A rough weekend series in Washington came to a fitting conclusion Sunday, as the Mets dropped the finale 5-2. Kyle Schwarber continued his recent Lucas Duda-esque tear, following up his two home run performance on Saturday with three homers and four RBI in this one. That was more than enough to beat the Mets, whose offense was still largely stagnant despite facing the struggling Patrick Corbin.
Things got off to an inauspicious start in the first. Francisco Lindor was robbed of a hit by Josh Harrison on a hard hit ground ball, short circuiting what could’ve been an early scoring threat. In the bottom half, Schwarber hit the first of his three home runs, tagging Taijuan Walker for his second leadoff home run in as many days. Walker was clearly working without his best stuff, giving up hard contact left and right, but managed to limit the damage to only one run.
Kevin Pillar got that run back for the Mets in the top of the second, leading off with a solo home run of his own to the opposite field. Walker took the mound again with the game tied but still didn’t look right, allowing two hard hit singles. Patrick Corbin then came up to bunt, dropping one down the third base line that Walker fielded and threw to third. There wasn’t anything obvious, but he seemed a bit shaken up on the play. No trainer came out and Walker followed that up with an even better defensive play, making a lunging snag on a Kyle Schwarber ground ball for the final out of the inning, but the big right-hander looked uncomfortable walking off the mound and in the dugout between innings.
Nevertheless, Walker remained in - not exactly surprising given how desperate the Mets are for innings at the moments. The Nationals added a run in the third (Trea Turner single, stolen base, and an RBI single from Josh Bell) and another in the fifth (Kyle Schwarber’s second home run of the day), but Walker did his job and kept the Mets in the game. Unfortunately, the offense remained totally absent, as the vast majority of the lineup got shut down by Patrick Corbin. Corbin entered the game with a 5.60 ERA and a 6.00 FIP, which tells you about as much as you need to know.
Pete Alonso got the Mets a run closer in the top of the seventh with a leadoff home run, and a walk by Kevin Pillar chased Corbin and set up a potentially big inning. Instead, Dom Smith hit a rocket right at Starlin Castro that turned into a double play and ended the scoring threat. In the bottom half, Walker was pushed to far, giving up a one-out double to the just-called-up Gerardo Parra with one out before departing. He was replaced by Jeurys Familia, who promptly served up Kyle Schwarber’s third home run of the day, a fly ball that bounced off the top of the fence in left. Familia wiggled out of some more trouble in the inning, but the Nats had a 5-2 lead.
Not much more to comment on in this one. The Mets went in order in both the eighth and ninth, managing a measly four hits on the day as the dropped three of four against Washington. It seems the magic of the “bench mob” is fading a bit, as the offense has entered a significant malaise over the last week or so. Reinforcements are on the horizon - Jeff McNeil should be back tomorrow, while Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo are starting rehab assignments - but there’s a rough stretch of games over the next week that the
Despite the loss, the Mets still sit well ahead of the rest of the disappointing NL East at 36-29. That lead will be tested with four against the Braves and four with the Phillies coming up this week however, with both series featuring a doubleheader. Jerad Eickhoff and Jacob deGrom will take the ball in the two games tomorrow.
*illar of the game
Win Probability Added
Big Mets winner: Kevin Pillar, +15.4% WPA
Big Mets loser: Dominic Smith, -14.6% WPA
Mets pitchers: -19.9% WPA
Mets hitters: -30.1% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Pete Alonso hits a solo home run in the 7th, +12.3% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Kyle Schwarber hits his third home run of the game, a two-run shot in the 7th; -13.0% WPA