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Mets drop series finale to Padres as bullpen struggles

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The bullpen got exposed against a powerful San Diego lineup.

MLB: San Diego Padres at New York Mets Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

After taking the first two games at home, the Mets were looking to sweep the series against the Padres but were unable to do so after an overworked bullpen fell apart to give the Padres a 7-3 win.

Joey Lucchesi has looked much better as of late and looked to continue his stretch of good outings against his former team. He got off to a rough start when his third pitch of the game went over the center field fence off the bat of Tommy Pham. However, he settled down nicely and had one of his best starts as a Met against a tough San Diego lineup. He pitched six innings, struck out six, walked one, and gave up just the one run. He got the help of his defense when they turned a couple double plays behind him, but overall it was a solid outing by Lucchesi. He argued for going deeper into games after the game, and with Peterson struggling mightily the Mets might have to take the reins off to help their bullpen some with this brutal schedule coming up.

Pete Alonso’s nemesis Chris Paddack started opposite Lucchesi and shut down a Mets lineup that was without a few of its regulars. Jonathan Villar was attending to a family matter, Billy McKinney was still out with a leg issue, and James McCann got the day off on his birthday.

Jose Peraza remained in the lineup at second and was one of the few who got to Paddack. He blasted a two-run home run off of him to give the Mets a slim 2-1 lead in the fifth.

Manager Luis Rojas revealed after the game that Edwin Diaz, Seth Lugo, Aaron Loup, and Miguel Castro were all unavailable out of the pen so his options were limited once Lucchesi was out of the game. He first turned to Jeurys Familia in the sixth and while he escaped unscathed, it was a hard-working inning for the righty against the heart of the San Diego lineup.

When the Mets failed to score in the bottom of the sixth despite getting the first two men on, Familia returned to the mound in the seventh still trying to protect a one-run lead. He very nearly wiggled out of trouble when the Padres had second and third with one out. He struck out Trent Grisham but his hard work took a toll and was clearly gassed facing the next two hitters. He walked them both and the game was tied.

Again with his options limited, Rojas then turned to Jacob Barnes to face Fernando Tatis Jr. It was a terrible matchup from the start with Barnes prone to the home run ball, and Tatis Jr. took advantage. The game was promptly untied with one swing that ended up in the left field stands off the bat of the MVP candidate. Not to be outdone Manny Machado also took Barnes deep just to put the finishing touch on the inning.

The Mets got a run back in the eighth when Tomas Nido drove in Dominic Smith, but with a short bench Nido ended up manning third base at the end the game. There was no harm done as Drew Smith handled the last two innings without any drama.

With a short bench and a depleted bullpen this game was always going to be tough to win, and while the Mets gave it their best shot through six innings, the bullpen’s weaknesses were exposed against a relentless San Diego lineup.

The Mets will now face the first place Chicago Cubs at Citi for four games after getting swept by them earlier in the year at Wrigley.

*illar of the game

Hopefully everything is ok with Jonathan Villar and his family, and while Kevin Pillar had a tough day he earns the *illar of the game. In the eighth inning, there was a scary moment when Pete Alonso got struck in the helmet with a pitch. He was ok but Kevin Pillar batted two batters later after that incident. After all that he went through, stepping into the box after that earns him the nod.

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Win Probability Added

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What’s WPA?

Big Mets winner: Joey Lucchesi, +11.5% WPA
Big Mets loser: Jacob Barnes, -43.4% WPA
Mets pitchers: -48.5% WPA
Mets hitters: -1.5% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Jose Peraza home run in fifth
Teh sux0rest play: Fernando Tatis Jr. grand slam in seventh