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Mets take a swig of Milwaukee’s Best

The Mets struggle as Brewers easily take the first game of the series

New York Mets v Milwaukee Brewers Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images

Having already clinched a playoff spot, the Brewers didn’t have much to play for besides security atop their division. On the precipice of elimination, the Mets didn’t have anything to play for but pride. It should be no surprise, therefore, that the better team won at home.

The Brewers snapped their five-game losing streak with a 5-1 victory Friday night over the Mets, who have now lost eight of their last nine games. A very lengthy but entertaining first inning actually promised much more of a contest, but those hopes were quickly dashed in the later innings.

Brandon Nimmo led off the game with a triple that hit the base of the wall in right-center field, and Francisco Lindor drove him in on a groundout to short to give the Mets an early 1-0 lead. After a Javy Báez strikeout, Pete Alonso looked to ground into the third out of the inning, but a wild throw from shortstop Willy Adames extended the inning, and a Michael Conforto walk extended it even further. Jonathan Villar’s two-out single to right field loaded the bases, though James McCann’s strikeout halted the production to one run in the top of the inning. It was the last bit of offensive competence the Mets would display throughout the game.

Kolten Wong instantly brought the Brewers level with a leadoff home run in the bottom of the first off of Tylor Megill, who had given up twelve home runs in his last six starts entering the game. After an Adames flyout and a Christian Yelich walk, Megill forced what should have been an inning-ending double play off of Avisaíl García’s bat, but a bad Báez throw extended the inning. Megill would strike Omar Narváez out to end the inning.

The Mets completed the second inning with a defensive oddity, starting with Megill giving up back-to-back singles to Eduardo Escobar and Daniel Vogelbach. Lorenzo Cain then sent a high-chopping ground ball to Villar at third base, who immediately stepped on the bag before tossing the ball to Báez for the rare 5-5-4 double play. With Cain running, Báez didn’t try to complete the triple play, though a faster ground ball or a slower runner might have given the Mets the opportunity for their first triple play in seven years. An Eric Lauer ground ball to shortstop forced the third out at second base, and the Mets completed the inning with three groundouts without an out at first.

Adames made stronger contact his second time around in the order, hitting a two-run home run in the bottom of the third to give the Brewers a 3-1 lead. Christian Yelich followed with a home run of his own to left-center field in the very next at-bat. Megill then got three of his next four batters out with an Escobar walk tossed in the middle, but he finished the inning with his team now trailing 4-1.

The Mets hitters did little to support their pitchers throughout. After getting two hits and four runners on base in the first inning, only one Mets batter reached base in the following five innings, Nimmo via a walk in the fifth. Megill left the game after four innings having struck out only two batters while giving up three home runs, continuing his late-season struggles with the long ball.

Brad Hand began the fifth inning by giving up a leadoff triple to Yelich, who scored on a García sacrifice fly to give the Brewers a 5-1 lead. Nimmo cut off Conforto on the play even though Conforto looked to be in a better position to challenge Yelich at the plate, and the two almost collided as Nimmo corralled the ball. It was a rare mental lapse from Nimmo who has otherwise played solidly in center field thus far this year, but was another symptom of sloppy play the Mets have displayed over the past few weeks.

Brewers manager Craig Counsel said that he hoped Lauer would pitch deep into the game to help his strained bullpen, who pitched a heavy load during the team’s recent sweep at the hands of the Cardinals. With nearly 40 pitches thrown in the first inning, Lauer looked as if he wouldn’t fulfill Counsel’s wish, but he settled down quickly and pitched into the seventh inning, though it took him 114 pitches to get there. After allowing a single to Jeff McNeil with two outs in the seventh, Lauer exited the game and handed off to Brent Suter, who got pinch hitter José Peraza to fly out to end the inning.

A bullpen relay of Heath Hembree, Miguel Castro, and Edwin Díaz kept the Brewers scoreless and hitless in the sixth, seventh, and eighth innings, but all the Mets could manage in response was McNeil’s hit in the seventh and a Báez single in the eighth. The Mets bats once again looked punchless, and once Josh Hader came in to finish out the game for the Brewers, completely helpless. The Brewers did what they do, scoring just enough and suffocating their opponents' offense. The Mets also did what they do, which these days isn’t very much.

Both teams will do this all again tonight, with Rich Hill going up against Cy Young hopeful and FIP legend Corbin Burns with a 7:10 start time.

*illar of the game

Jonathan Villar recorded one of the Mets’ four hits and started a rare 5-5-4 double play, a job well done amongst a miserable collection of efforts.

Box scores

ESPN

MLB

Win Probability Added

Fangraphs

What’s WPA?

Big Mets winner: Brandon Nimmo, +7.5% WPA

Big Mets loser: Tylor Megill, -23.1% WPA

Mets pitchers: -24.4% WPA

Mets hitters: -25.6% WPA

Teh aw3s0mest play: Brandon Nimmo’s triple, +8.7% WPA

Teh sux0rest play: Willy Adames’s home run, -16.9% WPA

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