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Mets fall to Braves in ugly series finale

Steven Matz gave up five runs in five-plus innings, and the bullpen gave up a couple more.

MLB: New York Mets at Atlanta Braves Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

As has often been the case this season, the Mets followed up something good by doing something bad. The something good in this case was their dominant win over the Braves on Tuesday night. The something bad was their lackluster performance on Wednesday night in the series finale.

In the end, they lost 7-2, but they only had the lead once—and very briefly. Jeff McNeil’s leadoff double and subsequent steal of third base allowed for him to score when Michael Conforto grounded out. But Freddie Freeman hit a two-run home run off Steven Matz in the bottom of that inning, and the Mets never took the lead again.

They did tie the game in the fourth on a double off the bat of Amed Rosario. But their best opportunity to take the lead came in the sixth inning, and it was thwarted by a terrible send by third base coach Gary DiSarcina that got J.D. Davis thrown out by a mile at home plate. Holding Davis would have left the Mets with the bases loaded and just one out in the inning, but they instead wound up with runners on the corners and two outs. Rosario struck out, and the inning came to an end.

DiSarcina defended the send in comments after the game, saying he’d do it again every time despite the result in this case. If the play had been close, that idea might be understandable, but it was not. And it certainly wasn’t his first blunder of the season on a situation that called for his judgment on whether or not to send a runner home. But it would be perfectly Mets of him to make a mistake, defend it, repeat it, and never learn from it.

It should come as absolutely no surprise that the Braves then pounced on Steven Matz in the bottom of that inning. Josh Donaldson’s two-run home run gave them the lead and was really all they needed to coast through the rest of the game, but Ozzie Albies doubled in Austin Riley, who had doubled just after the Donaldson home run, for a little bit more damage.

In total, Matz threw 99 pitches, only struck out two batters in five innings, walked four, and gave up five runs on six hits. While he’s had some stretches where he’s looked good, he still has a 4.28 ERA on the season, which is just not great.

It wouldn’t have been a Mets game without the bullpen doing something bad, too, and although Chris Flexen threw a pair of scoreless innings in relief of Matz, the Braves scored twice more. Stephen Nogosek, who had recently been called up and was making his major league debut, surrendered two runs on two hits in two-thirds of an inning in the bottom of the eighth.

And so the Mets left Atlanta in worse shape than they were before they got there, a time-honored tradition for the franchise over the decades. They are now 35-39 on the season, half a game behind the Nationals for third place in the division, and eight-and-a-half games back of the first-place Braves.

The season is not over, but every time the 2019 Mets give fans a glimmer of hope, they snuff it out very quickly. It’ll take a significant winning streak to right the ship, and they’ll have to try to start that tonight with Walker Lockett on the mound, filling in for the injured Noah Syndergaard.

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What’s WPA?

Big winners: none
Big losers: Steven Matz, -30.8% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: -27.8% WPA
Total batter WPA: -22.2% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Tyler Flowers grounds into a double play in the fourth, +10.4% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Josh Donaldson hits a go-ahead two-run home run in the sixth, -22.3% WPA