The Mets lost a close, frustrating game by a score of 3-2 in Los Angeles that marked their fifth straight loss to the Dodgers and their seventh loss in the last eight games. Coming off a couple of nightmarish starts in a row, Carlos Carrasco took the mound for the Mets hoping for a bounce back outing. That aspiration did not seem promising early, as the Mets fell behind immediately on a Trea Turner leadoff double and two productive outs in the first inning. The Mets would have a chance to come right back in the top of the second when they got the first two men on base, but Walker Buehler retired the next three Mets in a row. At that point, the Mets were then 2-for-35 with runners in scoring position in games against the Dodgers this season.
The Mets would not have another chance against Buehler for awhile, as he cruised through the middle innings, at one point retiring twelve Mets hitters in a row. Meanwhile, the Dodgers added two more runs against Carrasco in the third inning to open up a 3-0 lead. After striking out Buehler to lead off the inning, Carrasco allowed a bloop single to Trea Turner. Although neither of the balls Tuner hit were struck particularly well, that does not stop his ability to do damage on the base paths. Max Muncy promptly doubled to score Turner for the Dodgers’ second run. Carrasco then walked Justin Turner and allowed a single to Corey Seager to plate another run for the Dodgers. But Carrasco was able to keep the inning from ballooning and settled in to retire eight in a row with 1-2-3 frames in the fourth and fifth innings. It was the furthest Carrasco had been pushed in a start since coming back from the injured list. He threw 78 pitches over his five innings of work, striking out six batters.
Pete Alonso smacked a line drive solo homer in the fourth inning off Buehler to put the Mets on the board—his 27th home run of the season. But that was the only damage the Mets could manage off Buehler through seven and with the way he was cruising, it seemed possible that he could go the distance for the Dodgers, who had used a lot of relief pitchers in a bullpen game the day before. Meanwhile, the Mets’ bullpen was spotless in relief of Carrasco. Aaron Loup, Trevor May, and Seth Lugo each pitched a 1-2-3 inning, resulting in a streak of 17 Dodgers in a row retired by Mets pitching.
Buehler came back out to the mound for the eighth and immediately allowed a single to Patrick Mazeika to bring the tying run to the plate. Travis Blankenhorn, pinch hitting for the pitcher, struck out swinging for the first out. But Brandon Nimmo hit a perfectly placed slow dribbler up the third base side, which Buehler did well to get to, but had no chance of throwing the speedy Nimmo out at first base. The struggling Jeff McNeil, in a 3-for-36 slump, then strode to the plate. Early in the at-bat, Buehler threw a wild pitch to put the tying run 90 feet away and the go-ahead run in scoring position, giving McNeil a golden opportunity to break out of his slump in a big way. McNeil worked the count full and then was called out on strikes by rookie umpire Nestor Ceja on a ball that was well inside. The frustration McNeil—and really the whole team—had been feeling bubbled over in that moment, as McNeil screamed and tossed his bat aside in anger and continued to seethe in the dugout afterwards.
But on the field, the Mets’ rally wasn’t quite done yet. Pete Alonso, seemingly the only Met not completely lost at the plate right now, was up with second and third and two out. Alonso hit a slow dribbler almost identical to the one Nimmo hit earlier in the inning, which went for an infield hit and scored Mazeika to bring the Mets within a run. That ended Walker Buehler’s day and Alex Vesia was brought in to hold the Dodgers’ now-precarious lead. Much like McNeil, Michael Conforto had a long at-bat, working the count full and then ultimately working out a ten-pitch walk to load the bases for J.D. Davis against a lefty. This is the type of situation where the J.D. Davis of years past would have probably come through, but much like the Mets more broadly, nothing seems to be going right for Davis right now. He could not catch up to the high heat from Vesia, swinging and missing late on two fastballs up in the zone. Vesia then froze him on a 2-2 pitch on the low-inside corner to end the inning and the Mets’ hopes of coming back to win the game. Kenley Jansen retired Dominic Smith, Jonathan Villar, and Patrick Mazeika in order in the ninth, needing just seven pitches to notch his 26th save of the season.
The Mets fall to two games under .500 as they continue to let the Braves pull further and further ahead in the NL East standings. They will try once again to salvage even a single victory in the season series with the Dodgers with former Dodger Rich Hill taking the mound against new Dodger Max Scherzer in the second game of this four-game series in LA.
*illar of the game
Kevin Pillar did not appear in the game and Jonathan Villar went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts, so neither -illar earns the title.
Win Probability Added
Big Mets winner: Pete Alonso, +14.5% WPA
Big Mets loser: J.D. Davis and Dominic Smith (tie), -18.4% WPA
Mets pitchers: -4.2% WPA
Mets hitters: -45.8% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Pete Alonso’s infield hit in the eighth inning that brought the Mets within a run, +8.9% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Max Muncy’s RBI double in the third inning, -11.2% WPA