The first game of Sunday’s doubleheader looked promising before turning into one of the most painful losses in recent memory, as the Yankees won 8-7 in walkoff fashion. Rick Porcello was surprisingly solid and the Mets’ scored plenty of runs, but some poor bullpen management and another implosion from Edwin Diaz quickly soured the afternoon game.
Like Saturday, the Yankees got on the board early. DJ Lemahieu made Porcello’s life difficult, working an 11-pitch leadoff walk, and Luke Voit followed up with an absolute bullet that ripped through JD Davis’s glove and trickled rolled into left field for a double. With two runners in scoring position and no outs, it seemed like Porcello might be in for a long day, a particularly troubling proposition given how stretched the Mets’ bullpen is and with Seth Lugo starting game two. Thankfully, Porcello pulled a bit of a Houdini act, striking out Aaron Hicks and inducing a weak ground out and a (somewhat scary) fly out to escape the jam with only one run scored.
Also like yesterday, the Mets’ offense was dormant early. A Dominic Smith leadoff double in the second was wasted, as was a one-out walk to Andres Gimenez in the third. Their luck turned in the fourth, as the BABIP fairy gifted the Mets four soft hit singles, including an RBI knock by Pete Alonso. Wilson Ramos followed with a harder hit single to drive in another. Andres Gimenez popped out and Brandon Nimmo struck out to strand the bases loaded, but the Mets had taken a 2-1 lead.
Porcello returned to the mound and seemed set to make that lead stand up, as he worked around a one-out walked and threw what should have been an obvious strike three to Mike Ford to end the inning. Ramos’s lunging catch combined to what was mostly just a bad call gave the Yankees another chance, and Ford hit a fly ball that turned Dom Smith into a pretzel in left field before dropping for a double that tied the game. Porcello got the next man and walked off the mound, yelling at home plate umpire Chris Conroy for effectively allowing the Yankees to tie the game.
The Mets’ offense got right back to work rebuilding that lead, as Michael Conforto lead off the fifth with a single. A strikeout and a fielder’s choice set the table for another missed offensive opportunity (the calling card for the Mets’ offense this year, it seems), but Robinson Cano likes hitting in Yankee Stadium too much to let that happen. The veteran second baseman turned unwilling-DH lined a two-out, two-run home run into the right field bleachers, putting the Mets back in front 4-2.
Porcello worked around a two-out single to close his outing in a relatively calm fashion, and he handed a two-run lead to the bullpen. That lead would quickly expand, as the Yankee bullpen imploded in the sixth. Three walks loaded the bases, Michael Conforto doubled home two, another walk and a hit by pitch forced in another run to put the Mets up 7-2. Jeff McNeil flew out to end the inning and strand the bases loaded for the second time, but the game was well in hand.
Or so we thought. Justin Wilson made short work of the Yankees in the sixth, and after the Mets didn’t add on in the seventh, Jared Hughes came in for the seventh. That was a strange decision, as Hughes was pitching for the third day in a row, and a throwing error by Andres Gimenez got the inning off to a bad start. After a line out and a fly out, a walk and a hit batter loaded the bases for Luke Voit, who hit a check swing ground ball that dribbled into right field. Two runs scored, but Michael Conforto seemed to have the runner nailed at third. Instead of applying a game ending tag, Gimenez made another blunder, dropping the ball and allowing the game to continue with the tying run coming up.
Luis Rojas turned to his closer, Edwin Diaz, and that predictably didn’t go well. Diaz gave up a three-run, game-tying home run to Aaron Hicks, and the five-run lead was gone. After the Mets failed to even advance their free runner to third in extras, Diaz gave up a walk and a single that ended the game in walkoff fashion.
SB Nation Game Threads
Win Probability Added
Big Mets winner: Robinson Cano, +40.1% WPA
Big Mets loser: Dellin Betances, -35.3% WPA
Mets pitchers: -79.0% WPA
RTeh aw3s0mest play: Robinson Cano hits a two-run home run in the fifth, +32.4% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Aaron Hicks ties the game with a home run off Edwin Diaz, -48.7% WPA
Game 2 was nearly as deflating, if only because there was no air left to deflate, and the Mets again fell in extra innings 5-2. As usual, a rookie starter making his major league debut shit down the Mets’ lineup (though Deivi Garcia is universally regarded as a top-5 pitching prospect in baseball), and the bullpen couldn’t hold back the Yankee offense forever.
Lugo allowed the leadoff man to reach in each of his four innings - three singles and a solo home run - but managed to work around the traffic for the most part with a boatload of strikeouts. His control slipped in the fourth, when a walk, a wild pitch, and an intentional walk loaded the bases with one out, but Lugo managed another strikeout before being replaced by Chasen Shreve. Shreve (who definitely should’ve been used in the first half of the doubleheader) needed all of one pitch to escape the jam, closing the book on Lugo. The recently converted reliever struck out seven, walked two, and allowed just the one run in his 3.2 innings of work.
Shreve continued for another two scoreless innings and Jeurys Familia added one of his own, but Deivi Garcia was equal to the task. The diminutive right hander didn’t allow a hit until the fourth, struck out six, and allowed only four runs over his six innings of work. The lone run he allowed came in the sixth after a two-base error by Luke Voit set up an RBI single by Dominic Smith. It was an extremely impressive debut, but also extremely frustrating to watch the Mets’ offense flail helplessly for most of the game.
Jonathan Holder had no trouble with the Mets in the bottom of the seventh and the game went to extras, with Drew Smith relieving Familia. His first outing since returning to the major league roster did not go well; Clint Frazier walked, a deep flyout allowed both runners to advance, an intentional walk loaded the bases, and Gary Sanchez launched a pinch-hit grand slam. Just like that, the Mets were in a 5-1 hole.
At least this time the offense made use of their free baserunner in extra innings, as a walk and a soft single cut the deficit to 5-2. Dom Smith followed with a single of his own, loading the bases for Wilson Ramos, but the aging, struggling veteran struck out swinging to end the game. And, to add injury to insult, JD Davis departed the game with a hip injury related to being drilled by an Aroldis Chapman fastball on Friday.
The loss drops the Mets to 15-19, and the great momentum the team had after Firday’s game is totally gone. Given the state of the team, any acquisition before Monday’s trade deadline seems extremely hard to justify. Jacob deGrom will have to start a serious run tomorrow afternoon when he takes on the Marlins for the fourth straight start.
SB Nation Game Threads
Win Probability Added
Big Mets winner: Big Mets winner: Dom Smith, +26.5% WPA
D Big Mets loser: Drew Smith, -48.4% WPA
Mets pitchers: +19.0% WPA
Mets hitters: -31.0% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Wilson Ramos ties the game with an eighth inning home run, +24.3% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Jordy Mercer singles in the ninth to put runners on the corners, -18.6% WPA