It’s been a rough stretch for my Mets coming into this four-game series in Milwaukee. After getting off to a 5-1 start this season, we’ve dropped five four of our past five games, losing two of three to the Nationals and getting “swept” by the Astros in two games in Houston. This four-game series will wrap up the road trip before the team heads home to play four against the Braves—with no off day in between.
Roster move: I forgot to give an update on a roster move made before the series in Houston: I called up Matt Harvey from Syracuse and placed Justin Wilson on the injured list. So he’s in my bullpen.
April 9, Game 12: Mets at Brewers
Pete Alonso starts the series off right when he hits a two-run home run in the top of the first. Considering I burnt Rick Porcello last night in Houston, getting some early run support for Michael Wacha feels good, as I’m going to be trying to get more out of him innings-wise than I had planned on when I planned my rotation for the season.
Wacha gives up a solo home run to Lorenzo Cain in the bottom of the first, but he doesn’t allow anything else through the fifth inning. Meanwhile, J.D. Davis drove in a run in the third on a single, and Alonso went deep again, this time a solo shot, in the top of the fifth. So with the Mets leading 4-1, Wacha heads back out for the sixth. He walks Cain, and Avisail Garcia comes up next and hits a two-run home run, cutting the Mets’ lead to one.
In comes Seth Lugo, sending Wacha to the showers with five innings, 90 pitches, and three runs allowed on the night. Lugo gives up a double but retires the next three batters he faces, keeping the Mets ahead. Thankfully, the bats answer right away, as Jeff McNeil singles to lead off the seventh and Dom Smith singles to put runners on the corners with nobody out. Alonso strikes out, but McNeil scores on a Robinson Cano ground out. The Brewers intentionally walk J.D. Davis, and Brandon Nimmo is hit by a pitch to load the bases. Rene Rivera singles in Smith for the second run of the innings, but the Brewers escape the jam by getting Luis Guillorme to ground out.
Dellin Betances gives up a run in the bottom of the seventh, but neither team scores again, as Jeurys Familia and Edwin Diaz throw a scoreless inning apiece to wrap up the win for the Mets.
Final: Mets 6, Brewers 4
April 10, Game 13: Mets at Brewers
Roster move: Max Moroff has been designated for assignment, and Amed Rosario is activated from the injured list
The Mets’ bats don’t get off to a hot start in this one, but that doesn’t seem to matter much with Marcus Stroman dealing. He doesn’t allow any runs through seven innings. The Mets get a solo home run from J.D. Davis in the fourth, and they get one more run in the sixth on an RBI double from Davis.
Having used Lugo, Betances, Familia, and Diaz last night and with Stroman’s pitch count very low, I decide to stick with Stroman for the eighth. Orlando Arcia singles to start the inning, and Stroman walks Eric Sogard. Brock Holt grounds out, but both runners advance. Lorenzo Cain hits a sac fly to bring in the Brewers’ first run, and Avisail Garcia singles to tie the game.
Even with all of that, Stroman threw just 98 pitches in the start. In hindsight, it’s easy to regret leaving him in there for the eighth, and it’ll be interesting to see how these sorts of situations affect my pitching decisions moving forward. Seth Lugo comes in and gets the last out of the eighth. After the Mets put up nothing in the top of the ninth, I stick with Lugo for the bottom of the ninth. Christian Yelich singles, and Justin Smoak hits a walk-off home run.
Final: Brewers 4, Mets 2
April 11, Game 14: Mets at Brewers
Steven Matz gets the start in the third game of the series with the team coming off that tough loss the night before, and he doesn’t disappoint: 7.0 innings, no runs, 7 K, 2 BB, 3 H. He throws 102 pitches, a perfectly decent number for that length of an outing.
The Mets jump out to a lead in the third inning when Jeff McNeil triples to plate Brandon Nimmo and Amed Rosario. Pete Alonso tacks on one more run later in the inning on a single, giving the Mets a 3-0 lead. The Mets get one more run on a solo home run by Nimmo in the top of the sixth.
With Matz done after seven, Harvey makes his first appearance as a Met since he was traded away, and it’s not pretty. He records just one out and gives up two runs on two hits with a strikeout and a walk. Dellin Betances takes over from there and finishes the eighth without issue, and Edwin Diaz walks a tightrope by giving up a couple of hits and a walk in the ninth. He bends, but he does not break, notching his fourth save of the season with a scoreless ninth.
Final: Mets 4, Brewers 2
April 12, Game 15: Mets at Brewers
Having taken two of three to start the series, I’m pretty happy to have Jacob deGrom starting in the series finale. Brandon Nimmo doubles in a pair of runs in the top of the second to open the scoring on the day, and Dom Smith scores later in the inning on a fielder’s choice to make it 3-0 in favor of the Mets. Jeff McNeil adds a run in the fourth by driving in deGrom, who had doubled earlier in the inning, on a two-out single.
On the mound, deGrom’s only blemish comes in the bottom of the fourth when Eric Sogard hits a two-run home run off him. He completes seven innings on 105 pitches with five strikeouts, two walks, and just those two runs allowed on a total of four hits. He’s sitting on a 2.33 ERA for the season.
Robert Gsellman gets the eighth and strikes out three batters in the inning but gives up a solo shot to Christian Yelich in the middle of that. In hindsight, maybe Gsellman wasn’t the right guy to have out there against Yelich in a tight game. But Jeurys Familia retires the side in order in the ninth for a save, his second of the year.
With that, my Mets bounced back nicely from the previous two series by taking three of four from the Brew Crew and have a 9-6 record on the season. It’s not exactly the blazing start that we were hoping for after that 5-1 start to the season, but three games over .500 is a perfectly acceptable place to be right now.
Final: Mets 4, Brewers 3
Brian’s take: The Mets have always been a team based on starting pitching, and McShane’s Mets are falling into line. No starting pitcher gave up more than 3 earned runs in any start, and aside from a shaky performance from the usually rock solid Seth Lugo, the relief corps turned in a performance that you’d have to be happy with, especially following the starting pitching performances.
It is especially nice to see Stroman and Matz taking steps forward to replace Noah Snydergaard in the rotation. The Brewers aren’t a slouch of a team, so to see the Mets take three of four is a nice sign, especially with getting a Wacha win. The road hasn’t been kind to this crew, so its nice to see them take a series in Milwaukee.
It is especially heartening to see Jeff McNeil and Pete Alonso getting off to hot starts after strong 2019 campaigns, especially with some early injuries. When Conforto returns, this lineup should be really formidable. If the starting pitching keeps going seven, three games over .500 may be something close to the norm for the club.