Wednesday night’s Mets-Cardinals game started off horribly and more or less remained in that particular zone of hopelessness and resignation to the bitter end, leaving just enough of a chance throughout for you to talk yourself into watching the entirety of the 11-4 contest. Sticking until the end was bad, but in some ways the only thing worse was not.
As I said before, this game was essentially over before most fans were even in their seats for the bottom half of the first inning. In his first inning of work, Tylor Megill faced all nine members of the Cardinals lineup, only barring two men from reaching base. Yadier Molina grounded into a double play, and Jon Lester struck out to end the inning. In between the evening’s first pitch and the last to go past Lester, five men recorded hits, two walked, and five scored.
If a blow-by-blow is your bag, Tommy Edman walked on four pitches to start the game and made his way home along with Paul Goldschmidt after consecutive doubles from Goldschmidt and Tyler O’Neill. Nolan Arenado walked but was erased on Molina’s GIDP. Dylan Carlson singled to drive in a run and was followed by the same from Edmundo Sosa and Harrison Bader, the latter bringing two more runs home. Jon Lester struck out, and that’s how you turn a 0-0 contest into a 5-0 affair in nine easy steps.
To his credit, Tylor Megill had fairly calm and easy innings in the second and third, with an Arenado single being the only blemish. Fortunately, the Mets weren’t nearly as quiet over that span. Wearing Roberto Clemente’s number 21, Pete Alonso homered to start the second inning, his 33rd of the season, but three outs immediately followed. Starting the third half as well, Jeff McNeil doubled, but much like the inning before, the next two hitters were quickly dispatched. Now, it almost definitely should’ve been the next three hitters, but Noted Umpire Abuser Edmundo Sosa flubbed Francisco Lindor’s grounder, sending McNeil home, but no further flubs found their way onto the diamond and the game remained 5-2 through three.
If the first inning was the beginning of the end for Megill’s day, the fourth can only be known as the end of the end. The first ball of the inning put in play was more in the stands than anything else as Harrison Bader homered sending the Cardinals back up by an additional run. Things somehow got worse from there as the shambling remains of Jon Lester doubled and moved to third on a throwing error from Javier Báez on Tommy Edman’s single. At that moment, Tylor Megill’s night was complete. Pitching 3+ innings, nine Cardinals recorded hits, two walked, three struck out, and six scored on Megill’s watch. Miguel Castro entered as the first of six relievers the Mets used, and to his credit, he was the best of the bunch. Castro ended the messy fourth and breezed through the fifth in perfect fashion, while the Mets went scoreless, but not quietly in the same timeframe.
The offense of the Cardinals will get most of the attention, and rightfully so, but the defense and pitching of the Red Birds shouldn’t be totally overlooked. Beyond Jon Lester’s six innings of quality baseball, they made multiple impressive catches, keeping the game as distant as it was for all nine frames. To end the fifth inning with two men in scoring position, Harrison Bader tracked Javier Báez’s deep fly to center, leaping and coming down with it, saving the 6-2 contest from becoming a 6-5 one. Somehow, that wasn’t even the most impressive of the Cardinals’ outfield snags. With two men on in the seventh inning and the Mets down by four, Pete Alonso hit what was almost certainly going to be a home run towards The Area Formerly Known As The Mo Zone before the spry glove of IKEA-nightstand-turned-outfielder Lars Nootbaar cut it off in mid-air, ending the inning and yet again preventing the Mets from making this a one-run game.
Beyond those two flashes of what could’ve been, the Mets only scored twice more after the error of the third inning. Kevin Pillar homered in the sixth, his 15th of the year, and Jeff McNeil came home on a single from the returning Jose Peraza after hitting a triple, his third leg of the cycle during this game.
The Cardinals’ final innings of the game were much less tranquil than the robbed and muted Mets offense. Following Castro’s two perfect innings and one from Brad Hand, St. Louis scored five runs against Seth Lugo and Heath Hembree in the seventh and eighth innings with solo home runs from Nolan Arenado, Paul Goldschmidt, and Edmundo Sosa being the extravagant runs and run-scoring singles from the familiar Arenado and Goldschmidt bringing home the final two of the 11 runs scored for the Cardinals.
Of course, the Mets eked out a few hits in their final two innings, four to be exact, but by that point it was too late, too improbable, and like most things this season, sparking just enough doubt in your mind to leave you angry and tired after another failure you should’ve seen coming.
*illar of the game
Kevin Pillar recorded two hits, one of them being a home run and drove in one quarter of the team’s runs. Jonathan Villar got one hit but it wasn’t a home run and he didn’t drive anyone home, so this crown goes to P.
Win Probability Added
Big Mets winner: Miguel Castro, +7.6% WPA
Big Mets loser: Tylor Megill, -45.4% WPA
Mets pitchers: -45.4% WPA
Mets hitters: -4.6% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Francisco Lindor reaching on an error in the third inning, +6.0% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Harrison Bader’s two-run single in the first inning, -10.8% WPA