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A slow death to the season

The longest nine-inning game in Mets history ends with another Sunday loss.

Philadelphia Phillies v New York Mets Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

After almost five hours, the Mets fell to the Phillies in their final meeting of the season, 10-7. Noah Syndergaard struggled in his start and the bullpen was even worse, while the offense left fourteen men on base and went 3-for-16 with RISP. Seven runs is nothing to spit out, but there were ample opportunities to take over this game and cover for the pitching staff.

Things started excellently on both sides of the ball in this one. Noah Syndergaard made short work of the Phillies in the first, striking out one in a perfect inning, before Wilson Ramos and Robinson Cano hit back-to-back home runs with two outs in the bottom half. Very quickly, the Mets had a 3-0 lead, and Syndergaard seemed to be working with his good stuff.

Of course, it’s Sunday, so that score was never going to stick. Syndergaard worked around a double in the second, but the Phillies got on the board in the third thanks to a walk, single, and a sacrifice fly. An opposite field home run from Adam Haseley in the fourth cut the lead to one, and a two-run single - set up by a very poor through from Michael Conforto that allowed a runner to mover from first to second - gave the Phillies a 4-3 lead.

Syndergaard finished his outing after that fifth inning, having allowed six hits and four runs while striking out six, the latest so-so season in a season that has consistently felt disappointing. The bullpen didn’t fair any better, however; Paul Sewald gave up a leadoff double in the sixth, and Luis Avilan gave up a lame duck RBI single and a two-run home run. Scott Kingery took Justin Wilson. Ty Bashlor relieved him and gave up another run on a bases loaded walk.

While none of these pitchers are great and the Mets bullpen is undoubtedly weak, Mickey Callaway’s management was once again highly suspect. Luis Avilan was left in to face a lefty killer in Maikel Franco, who hit a two-run bomb into the second deck. Kingery’s home run came on Justin Wilson’s 30th pitch of the inning, And Ty Bashlor intentionally walked Andrew Knapp, a backup catcher with a 57 wRC+, to face Bryce Harper with the bases loaded. All of these decisions are very obviously wrong, and having a manager that continually botches the easiest of decisions has been a serious drag on the Mets’ season.

As the bullpen was giving up runs by the handful, the Met offense squandered several huge opportunities. Three walks loaded the bases with one out in the fifth, but the Mets got only one run on a single, fielder’s choice, and a ground out. The bases were loaded again with no outs in the sixth, but this time the Mets only got two runs on a ground out and a sacrifice fly. The first three Mets reached in the seventh, scoring one and leaving two men on with no outs, but the Mets again got nothing done. As the Phillies’ very bad bullpen continually gave them chances, the Mets continually failed to capitalize.

The eighth inning was a blissful reprieve from bullpen incompetence, as Edwin Diaz set the Phillies down in order and the Mets only put one man on base in the bottom half. Jeurys Familia also had a solid outing, allowing only one baserunner on a Jeff McNeil error in the top of the ninth. That set the stage for the Mets in the bottom half, who put two of the first three men on against Hector Neris. That brought Pete Alonso to the plate as the tying run, with Michael Conforto on deck.

That chance, like all those in the earlier innings, was also squandered. Alonso struck out, Conforto grounded out on three pitches, and a four-and-a-half hour slog of a loss was mercifully over. The Mets remain four games back of the Cubs in the wild card race with twenty games remaining, and they’ll start a four game set with the surging Diamondbacks on Monday. Realistically, they’ll need to win at least three and probably four if they hope to keep their playoff hopes alive.

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Win Probability Added

What’s WPA?

Big winners: Wilson Ramos, +33.3% WPA; Brandon Nimmo, +14.3% WPA
Big losers: Noah Syndergaard, -28.0% WPA; Luis Avilan, -28.0% WPA; Justin Wilson, -18.6% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: -86.3% WPA
Total batter WPA: 36.3% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Wilson Ramos hits a two-run home run in the first, +20.7% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Corey Dickerson drives in two with a single in the fifth inning, -24.8% WPA