The week from hell continued for the New York Mets on Tuesday, as they dropped a third straight game in demoralizing fashion. It all started with a loss on Sunday, when Seth Lugo spoiled a solid Jacob deGrom start by allowing three runs in the eighth, and it bled into the postgame media session with Mickey Callaway and Jason Vargas verbally threatening a reporter.
The circus continued on Monday with some truly incomprehensible pregame shenanigans, including Vargas’s lack of apology and Mickey Callaway’s non-apology/apology in front of the media. With a game left to play, the Mets took the field against a team that was coming off seven straight, only to be blown out in embarrassing fashion. With a chance to turn the page and get back on track, the Mets wilted again in the late innings on Tuesday and fell to the Philadelphia Phillies.
If all you knew about tonight’s game was that Walker Lockett was the starting pitcher, and you only caught the final score, the end result may not surprise you all that much. However, Lockett was certainly better than he was in his Mets’ debut at Wrigley Field, and he lasted into the sixth inning. In what is likely his final start before Noah Syndergaard returns from the Injured List, he kept the team in the game and didn’t implode like he did in his previous start, despite the mediocre final line.
Like they did on Monday, the Mets jumped ahead in the first inning. Jeff McNeil led off with a single through the shift on the first pitch of the game—one of four hits he would pick up on the evening. Pete Alonso followed with an infield single, and Robinson Cano pushed one through the hole between second and short to drive in McNeil and advance Alonso to third. Michael Conforto contributed a sacrifice fly to give the Mets a two-run edge. The Phillies would get one right back in the bottom of the frame on a Scott Kingery opposite-field home run that barely cleared the right field fence. Lockett recovered to retire the next three Philadelphia batters.
Realizing that two runs wouldn’t cut it with Lockett on the mound, the Mets got right back to work in the second. Amed Rosario had a barely-cleared-the-right-field-fence home run of his own and, in the process, matched his single-season career high with nine home runs, which he accomplished last season. While it took Rosario 154 games to reach that number last year, he did it in exactly half the games in 2019.
The Mets hit their second home run of the night in the third, as Dominic Smith drove one over the left-center field fence to give New York a three-run lead. McNeil picked up his third hit of the game in the fourth, but was thrown out trying to score on an Alonso grounder to third base. However, he redeemed himself in the bottom of the frame as he robbed Bryce Harper with a spectacular diving play in right field. Unfortunately, Rhys Hoskins would hit a solo homer later in the inning to bring the Phillies back to within two runs.
The Mets would score their final run of the night in the sixth thanks to some poor defense by the Phillies. Rosario got things started innocently enough with a one out single, but advanced to third after J.T. Realmuto heaved the ball into center field with Rosario attempting to steal second. McNeil made it count, driving Rosario home on a single into right field for his third hit of the game. This would’ve been an ideal time to shut the game off and imagine that the bullpen managed to hold the Phillies off for the final four innings.
As you know by now, that’s not how things went. Callaway left Lockett in to start the inning, and he promptly walked Harper before getting Hoskins to foul out. With one out, Realmuto doubled into the gap, which put runners in scoring position and ended Lockett’s outing. Wilmer Font was Callaway’s reliever of choice for the evening, and the choice backfired from the jump. Font came in and got Jay Bruce to ground out, which plated Harper with the Phillies’ third run. Cesar Hernandez followed with an infield single to Cano that scored Realmuto and made it a one-run game. Up next was Mets’ nemesis Maikel Franco, who entered Monday night’s matchup batting .147/.216/.235 with one home run a -8 wRC+ in the month of June. Franco, as he did on Monday night, hit a back-breaking home run that put the Phillies ahead for good. The next batter, pinch hitter Brad Miller, unloaded on a home run to make it a two-run deficit for the Mets.
Things got heated from there, as Font drilled Kingery with a 1-1 pitch that just barely missed hitting him in the face and instead caught him on his shoulder. Both benches were warned, and Gabe Kapler blew a gasket as he argued with the home plate umpire before getting ejected. When things finally settled down, the Mets were basically dead in the water.
The Mets did their best to rally in the late stages of this game, but the Phillies’ inconsistent bullpen didn’t break under the pressure. The Mets got runners to second and third in the eighth, but closer Hector Neris entered and retired Alonso to end the threat. The Mets again got two runners on in the ninth, but Neris danced around danger and finished things off.
With the loss, the Mets fell to a season-worst six games below .500 while seemingly saving the Phillies’ season in the process, at least in the short-term. The Mets will turn to Vargas on Wednesday night and hope that Sunday’s events will not serve as a distraction on the mound. The Mets will face Nick Pivetta as they try desperately to get back in the win column.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big winners: Jeff McNeil, 23.2% WPA, Robinson Cano, 22.3% WPA
Big losers: Wilmer Font, -58.4% WPA, Michael Conforto, -18.4% WPA, Pete Alonso, -13.9% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: -56.4% WPA
Total batter WPA: 6.4% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Robinson Cano run-scoring single in the first, 12.3% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Maikel Franco two-run home run in the sixth, -37.3% WPA