After a pair of tough losses against the Red Sox in which they struggled to make the most of their opportunities, the Mets broke through offensively against the Braves on Friday. The Mets exploded for 10 runs on 13 hits, and went four for nine with runners in scoring position, a drastic improvement from Thursday’s three for fourteen performance. While the offense managed to right the ship in Atlanta, the bullpen continued to sink, giving up five runs and the lead in the bottom of the eighth in Friday’s 11-10 loss.
Rick Porcello’s second start did not go much better than the first, with Porcello putting the Mets behind in the first inning. Porcello got the first two outs relatively easily, but allowed two runs on four straight singles with two outs to put the Braves ahead 2-0. Porcello worked his way in and out of trouble over the next few innings, but managed to keep the Braves from scoring again through the second and third innings. The Mets got on the board in the top of the fourth, when J.D. Davis hit a two-run homer that barely cleared the left-center field wall after a Pete Alonso walk, tying the game at 2-2.
The game remained tied at two until the top of the fifth, when the Mets broke through against Braves starter Sean Newcomb. Robinson Cano led off the inning with a solo homer, and Wilson Ramos and Andres Gimenez followed with back to back singles. Newcomb managed to get Amed Rosario to fly out, but Brandon Nimmo singled to left with one out, loading the bases. Newcomb was removed from the game with one out and the bases loaded. Jhoulys Chacin came into the game to relieve Newcomb, and immediately walked Pete Alonso to bring in a run. Chacin managed to get Davis to strike out, but walked Michael Conforto to bring in another run, before giving up a two-run double to Yoenis Cespedes, and an RBI single to Robinson Cano. The Mets extended their lead to 8-2 by the time the dust settled, having scored six runs in the inning.
Rick Porcello went back out for the bottom of the fifth, staked to a six run lead. It soon became clear that six runs might not be enough. Porcello walked Dansby Swanson to lead off the inning, and was pulled from the game after an error from J.D. Davis in left field allowed Swanson to advance to second. Paul Sewald came in to replace Porcello, and Swanson to score on a double from Freddie Freeman. Travis d’Arnaud followed with a single that allowed Freeman to score, and the Mets’ lead was cut to 8-4 through five. The Mets went to work in the sixth, and extended their lead to 10-4 on a solo home run from Amed Rosario and an RBI single from J.D. Davis. Staked to a six run lead in the late innings, the Mets bullpen continued to crack. Dansby Swanson doubled home a run in the sixth off of Chasen Shreve to cut the deficit to five. Shreve stayed in for a scoreless seventh, and Dellin Betances came in to start the eighth with a four run lead.
The game got away from the Mets in the eighth, with the bullpen completely melting down. Betances gave up a single to Adeiny Hechavarria to start the inning, and walked Ender Inciarte to follow. He managed to strike Ronald Acuna Jr. out, but gave up a run immediately after on a single from Dansby Swanson, before walking Freddie Freeman. Inciarte came around to score on a wild pitch, bringing the score to 10-8, and at that point Luis Rojas had seen enough. Rojas pulled Betances and replaced him with Seth Lugo to try to get out of the inning with the lead. Lugo walked the first batter he faced, before managing to get the second out, bringing former Met Travis d’Arnaud to the plate with the bases loaded. In predictably terrible Mets fashion, d’Arnaud drove a double to centerfield, clearing the bases and putting the Braves up 11-10 after at one point being down by six. From there, the Mets went down relatively quietly in the ninth, letting a game in which they managed to score double-digit runs slipped from their grasp.
The Mets somehow managed to let a six run lead get away from, in frustrating fashion. The Mets bullpen has blown it’s second game in three days, and it’s quickly becoming clear that there might not be anyone in the bullpen whom you can really trust in a close game. On Thursday it was Diaz, on Friday it was first Betances, followed by Seth Lugo who struggled in relief and helped let the game slip away. These are the guys the team is supposed to be able to count on. It’s disheartening to watch them struggle so much so often, even in a season as weird as this has been.
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Win Probability Added
Big Mets winner: Robinson Cano, 25.7% WPA
Big Mets loser: Seth Lugo, -53.5% WPA
Mets pitchers: -84.8% WPA
Mets hitters: 34.8% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: J.D. Davis two-run homer in the fourth, 19.3% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Travis d’Arnaud three-run double in the bottom of the eighth, -61.7% WPA