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Mets enjoy the Friday afternoon start, defeat the Cubs in a nail-biter

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The see-saw match ended with relatively little bullpen drama.

MLB: New York Mets at Chicago Cubs Jim Young-USA TODAY Sports

In a back and forth affair that looked on the verge of disaster for both teams at various times, the Mets came out on top, defeating the Cubs 5-4 on a sunny afternoon in Chicago. The team looked like everything they haven’t been in the past few weeks: resilient and solid in their bullpen. It was a nice change of pace from what we’ve seen lately.

The Mets got on the board in the top of the second inning. Michael Conforto led off the inning with a walk off of Yu Darvish, and was moved over to third base on a J.D. Davis single. Dominic Smith grounded into a double play, but Conforto was able to score the first run of the game.

Jason Vargas started for the Mets today and, while he wasn’t quite as solid as he has been as of late, he kept the Mets in the game long enough for them to come back a few times. He got touched up in bottom of the second inning, when a combination of non-hits led to the first Cub run of the day. A walk to Javier Baez, a stolen base, an error off the bat of David Bote, and a ground out from Albert Almora tied the game, though Yu Darvish would un-tie it with a single one batter later.

It would go back and forth like this for most of the afternoon. The Mets would re-take the lead in the third on a Jeff McNeil two-run home run, only to see Addison Russell put the Cubs ahead with a two-run shot of his own in the fifth. Vargas would leave shortly thereafter, giving way to Brooks Pounder who got the Mets out of the inning without any further damage.

The usual suspects in this game put the Mets back ahead. First, Conforto tied the game with a solo home run in the sixth, scoring his second run of the game, then McNeil driving in Adeiny Hechevarria with a single in the top of the seventh. Pounder and Seth Lugo pitched two and a third scoreless innings in relief of Vargas, although Lugo was aided by Anthony Rizzo being caught in a rundown.

Edwin Diaz got the save after throwing one of his less-anxiety inducing innings in recent memory, striking out Victor Caratini and Jason Heyward to end the game with a flourish.

Zack Wheeler and Jose Quintana take the mount tomorrow afternoon for game three of the series, another 2:20 start.

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Win Probability Added

Mets vs Cubs WPA Chart, 6/21/19 Fangraphs.com

What’s WPA?

Big winners: Jeff McNeil, +33.2% WPA, Seth Lugo, +24.4% WPA, Edwin Diaz, +19.3% WPA, Michael Conforto +15.6% WPA, J.D. Davis, +14.6% WPA, Brooks Pounder, +10.7% WPA

Big losers: Jason Vargas, -30.5 %WPA, Dominic Smith, -16.6% WPA

Total pitcher WPA: +23.9% WPA

Total batter WPA: +26.1% WPA

Teh aw3s0mest play: Jeff McNeil’s two-run home run, +21.0% WPA

Teh sux0rest play: Addison Russell’s two-run home run, -25.2% WPA