The Mets arrived in New York early on Wednesday morning after sweeping the Red Sox over two games in Boston and punishing their pitching staff to the tune of 15 runs. It appears the Mets forgot to pack their bats for the trip home, as their offense completely vanished in these past two games, especially with runners in scoring position. In total, the team went 4-for-24 over the two nights in those situations, including 1-for-10 in Thursday’s loss.
Steven Matz did not look as sharp tonight as he did in his first start of the season, although he was mostly able to side-step trouble. After a scoreless first that featured Jeff McNeil’s fourth error in seven games, Christian Vazquez led off the second with a home run to give Boston a 1-0 lead. Through two innings, Matz’s pitch count rose to 40 and, through most of the night, he was fighting off a high pitch count, although he was eventually able to get into the sixth inning.
The bats were mostly quiet in the first two innings against Red Sox lefty Martin Perez, but they finally came alive in the third to produce their only two runs of the night. The Mets got the first two runners on board thanks to a Wilson Ramos walk and a Brandon Nimmo hit by pitch. After Amed Rosario grounded into a fielder’s choice, with Ramos being erased at third, Pete Alonso walked to load the bases for the always-reliable McNeil. The Squirrel poked a single into left-center field to drive home Nimmo and Rosario and give the Mets their lone lead of the night.
The celebratory mood was short-lived, as Boston retook the lead the very next inning. Xander Bogaerts singled to lead off the frame, and was brought home after Vazquez deposited his second home run of the night into the left-center field stands and into a sea of digital fans planted there by the FOX broadcast. It was the catcher’s third home run in his last four at-bats against the Mets in the series, and gave Boston a lead that they would not relinquish. Matz settled down and pitched into the sixth inning before being relieved by Drew Smith. In total, he was charged with three earned runs on eight hits with two strikeouts and three walks over 5.1 innings.
The bigger issue for New York after that was their inability to get their offense going. After Yoenis Cespedes reached base on an error to start the bottom of the fourth, Brian Dozier, who was making his Mets debut and had struck out in his first at-bat, grounded into a double play to squash any hopes of a rally. The Mets went quietly in the fifth and mustered just a measly J.D. Davis walk in the sixth. In total, they managed just two hits and two runs off Perez, who was coming off a bad start.
The Mets had their best chance to retake the lead in the eighth but, much like they did in Wednesday night’s loss, they came up short. Matthew Barnes took the hill for Boston and promptly plunked Alonso on the hand. McNeil followed with a line out to left, but Davis came through with a single to put runners on the corners with one out and New York behind by one. The usually-reliable Michael Conforto then struck out on a full count in a disappointing at-bat. Cespedes gave the Mets a chance with a walk after pinch runner Ryan Cordell swiped his first base with the Mets, but Andres Gimenez, who pinch ran for Robinson Cano in the seventh, grounded out to first to end the inning. While the Mets made Barnes work in a 37-pitch inning, it was all for naught.
Luis Rojas called on Edwin Diaz in the ninth, as the closer had not worked since Saturday. It went poorly, to put things as mildly as possible. Diaz walked Alex Verdugo, gave up a single to Michael Chavis, and walked Andrew Benintendi on four straight pitches out of the zone to load up the bases before you could even blink. After recovering to strike out the pinch hitter Rafael Devers, he hit Jose Peraza to give Boston an insurance run. He was pulled in favor of Paul Sewald, who retired the next two batters to finish the inning.
In the bottom of the ninth against Brandon Workman, the Mets got a one-out single from Nimmo to bring up Alonso as the tying run. However, the first baseman struck out swinging to end the night. The loss dropped New York to 3-4 on the season as they depart for Atlanta for a four-game set with the Braves. Rick Porcello hopes to fare better tomorrow night than he did last Sunday against the Braves as he will look for a bit of redemption and his first win as a Met.
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Win Probability Added
Big Mets winner: J.D. Davis, 16.7% WPA
Big Mets loser: Michael Conforto, -27.9% WPA
Mets pitchers: -6.0% WPA
Mets hitters: -44.0% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: J.D. Davis one-out single to center in the eighth, 18.4% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Christian Vazquez two-run home run in the fourth, -21.6% WPA