After taking the first two games of the series, the Mets fell apart on Sunday, dropping the series finale 5-2. Marcus Stroman was solid, but the Mets were shut down by Zach Eflin, an objectively bad pitcher. Mickey Callaway then threw the game away late with a series of poor decisions, leaving the Mets in an ever more precarious position in the wild card race.
While Met viewers settled in for a long evening of ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball, the Mets did their best to make things more bearable. Pete Alonso launched his 43rd homer of the year in the first inning, giving the Mets a 1-0 lead, while Michael Conforto threw out a runner at home in the bottom half to keep the Mets up in exciting fashion.
The good times were short lived. After the Mets went in order in the top of the second, Stroman coughed up the lead, surrendering a solo homer to Brad Miller on his second pitch of the inning. A single and a run put two men on base, and a wild pickoff throw to no one in particular at second base put two men in scoring position. That set the stage for Corey Dickerson, who lined a soft RBI single into right field that gave the Phillies the lead.
In a pattern that has become all too familiar in recent times for the Mets, the offense totally disappeared. Eflin recorded another 1-2-3 inning in the third, then induced a double play off the bat of Michael Conforto in the fourth to negate another scoring chance. Wilson Ramos followed that double play with a double—extending his hitting streak to 25 games—and Joe Panik walked, but Eflin proceeded to set the next ten Mets down in order, holding them to only three hits and a single run over seven innings.
Stroman, meanwhile, had settled in nicely, scattering a couple Philly hits but limiting the deficit to one run through six innings. Mickey Callaway then made the obviously wrong decision to send Stroman out to start the seventh, and he promptly gave up a leadoff double to Adam Haseley. Luis Avilan and Paul Sewald were able to work threw the inning without any further damage, but obvious tactical mistakes like this are the MO for Callaway at this point, and he wasn’t done for the night just yet.
In the top of the eighth, a single and a walk from Todd Frazier and Brandon Nimmo put the go ahead run on base with nobody out. Callaway then decided to give away an out for free, calling J.D. Davis back from the on deck circle so that Luis Guillorme could sacrifice bunt. That put runners on second and third with one out, but Jeff McNeil couldn’t get the job done, grinding into a fielder’s choice that generated a comical play at the plate but no runs. The inning wasn’t totally wasted, as a wild pitch by Hector Neris allowed Nimmo to score to tie the game, but when Michael Conforto’s strikeout left two on base and the game tied.
For the third time, Callaway decided to throw a wrench into the Mets’ gears, sending Daniel Zamora out to face Bryce Harper leading off the bottom of the eighth. Predictably, Harper ripped a leadoff single, and the inning snowballed from there. Jeurys Familia entered the game, walked Rhys Hoskins, then gave up a long fly ball to Brad Miller. Brandon Nimmo made the catch, but then foolishly threw to third, allowing both runners to advance. That necessitated an intentional walk to Cesear Hernandez, and Scott Kingery followed with a three-RBI double that put the Phillies up 5-2.
That was essentially all she wrote. The Mets went in order in the top of the ninth, as they closed out another exceptionally weak Sunday performance. Their record now sits at 69-67, 4.0 games out of the second wild spot behind the Phillies, Brewers, Diamondbacks, and Cubs. The season hangs in the balance—as it has for the past several weeks—with critical series in Washington and against the Phillies at home coming up next week.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big winners: Brandon Nimmo, +23.8% WPA; Pete Alonso, +18.0% WPA
Big losers: Jeurys Familia, -30.1% WPA; Jeff McNeil, -28.5% WPA; Michael Conforto, -20.3% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: -27.7% WPA
Total batter WPA: -22.3% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Brandon Nimmo ties the game on a wild pitch in the eighth, +17.0% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Jeff McNeil grounds into a fielder’s choice in the top of the eighth, -21.5% WPA