Last year, Taijuan Walker started a game in Pittsburgh after a 2-game losing streak that went a little nutty early on before coming back to win. Tonight, by the bottom of the fifth, the Mets were down four. Could this be a repeat performance?
Spoiler alert: it was not.
Things did not go the Mets’ way from the start in this game. In just the second at bat, Starling Marte was hit on the hand by a pitch by Mitch Keller and left the game. He was being sent for imaging.
Walker did not look great tonight, but wouldn’t have had a terrible night if not for a foul-pole striking two-run home run off the bat of Rodolfo Castro. The other two Pittsburgh runs came on a second inning sacrifice fly and a fifth inning single to Bryan Reynolds that plated Oneil Cruz.
Walker wound up going five innings, striking out three and walking two. Earlier in the season, a four run deficit would’n’t have seemed like an insurmountable one, but the Mets have been playing like lethargic trash over the last few days, and four runs suddenly seems like double digits.
However, in the seventh inning, Brandon Nimmo hit a two-run home run, scoring [checks notes] James McCann? He got on base? [Checks notes again] He got a hit? What the?
Mychel Givens relieved Walker, and despite putting two men on base, escaped the jam and continued his mini-resurgence. Rookie Bryce Montes de Oca was next in line, and looked strong for his first inning before a combination of a few hits and shotty defense led to two more runs coming in in the bottom of the eighth.
Montes de Oca was relieved by Tommy Hunter, who gave up a towering, literally out of the ballpark, home run on what looked like a lazy swing to Pirates’ phenom Oneil Cruz. It was such an amazing sight to behold that I honestly can’t be mad about it.
The loss marks the third straight game that the Mets have dropped to a very bad team by six runs. As a team with a slim, one game lead as the Braves are about to start play, this is not the way to be playing right now.
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Win Probability Added
Big Mets winner: Absolutely no one. Certainly not me!
Big Mets loser: Pete Alonso, -22.8% WPA
Mets pitchers: -19.8% WPA
Mets hitters: -30.1% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Brandon Nimmo’s home run, 8.2% WPA.
Teh sux0rest play: Rodolfo Castro’s two-run home run, -15.9% WPA