew out, but Pete Alonso followed with a single through the open hole on the right side of the infield to put runners at the corners. Nimmo then gave one a ride, but ultimately flew out to the warning track in deep left center to end the inning.

The Brewers then struck in the bottom of the frame with what ended up being the decisive blow. Yasmani Grandal walked to lead off the inning and then Ryan Braun launched a no-doubter to put the Brewers ahead 3-1. To Matz’s credit, two of his three strikeouts came in that inning to hold the Brewers at three and keep the Mets in the game.

The Mets didn’t have much comeback in them, however. Michael Conforto reached first base on a throwing error by Jesus Aguilar to lead off the sixth against the new pitcher Alex Claudio. Ramos then hit a ball hard up the middle, but Claudio got his glove on it and was able to deflect it to the second baseman for the 1-4-3 double play. Junior Guerra then tossed a 1-2-3 seventh inning for the Brewers. Meanwhile, Matz was taken out after 5 23 and Robert Gsellman retired Lorenzo Cain—who Matz did not have much luck against—for the final out of the inning and stayed in to pitch a scoreless seventh.

Craig Counsell then once again turned to his closer Josh Hader for the six out save. He made very quick work of the Mets in the eighth, setting up for a repeat performance of his outing against the Mets at Citi Field. However, the Mets did manage to threaten against Hader in the ninth. Conforto worked an excellent at-bat against Hader and finally was able to drive a pitch into the gap in right center field for a double. Ramos followed that with another great at-bat, working out a walk. But it’s almost as if Hader was simply teasing the Mets at that point. He promptly struck out the next three batters in a row to secure the save and end the game.

Luis Avilan got the first two outs of the eighth inning for the Mets but then was forced to leave the game due to elbow tightness. Drew Gagnon recorded the final out for the Mets in the eighth.

The Mets have now scored two runs in their last 27 innings, as they fall back to .500 for the season.

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What’s WPA?

Big winners: Michael Conforto, +14.8% WPA
Big losers: Todd Frazier, -20.9% WPA, Jeff McNeil, -11.3% WPA, J.D. Davis, -10.8% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: -4.3% WPA
Total batter WPA: -45.7% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Wilson Ramos works out a walk against Josh Hader in the ninth, +10.8% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Ryan Braun’s two-run homer off Steven Matz, -20.4% WPA