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A night of squandered opportunities and frustrating inevitability in DC

The Mets let their playoff dreams slip away in a pair of losses.

New York Mets v Washington Nationals - Game Two Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

The Mets entered today’s doubleheader with the Nationals on the very last stand of a potential playoff run. And, it appeared, that they were about to put their best foot forward to achieve that goal, with the two-time reigning Cy Young Award winner going for the Mets. But, like so many things both with the Mets, and 2020 in general, things did not go as planned, and the Mets wound up both eliminated from the playoffs and fighting for last place against their opponents this evening. It was a rough night, folks.

The first game was frustrating because it seemed like everything was lined up for a victory. Jacob deGrom, while not untouchable, pitched, more or less, like Jacob deGrom. His ten strikeouts over five innings of work finished off his year with 104. While he had some bad luck, including Dominic Smith crashing into a wall, which lead to an inside the park home run, deGrom did what he normally did, which is limit the damage and keep his team in the game.

That was aided by home runs by Wilson Ramos and Amed Rosario, who gave them Mets three runs in the first four innings on a pair of home runs against Max Scherzer. Scherzer was equally not as sharp as deGrom, but pitched six innings and wound up collecting the win. The Mets wasted many opportunities, putting men on base in all but one inning, but stranding six and going 0-2 with runners in scoring position.

Miguel Castro started the sixth inning and promptly walked Brock Holt and gave up a single to Yan Gomes. After striking out Luis Garcia, Castro was replaced by Edwin Diaz. While Diaz has been much better as of late, entering games with runners on base has been something of an achilles heel for him.

The inevitable happened one pitch into his appearance, which led to a hard hit ball that scored Brock from third to give the Nationals the one-run lead. They would hold the lead and win the first game, bouncing the Mets from playoff contention.

Game 1

SB Nation GameThreads

Amazin’ Avenue

Federal Baseball

Box scores

ESPN

MLB.com

Win Probability Added

Mets vs Nationals Game One 9/26/20 Fangraphs

What’s WPA?

Big winner: Guillermo Heredia, +7.5% WPA

Big loser: J.D. Davis, -19.5% WPA

Total pitcher WPA: -31.0% WPA

Total batter WPA: -19.0% WPA

Teh aw3s0mest play: Wilson Ramos’s home run, +19.6% WPA

Teh sux0rest play: Andrew Stevenson’s inside the park home run, -22.5% WPA


While the first game was depressing in how frustrating it was to see the Mets fall out of postseason contention in such a close game, game 2 was depressing for just how predictable it all felt. Rick Porcello started for the Mets, and gave up five runs in his three innings of work against a lackluster Washington lineup. The Mets, though down Michael Conforto (who hit the IL earlier this week), Andres Gimenez (oblique injury in the first game), and Dominic Smith (who left game one after colliding with the left-field wall), looked poised to take advantage of Anibel Sanchez, a pitcher, like Porcello, who is far past his prime and is quite hittable at this point of his career.

But Sanchez scattered four hits and three runs, including a two-run home run to Pete Alonso in the fourth inning, across his five and a third innings tonight. The only other Mets offense came in the sixth inning, when the Mets loaded the bases with one out, but only cashed in one run off the bat of Todd Frazier.

The first game’s loss felt tragic and unnecessary, whereas game two’s loss felt in line with how frustrating this team has been in 2020. With just one game left in the season - tomorrow’s 3:05pm duel between Seth Lugo and Austin Voth - and, more importantly, one more game under the Wilpon regime, it seems like as good a time as any to celebrate the end of this shitty season and this shitty ownership. While no Mets fan wanted the season to end this way, we should all take comfort in the fact that it is over, we survived, and next year has to be better.

Game 2

SB Nation GameThreads

Amazin’ Avenue

Federal Baseball

Box scores

ESPN

MLB.com

Win Probability Added

Mets vs Nationals 9/26/20 WPA Chart Fangraphs.com

What’s WPA?

Big winner: Pete Alonso, +19.9% WPA

Big loser: Rick Porcello - 26.0% WPA

Total pitcher WPA: -20.8% WPA

Total batter WPA: -29.2% WPA

Teh aw3s0mest play: Pete Alonso’s sixth inning walk, +8.2% WPA

Teh sux0rest play: Trea Turner’s third inning home run, -14.3% WPA