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Bad start, missed opportunities sink Mets after Rodón dominates early on

There were no good vibes on Wednesday night after Tuesday’s doubleheader sweep.

MLB: San Francisco Giants at New York Mets Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

On 4/20, the Mets did not experience the highs they had the previous day, when they swept a doubleheader from the Giants and earned their eighth and ninth wins of the season. Instead, the team was smoked by San Francisco, falling 5-2 as they saw their three-game winning streak lit up and turned to ash.

Things got off to an inauspicious start from the jump as Chris Bassitt got into immediate trouble in the first. Mike Yastrzemski blooped a ball to left that fell in right in front of the diving Mark Canha, who was playing in his first game after returning from the COVID-19 list. Francisco Lindor saved a hit when he ran down a Brandon Belt pop up to the vacated left side of the infield, which prevented a much worse inning for New York. Things deteriorated from there, as Darin Ruf walked and Joc Pederson took a hanging breaking ball and roped it into right for a run-scoring double. Brandon Crawford and Wilmer Flores followed with matching run-scoring singles. Bassitt was able to avoid any further damage in the inning, but the Mets took their first at-bats down by three runs.

Bassitt retired the first two batters of the second, but birthday boy Belt blasted one into the Coca Cola Corner to give San Francisco a 4-0 lead. It was his first career hit on his birthday after going hitless in his previous 18 tries. San Francisco added a run in the fourth on a Yastrzemski run-scoring double, which brought home Steven Duggar, who had led off the inning with a single. That put New York in a five-run hole, which was far too deep for them to climb out of.

Truth be told, this one was over in the first, as the three runs were too much for the Mets to overcome on this Wednesday evening. The Mets had their first scoring chance in the second with an Eduardo Escobar one-out double, but Canha flew out to right and J.D. Davis struck out to end the threat. Their next best chance came in the fourth, when Pete Alonso singled with one out and Escobar followed with a walk, but Canha and Davis struck out on six straight fastballs to conclude the inning.

A lot of that credit goes to the red-hot Rodón, who was chasing a bit of history in this one. The right-hander, who entered with 21 strikeouts over his first two starts, was trying to match Christy Matthewson for most strikeouts by a Giants starter through the first three games of the season. Matthewson recorded 30 K’s over his first three starts in 1908, and with Rodón’s eight strikeouts on the evening, he fell just short of that mark with 29 over his three outings. It was still an impressive display, especially considering that Rodón relied almost exclusively on his fastball with his two breaking pitches not working for him.

Like Megill before him, Bassitt was was able to settle down after a sluggish start and, at the very least, ate up some innings in the middle of this one to spare the club’s bullpen, which got a lot of work in during the doubleheader. After allowing the fourth inning run, he ended that frame with a strikeout and then followed that by striking out the side in the fifth. He concluded with a perfect sixth inning to end his evening with 97 pitches. With the five earned runs, his ERA jumped from 0.75 to an even 3.00.

John Brebbia came in to relieve Rodón in the sixth and worked around a one-out single from Alonso to pitch a scoreless frame. He came back out in the seventh and retired Davis on a hard liner to left, but he followed that by issuing a walk to Luis Guillorme. After striking out the scuffling James McCann, Brandon Nimmo picked up his second single of the evening, which prompted Gabe Kapler to call upon Connecticut native Dominic Leone. Starling Marte finally broke through and ended an 0-for-10 stretch with a bloop single over the second baseman’s head to end the shutout and get New York on the board. However, an ill-advised steal attempt resulted in Marte getting thrown out to end the inning and prematurely cut short the club’s comeback attempt.

The Mets got back to work against Tyler Rogers in the eighth as they scratched another run across on San Francisco’s dominant bullpen. After Lindor lined up to begin the inning, Alonso and Escobar hit back-to-back singles, and Canha singled Alonso home. From there, Robinson Canó pinch hit and softly grounded a ball to the right side of the infield to advance the runners. Dominic Smith was next off the bench and lined a shot to third base, where Wilmer Flores leaped and made a spectacular catch to save two runs against his old team.

After Sean Reid-Foley pitched his second straight scoreless inning in the top half of the ninth, the Mets were tasked with facing Jake McGee in the bottom half of the frame. The inning began with the left-hander walking James McCann. After Nimmo flew out to right for the first out, Marte hit into what appeared to be a game-ending double play, but a replay review led to an overturned call. With new life, Lindor came to the plate and struck out to end the game.

With the loss, the Mets fell to 9-4 on the season, though they maintained their hold on first place in the division. They will go for the series win tomorrow afternoon at 1:10 p.m., with Carlos Carrasco opposing Anthony DeSclafani.

Box scores

MLB
ESPN

Win Probability Added

Fangraphs.com

What’s WPA?

Big Mets winner: Eduardo Escobar, 6.7% WPA
Big Mets loser: Chris Bassitt, -31.2% WPA
Mets pitchers: -31.2% WPA
Mets hitters: -18.8% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Joc Pederson run-scoring double in the first, -15.6% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Mark Canha run-scoring single in the eighth, 6.0% WPA

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