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Mets offense continues to struggle in 2-1 loss to Red Sox

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The Mets waste more strong pitching with poor base running and an inability to deliver a key hit with runners on.

MLB: Boston Red Sox at New York Mets Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

With the Red Sox sporting the game’s best offense thus far in 2021 and the Mets facing a starter in Garrett Richards who had struggled to the tune of a 6.48 ERA and 13 walks to 12 strikeouts over four starts entering the game, you might have expected the chance of a slugfest to be strong. But while Mets’ starter David Peterson did his part to stymie Boston, the Mets bats remained in their early season doldrums as the team fell to a stultifying 2-1 defeat Tuesday night at Citi Field.

Peterson looked sharp over the first couple of frames, and was staked to an early 1-0 lead when Jeff McNeil jumped on a first pitch (of course) to launch a home run into the second deck in right field. However, Bobby Dalbec struck right back for Boston, responding with a home run the other way to right-center to tie the game.

While Peterson continued to navigate the dangerous Boston lineup, primarily by keeping the ball on the ground, the Mets squandered several scoring opportunities over the middle innings. With two outs in the fourth, Michael Conforto got a shift-beating check swing double down the third base line, which was followed by a J.D. Davis line drive single to left that proved too sharp to score Conforto, even with regular designated hitter J.D. Martinez patrolling left. With runners on first and third, McNeil struck out—one of 10 recorded by Richards on the night—to strand the runners.

In the fifth, it was some baserunning miscues which cost the Mets. James McCann led off the inning with a soft liner into left field. This time the Mets tested Martinez’s arm, and McCann was thrown out by some distance trying to stretch the hit into a double. After Peterson struck out, Kevin Pillar singled to center, but was promptly erased trying to steal second by Boston catcher Christian Vasquez to end that frame.

Enrique Hernandez led off the top of the sixth with a double down the right field line, and promptly scored what would provide to be the deciding run of the game when Rafael Devers blooped a broken-bat single to left that put Boston ahead 2-1. The Mets would again record two soft hits in the bottom of the frame—an infield single by the struggling Francisco Lindor and a bloop single by Conforto—but Davis would fly harmlessly to left to end the inning, which would prove the be the Mets’ final offensive threat (so to speak) of the evening.

From there the Mets’ bullpen would keep the game close, as Jeurys Familia, Trevor May, and Miguel Castro would spin three scoreless innings, striking out five—Familia aided by an impressive double-play on a line-out and dive to tag the bag by Lindor. However, Richards and the Red Sox pen would more than match them, setting down the final ten batters in order—starting with the Davis fly out to end the sixth—as the Mets went quietly to defeat. The team will turn to the best pitcher in the known universe Wednesday evening in hopes of salvaging a split of the short two-game interleague series.

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What’s WPA?

Big Mets winner: Jeurys Familia, +4.7% WPA
Big Mets loser: Pete Alonso, -15.6% WPA
Mets pitchers: 12.4% WPA
Mets hitters: -62.4% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Jeff McNeil home run in the second, +12.5%
Teh sux0rest play: Bobby Dalbec home run in the third, -12.7%