There’s nothing particularly clever to say about tonight’s Mets game. They just went out there and embarrassed themselves against the playoff-bound Red Sox. They were knocked around early and often, and ended up getting swept in the season series after falling 12-5 at Fenway Park. If there is one positive to find from tonight’s defeat, it’s that there’s only ten more games left in this miserable season.
You could pretty much see how things would go tonight two batters into the ballgame, when Kyle Schwarber unloaded on a 2-2 offering from Taijuan Walker and sent it well over the center field wall to give Boston a 1-0 lead. It was Schwarber’s eighth homer against the Mets, and he wasn’t done (more on that later). The Red Sox weren’t done, either, as Xander Bogaerts walked and Rafael Devers singled to put runners on the corners with one out. J.D. Martinez followed up with a line drive single to right-center to make it 2-0, but Alex Verdugo hit into a double play to end the frame.
The Mets got a run back in the second, beginning with a Javier Báez lead-off, four-pitch walk. It was El Mago’s ninth walk in his last twelve games, and extended his on-base streak to 16 games. Jeff McNeil, who got the start against the tough left-hander Chris Sale, dropped a double down the left field line and drove in Báez, who had stolen second earlier in the inning. That was the last time you reasonably felt good that this game would be somewhat competitive.
From there, the Red Sox dominated the Mets. If Walker’s first inning was bad, his second inning was downright nightmarish, as Hunter Renfroe led off with a double and Jose Iglesias walked with one walk. Kiké Hernández followed up with a double down the left field line that got past the diving J.D. Davis to drive in Renfroe. Schwarber, unsatisfied with his measly eight homers against New York, connected on a pitch over his head and launched a three-run bomb deep to right field to give the Red Sox a six-run lead. It was his ninth homer in 10 games against the Mets, and his fifth in ten career at-bats against Walker. With that, 29% of his homers in 2021 (nine out of 31) have come against the Amazins.
That four-run second also closed the book on Walker, who continued his concerning second half. After making the All Star Game, he returned as a shell of the pitcher who owned a 2.66 ERA in the first half, pitching to a 7.74 ERA (49 earned runs in 57.0) since the break. Worse yet, with Schwarber’s two homers, he has now served up 20 home runs in the second half after allowing just six in the first half. Aside from his disastrous outing in Pittsburgh back in July, it was the shortest stint as a Met. A lot of it is due to throwing 151.2 innings after tossing just 67.1 over three years from 2018-2020, but the Mets will need to decide how much they want to trust Walker in 2022 and how to properly build a competitve rotation.
From there, Sale and the Red Sox went into cruise control. Sale, who was making his second start since returning from the COVID-19 IL, was far from sharp in this one, and labored in pretty much every inning, needing 89 pitches to complete five innings of work. The Mets got back-to-back singles from James McCann and Brandon Nimmo in the third, but a Pete Alonso strikeout and Francisco Lindor double play ended the inning without any runs. In the fourth, Báez singled to start the inning, and McNeil singled with two outs, but Kevin Pillar’s fly out once again led to a fruitless frame. The Mets scratched out a run in the fifth thanks to a Lindor single, which drove home McCann, but by then, the game’s outcome was pretty much decided.
On the mound, Trevor Williams relieved Walker, and did not fare all that much better. Martinez led off the third with a double off the Green Monster, and Verdugo followed with a ground rule double over the right field wall. Iglesias then tripled off Pillar’s glove, and Báez’s relay went into the dugout to allow Iglesias to score on the Little League Homer. In the fourth, Schwaber doubled, which was a welcome improvement from his barrage of homers, and Bogaerts singled to get him to third. A Devers double play brought in Boston’s tenth run. Boston add a run in the fifth, as Iglesias grounded out to drive in Renfroe.
Boston went to their closer Matt Barnes in the sixth, looking to get him some work and fix his recent troubles with his curve. It did not go well for the right-hander, as Davis walked and Jonathan Villar singled to put runners on first and second with nobody out. The latter hit snapped an 0-for-14 skid for Villar. Barnes then walked Pillar to load the bases, and was promptly pulled by Alex Cora in favor of Ryan Brasier. He allowed a sacrifice fly to McCann, but Villar, perhaps in an act of mercy on people having to watch this slog of a baseball game, was thrown out at third to end the inning after the run scored.
The rest of the game slowly crawled on. The Red Sox added a run in the sixth, making this only the second game in franchise history where the Mets allowed their opponent to score runs in each of the first six innings. Alonso hit a solo homer in the seventh, giving him 35 on the year and helping contribute to the Dollars For Dingers cause, which was nice of him, at the very least.
Jeurys Familia tossed the first scoreless inning for a Mets pitcher in the seventh, during which Gary, Keith, and Ron brought us the latest edition of Media Guide Musings. If I’m being honest, Media Guide Musings was the most entertaining part of this stinker, which was the team’s tenth consecutive three-and-a-half hour game. The Mets tacked on one final run in the ninth to make it a seven-run loss instead of an eight-run defeat.
The Mets will travel to Wisconsin to play the Brewers, beginning on Friday. Tylor Megill will get the ball against Corbin Burnes. Milwaukee will have the chance to clinch the NL Central crown over the weekend.
*illar of the Game
Neither: Nobody deserves any positive recognition for this one. Both Jonathan Villar and Kevin Pillar had hits, but both also had bad moments in the fields.
Win Probability Added
Big Mets winner: Jeff McNeil, 8.8% WPA
Big Mets loser: Taijuan Walker, -37.7% WPA
Mets pitchers: -43.9% WPA
Mets hitters: -6.1% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Jeff McNeil run-scoring double in the second, 8.9% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Kyle Schwarber three-run homer in second, -10.5% WPA
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