Baseball is largely a beautiful game.
The crack of the bat is up there with the best sounds in sports. The chess match between the pitcher and hitter. The tension that hangs on each pitch. It can be wonderful.
However, sometimes it is ugly and the games can be, frankly, a bit of a mess. The Mets and Marlins played one of those on Tuesday night, with the NL East rivals combining for six errors and seven unearned runs, all while a giant piece of Cinnamon Toast Crunch called balls and strikes for the first inning or so.
It got a little weird down at
Marlins loanDepot Park.
The first inning was rather ho hum. Jonathan Villar worked a lead off walk off of Edward Cabrera, and Francisco Lindor replaced him at first by way of a fielder’s choice. Pete Alonso strode to the plate, and, after fouling off a few fastballs, absolutely demolished one 425 feet to put the Mets ahead 2-0. That was also his 100th home run of his career, which 1) is an incredible feat in and of itself, 2) second fastest in MLB history to 100 homers behind another slugging first baseman in Ryan Howard, and 3) super cool.
The bottom of the first went in a similar way for Carlos Carrasco, meaning he struggled. He surrendered a cheap infield single to Jazz Chisholm to lead off the inning. Bryan De La Cruz smoked a single that saw Chisholm scamper to third base with no out. Jesus Sanchez quickly cut the Mets’ lead in half with an RBI single. He got out of it after that, surrendering roughly a 600 ft. flyout to former Mets legend Joe Panik, and getting Isan Diaz to ground out to Javier Báez.
The Mets went down in order in the second (on three ground outs. no less!), and Carrasco took the mound for his second inning of work. He got noted US Olympian Eddy Alvarez to ground out, but Lindor booted the most routine of routine ground balls to allow Alvarez to reach base. With the opposing pitcher up and no outs, the Mets played for the bunt — which would be a mistake. Cabrera turned on an inside fastball and legitimately smoked a double down the left field line, tying the game at two. Carrasco got out of it and we went to the third inning, which proved to be meltdown hour for the rookie Cabrera.
After striking out Carrasco, Cabrera simply could not find the strike zone. He issued back to back to back walks to Villar, Lindor and Alonso. He did not settle down after that, hitting Michael Conforto with a pinch to make it 3-2, and then following that up by hitting Báez with a pinch to make it 4-2. It was a disaster for him, though that will likely not be the story of his young career.
Zach Thompson came in to relieve him, and got Jeff McNeil and Kevin Pillar to end the threat.
The Marlins, who never seem to make it easy for the Mets, got right back into it in the bottom of the third. Lewis Brinson singled to lead off the frame, and Carrasco got one away by getting Panik to fly out. The inning was just beginning, though. Jorge Alfaro chopped a ball to Villar, who threw a short hop and completely confounded Alonso at first base (it was called a throwing error, but personally I found Alonso equally at fault. He played it poorly). The ball skipped by him, allowing Alfaro to reach. The always arguing Don Mattingly came out to argue something or another and asked for a review — we as fans never know what the umpires and coaches want to review because Major League Baseball refuses to mic up umpires — and it turns out that when the ball skipped by Alonso it went out of play, allowing Alfaro to go to second.
After all that, Carrasco allowed a sacrifice fly to Diaz and a RBI double to noted Mets killer Eddy Alvarez (before this game: .294/.368/.353 line against the Mets, .189/.268/.216 for his career) to tie it yet again, this time at four apiece.
The fourth and fifth innings went by like a breeze. Carrasco settled down for his final two innings of his outing, and Paul Campbell threw two great innings in relief for Miami, making it 4-4 in the sixth inning, which is where our beloved Metropolitans took permanent control of the game.
The Marlins, who left Campbell in one inning too long, paid the price almost immediately. McNeil knocked a lead off single, though Pillar followed it up with a ground out. Mazeika reached on a bad throwing error by Panik. Panik, playing his literal ninth game at first base due to Jesus Aguilar being a late scratch, had trouble flipping the ball to the pitcher on a grounder to first and nearly threw it away. Zach Pop came in to relieve Campbell and immediately walked a pinch hitting Dominic Smith. Villar hit a routine double play ball to Chisholm who booted it, allowing everyone to reach base, and the Mets to take a 5-4 lead. Lindor kept the line moving with a nice little piece of hitting, taking an outside sinker the opposite way for a two run single, pushing the lead to 7-4.
The bullpen started an excellent stretch from the sixth inning on, starting with a perfect inning from Aaron Loup. The Mets went in order in the seventh, and Trevor May worked around two singles to keep the score 7-4. Pillar reached on another error by Chisholm, who took a hard hit grounder directly off his throwing hand (he stayed in the game, which was nice to see). A pinch hitting J.D. Davis capitalized on it, smoking an opposite field double to make it 8-4. New friend Brad Hand came in for the eighth, and worked around a single and a walk to keep the score the same.
Pete Alonso put the topper on the game with his second 400ft. dinger of the night, his 101st of his young career, pushing the lead to 9-4, the eventual final score. Miguel Castro came in and tossed a perfect ninth to get the Mets back in the win column after a, in a word, frustrating loss on Monday afternoon.
-illar of the day
This was an odd -illar day. They went a combined 0-7 and Villar had an error, but I actually think Villar deserves it. Hear me out.
Villar worked two walks, scoring a run in the process. While he had an error, I thought Alonso played it really poorly. He also made a beautiful diving play later in the game. Pillar only reached on an error, though he did make two good plays in center. Villar by a small margin.
Win Probability Added
Big Mets winner: Pete Alonso, +20.2% WPA
Big Mets loser: Carlos Carrasco, -19.5% WPA
Mets pitchers: -6.8% WPA
Mets hitters: +56.8% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Pete Alonso’s two run home run, +18.2% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Edward Cabrera’s RBI double, -14.2% WPA