For the first time this season, the Mets needed an emergency spot starter. With Taijuan Walker still days away and the doubleheader on Tuesday throwing a wrench into the Mets’ pitching plans, an opening was created in the rotation for last night’s game. With the team’s lack of minor league pitching depth, the only real option they had for this game against the Diamondbacks was the not-stretched-out Trevor Williams.
Williams had only made two relief appearances so far this season and the most he’d thrown in either outing being 21 pitches in his first appearance in Washington. So Williams was never going to give the Mets length, rendering this a glorified bullpen game, but Williams made the decision to pull him early even easier for Buck Showalter by how he pitched.
Williams faced 13 D-Backs hitters in total and gave up hits to seven of them. He did not strike anybody out. In total, he pitched 2.0 innings and allowed four runs, putting the Mets behind the eight-ball early. The first run scored on a fielder’s choice in the first inning, but four consecutive singles and another fielder’s choice wound up pushing two more runs across for Arizona in the second. Williams actually came out to start the third, and allowed a double to Christian Walker to start the inning, and then was finally removed.
Sean Reid-Foley came on in relief and immediately walked Seth Beer and then allowed a run-scoring double to Pavin Smith to make it 4-0, but he settled in from there. Reid-Foley actually wound up doing solid work in relief, firing 2.2 innings without allowing another run, and only allowing one more hit and one more walk after that.
That gave the Mets offense a chance to get back in the game, which they tried to take advantage of. For the second straight time facing him, the Mets were mostly unable to do much against Humberto Castellanos. They finally go through to him in the fifth, though, when Dom Smith doubled, Jeff McNeil tripled him home, and then Tomás Nido flared one up the middle for an infield single that scored McNeil and cut the Arizona lead to 4-2.
Nido was picked off first on a line drive double play right in front of him, which was the first odd play of the night. It wasn’t the last.
In the bottom half of that inning, Reid-Foley was trying to keep the D-Backs lead to two when he caught a very lucky break. With Seth Beer at first base, Pavin Smith hit a ground ball that beat Pete Alonso at first and got past him, but it hit the runner on the way by. So Beer was out, and Smith was awarded first. Reid-Foley also started limping off the mound on the play, resulting in him getting pulled for Adam Ottavino. Because Ottavino was already warming in the bullpen and might’ve come in anyway, this led to both managers pleading their case to the umpire about how much time Ottavino should get to warm up.
About 5 minutes later, we resumed play. Baseball is truly the best sport. Ottavino got out of the inning.
In the 6th, walks to both Francisco Lindor and Eduardo Escobar put the Mets in a position to potentially tie the game or even take the lead with two outs. Tory Lovullo brought in a left-hander to face the Mets’ DH, Dominic Smith, and with a right-heavy bench including Mark Canha and J.D. Davis, Buck Showalter countered with...nobody. He left the struggling Smith in to take the at bat for himself, and Smith flied out on the first pitch.
There have been about a half-dozen instances early in this season where Showalter let a very unfavorable matchup be as opposed to sending up a pinch hitter with more favorable platoon splits. Given the ease of pinch-hitting someone into the DH spot, a manager with as much experience as Showalter has should know better. This is the easy stuff.
Ottavino stayed on for the 6th and allowed a run, but no further damage. Now down 5-2, the Mets tried to get something going in the top half of the 7th when Robinson Canó singled and moved up to second on a wild pitch. That wound up not mattering when McNeil lined a ball right off Canó’s ankle. It was another runner hit by a batted ball. Canó was out, and McNeil was awarded first. I don’t know the last time that happened twice in a game, but you rarely ever see that twice in a year!
Nido would then reach on an error by the second baseman Ketel Marte on a sure double play ball, and the Mets had the table set just in time for Brandon Nimmo to scorch a ball directly to the shortstop who, this time, turned a double play.
That was the best threat the Mets had for the rest of the night. Mark Canha and J.D. Davis both wound up pinch hitting later in the game, both with nobody on base and in significantly lower-leverage situations than Smith’s at bat in the 6th. Davis made the final out of the game by ripping a ball to third that Sandy Alcantara snared on a dive, and then made a perfect throw to first in one of the better third base plays you’ll see all year.
Of note, Adonis Medina handled the 8th inning and struck out the side and looked like the most effective Mets pitcher of the evening, and Reid-Foley’s injury was described as just “leg cramps.” Stay hydrated, folks.
The Mets lost 5-2 and drop to a still-impressive 11-5, with a chance to win the series tomorrow with Tylor Megill on the mound.
Win Probability Added
Big Mets winner: Tomas Nido, +8.5% WPA
Big Mets loser: Trevor Williams, -24.0% WPA
Mets pitchers: -23.8% WPA
Mets hitters: -26.2% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Jeff McNeil hits an RBI triple in the fifth, +7.0% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Daulton Varsho hits an RBI single in the second, -7.6% WPA