Having bounced back from losing the first two games of a four-game series against the Braves in Queens with a pair of wins to finish the series, my Mets are feeling pretty good heading into a three-game set with the Brewers, from whom they took three of four games the previous weekend. But things aren’t so easy this time around.
April 17: Mets vs. Brewers
In hindsight, I’m not quite sure why I had the piggyback duo starting this game, as they had pitched on Tuesday that week, but for whatever reason, that’s what happened. I decided to start Rick Porcello this time, planning to use Michael Wacha in relief.
Well, Porcello gave up nine runs in four innings, and Wacha gave up seven more in just two-and-two-thirds innings. Brad Brach took one for the team by finishing the last 2.1 innings, giving up a mere five runs during that span—throwing 79 pitches along the way. That one’s on me, too. What’s not on me in this one: The Mets don’t score a single run.
Final: Brewers 21, Mets 0
April 18: Mets vs. Brewers
Jacob deGrom gets the start in this one as the team looks to wash that Friday night game away, but like the pitchers before him in this series, he’s not at his best. He gives up a run in the first, two in the second, two in the third, and two in the fourth, with his fifth and final inning being the only one in which he put up a zero.
Luckily, the offense shows up. Robinson Cano scores on a balk in the bottom of the second, and in the bottom of the third, the Mets break out with six runs. With the game tied at seven as the bottom of the fifth gets underway, the Mets take a lead on a two-run home run from Brandon Nimmo. Unfortunately, Seth Lugo coughs that lead right up by giving up a pair of runs in the sixth, and Jeurys Familia—who has been sharp thus far—gives up a go-ahead run in the top of the seventh.
Fortunately, the Mets answer. Dom Smith singles, and I opt to have Amed Rosario sacrifice bunt, a play I’m rarely calling for, especially from position players, as I play this season. A single and a walk load the bases, and Jeff McNeil gets hit by a pitch to bring Smith home to tie the game. Pete Alonso puts the Mets ahead with a sac fly later in the inning, 11-10, which is thankfully enough.
The Mets don’t score again, but Matt Harvey and Edwin Diaz combined to throw two scoreless innings to end the game, with Diaz getting one of the outs in the eighth.
Final: Mets 11, Brewers 10
April 19: Mets vs. Brewers
In the rubber game of the series, my Mets have Noah Syndergaard on the mound. He dominates, allowing just a solo home run to Avisail Garcia in the fourth inning and nothing else through eight innings of work. But the Mets score just once, on a J.D. Davis rib-eye single in the sixth, against Adrian Houser and the Brewers’ bullpen through eight innings.
I stick with Syndergaard for the ninth, as his pitch count is still below 100 and he’s been great, but it backfires. Brock Holt singles, and Garcia doubles to start the inning. With runners on second and third and Christian Yelich up, I opt to have Yelich intentionally walked. Justin Smoak singles to score one run, giving the Brewers a 2-1 lead, before Syndergaard notches a strikeout. With that, he’s at 110 pitches, and I turn to Dellin Betances, who walks the first batter he faces to give the Brewers their third run. He gets the next two guys, but the Mets fail to score in the bottom of the ninth.
With that, my Mets are 12-10 on the season.
Final: Brewers 3, Mets 1
Vas’s take: It’s not often you see a team lose 21-0, but those are the kind of games where you just have to take your licks and move on. McShane was right to let Porcello, Wacha, and Brach wear that game so he could save the bullpen. However, you have to wonder how long he can keep tag-teaming Porcello and Wacha before the struggles start to become too much to ignore. Plus, Brach has now officially become a liability out of the pen.
It was nice seeing the Mets rebound the next night, although watching deGrom give up seven runs is upsetting and not something you’re used to seeing from the ace. You hope to chalk it up to just a one-off bad outing and nothing more. After laying a goose egg, the offense came through in a big way, and they needed every run to pull that win off. Despite the offensive explosion, they managed just 12 runs in the three-game set. To no surprise, Alonso and McNeil are leading the way, though Smith has cooled down after a scorching-hot start. The team is also going to need more from Rosario and from Nimmo to get to where they need to be.
McShane’s decision to stick with Syndergaard in the ninth in tie game may raise eyebrows from some, but it is a move I really like even though it ended up not working out. Thor has had a great season so far and was dealing, plus the bullpen was coming off a long night. It was a nice show of confidence from the manager in one of his horses. It was also good seeing Harvey and Diaz combine the previous night to close out what was, up to that point, a see-saw game. It’s nice seeing the two of them put up good numbers while guys like Lugo (7.71... oy) are struggling early on this season. The bullpen continues to be inconsistent, as many people expected.