In a match up of ace pitchers, the Mets came up incredibly short, dropping Game 1 of the Wild Card series to the Padres, 7-1.
Max Scherzer started the game, and it was clear early on that Scherzer wasn’t at his best. He was topping out at 95 mph on his four-seam fastball, and seemed to be a little stiffer in his delivery than you’d like to see. His cause wasn’t helped when home plate umpire Adrian Johnson’s strike zone was inconsistent at best. Scherzer left a fastball over the plate to Josh Bell, who socked a two-run home run to left center field, putting the Padres up 2-0 before the Mets came to bat.
Baserunners came pretty easily in the first inning for the Mets. Francisco Lindor was hit on his back foot by a Yu Darvish pitch for the Mets’ first baserunner. He promptly stole second base, and advanced to third on a Jeff McNeil single.
But the Mets couldn’t capitalize on the baserunners, with Pete Alonso looking at a middle-middle cutter for strike three and Daniel Vogelbach hitting a fly ball that died on the warning track.
In the second, Scherzer got tagged by another home run from a struggling hitter, when Trent Grisham hit a ball into the right-field jet stream for a solo shot.
The Mets again had a runner on third with less than two outs when Starling Marte hit a ball up the middle in his first at-bat off the IL. Marte then stole second and third, but did not cross home plate.
The scoring would resume in the fifth inning, when an opposite field flick off the bat of Ha-Seong Kim started the parade of bad luck. A ground rule double from Austin Nola put two men on with one out. Jurickson Profar hit the foul pole with a three-run shot. Two batters later, Manny Machado hit a laser beam to left field to put the Padres up 7-0 and knock Max out of the game.
Despite Darvish being a little wild early on in the game, he really settled down after the second inning. In the fifth, Eduardo Escobar, batting in the eight hole for some reason, drilled a home run to left-center to get the Mets on the board. Two batters later, Brandon Nimmo hit a ball down the first base line that he legged out into a two-out triple, but he was stranded on third when Lindor popped a ball up on the left-hand side.
Without a long man on the roster, the Mets wound up burning Trevor May, Seth Lugo, David Peterson, and Mychel Givens in relief, though the bullpen arms did their jobs. Collectively, they allowed one hit and two walks, striking out seven in relief.
In the ninth, Vogelbach swung at the first pitch and popped it up to third base. Marte hit one up the middle, right off the glove of Luis Garcia for his second hit of the night. A walk to Escobar put two on for pinch hitter Francisco Álvarez. Álavarez watched strike three cross the plate to end the game.
The Mets will presumably start Jacob deGrom tomorrow to stave off elimination. The Padres will have left Blake Snell on the mound.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big winner: None
Big loser: Max Scherzer, -30.8% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: -30.1% WPA
Total batter WPA: -19.9% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Jeff McNeil’s first inning single, +5.3% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Josh Bell’s two-run home run in the first inning, -20.5% WPA