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In a game reminiscent of 2018, bullpen squanders deGrom gem

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The Mets were walked off in extra innings in Arizona on a day when Jacob deGrom was brilliant.

MLB: New York Mets at Arizona Diamondbacks Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

The Diamondbacks beat the Mets 6-5 in walk-off fashion in the eleventh inning, as the bullpen let a four-run lead get away. This game had all the makings of a feel good win. The Mets were able to score four runs off Zack Greinke, chasing him from the game after just four innings. Jacob deGrom looked like the reigning Cy Young Award winner. But the late innings were disastrous for the Mets and they once again were the victims of a very predictable result when there are very few relievers in the bullpen that can be trusted and those relievers are overworked.

The Mets came out of the gate swinging, scoring the first run of the contest almost immediately off Greinke. With one out, Dominic Smith smacked an opposite field single, which Pete Alonso followed with a double to plate the game’s first run. The Mets added three more runs in the fourth and could have had a lot more if not for a nicely-turned double play on the part of the Diamondbacks that ended the inning. Nonetheless, Michael Conforto led off the inning with a bunt single and Todd Frazier followed with a two-run shot that put the Mets on top 3-0. Carlos Gomez then hit a sharp grounder that ate up Nick Ahmed at short and Adeiny Hechavarria and Tomas Nido slapped back-to-back singles to drive him in. deGrom then pushed a sac bunt, but Greinke, who fields his position well, was able to throw out Hechavarria at third base. Greinke then escaped the inning thanks to the aforementioned well-executed double play by the Diamondbacks, but his evening ended early.

Meanwhile, deGrom had faced the minimum through three with the Diamondbacks’ only baserunner having been erased on a double play. deGrom continued to cruise, retiring fifteen Diamondbacks in a row through the middle innings. That streak ended in the sixth when Alex Avila singled with one out. Avila advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Zack Godley, who pitched four fantastic innings of relief for the Diamondbacks, keeping them within striking distance. deGrom then walked Jarrod Dyson but bounced back to retire the next two batters and end the minor threat.

deGrom got into trouble again in the seventh when Adam Jones blasted a one-out double. deGrom bounced back to strike out the next batter, but Ildemaro Vargas hit a screamer that Hechavarria did well to knock down, but Hechavarria foolishly tried to throw to first despite having no chance at getting and spiked it, allowing Jones to score the Diamondbacks’ first run. On the play, deGrom appeared to squat down in frustration, which seemed to cause his hip to cramp up. The trainer and Mickey Callaway visited the mound and deGrom talked himself into staying in the game, but then gave up a ground rule double to Nick Ahmed and at that point was removed from the game, despite his protestations. Jeurys Familia was then brought in to get a king-sized out with men on second and third. He was successful, getting Alex Avila to strike out swinging.

That success didn’t last long for Familia, who was tasked with the eighth inning as well. He did get an extra run to work with, as Dominic Smith finally broke through against Zack Godley, hitting a towering solo shot to center field to give the Mets a 5-1 lead. But even the four-run lead was not enough. Tim Locastro led off the eighth inning as a pinch hitter and Familia hit him with a pitch to put the leadoff man on base. Jarrod Dyson then hit a dribbler in front of the plate and once again a Met decided to attempt to throw him out, despite having no shot. This time it was Tomas Nido, who threw the ball errantly into right field, allowing Locastro to advance to third. Ketel Marte singled to drive in Locastro and narrow the Mets’ lead to 5-2. Eduardo Escobar then hit a sacrifice fly to plate another run and make the score 5-3. At that point, Mickey Callaway chose to bring in Robert Gsellman, who had pitched three out of the past four days, rather than turn to Edwin Diaz for a five out save. That proved to be costly, as Gsellman surrendered a two-run homer to Adam Jones to tie the game before getting the final two outs of the inning.

As it turned out, Diaz was forced to get four outs in the game anyway, as the Diamondbacks had the winning run in scoring position in the ninth. Drew Gagnon started the inning, but walked Locastro with one out. Locastro then stole second base. Gagnon retired Dyson on a fly ball to left field, but with the dangerous Marte coming up, Callaway turned to Edwin Diaz. Despite a passed ball by Wilson Ramos that allowed Locastro to advanced to third base, Diaz escaped the jam, getting Marte to fly out to left.

Diaz then pitched a 1-2-3 tenth, striking out the side. But the Mets were unable to break through against Greg Holland in the ninth, Yoan Lopez in the tenth, or Yoshihisa Hirano in the eleventh, in part because Pete Alonso was once again switched out of the game for defense, leaving the Mets without one of their best hitters. The only baserunner the Mets managed over the course of those three frames was a two-out walk from Frazier in the eleventh, but Gomez then promptly grounded out to short to end the inning.

Meanwhile, the Mets had run out of even semi-reliable relief pitchers and what followed felt like an inevitable course of events. Tyler Bashlor came on to pitch the eleventh inning and the rookie Kevin Cron fresh back up from the minor leagues, smacked a pinch-hit double to lead off the inning. A sacrifice bunt by Nick Ahmed advanced Cron to third base. The Mets then walked Alex Avila intentionally to get to Locastro and brought Juan Lagares in from the outfield to once again put five men on the infield, just as they did during their other recent bullpen meltdown. It didn’t work this time either. Locastro hit a fly ball to walk it off for the Diamondbacks and complete the squandering of deGrom’s sparkling pitching performance.

The Mets look to pick themselves up from this brutal loss and salvage a series victory, as Steven Matz takes the hill, facing off against rookie Merrill Kelly.

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What’s WPA?

Big winners: Edwin Diaz, +24.5% WPA, Jacob deGrom, -20.9% WPA, Todd Frazier, +18.2% WPA
Big losers: Tyler Bashlor, -36.3% WPA, Robert Gsellman, -32.9% WPA, Carlos Gomez, -14.7% WPA, Amed Rosario, -12.5% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: -26.8% WPA
Total batter WPA: -23.2% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Todd Frazier homers in the fourth to extend the Mets’ lead, +15.7% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Robert Gsellman gives up a game-tying home run to Adam Jones in the eighth, -38.9% WPA