Four poop emojis. Four!
We’ll start with what is the biggest poop emoji in my mind: the one for Justin Verlander. The last time Verlander took the mound, he pitched eight brilliant innings. And we all thought to ourselves, “Yes, this is it. This is the vintage Verlander the Mets signed up for.” Cue Saturday’s game. The Rockies dropped a five spot on Verlander in the second inning and it looked as if he might not even pitch enough innings to take the loss. He did end up gutting through five innings, giving up six runs in total on nine hits. He walked one batter and struck out only two. Verlander did not take the loss because the Mets came from behind yet again to bail him out. But, the bullpen was unable to carry them to victory. Since coming off the injured list, Verlander has oscillated between good outings and poor ones and for the ace of the staff, that simply isn’t good enough—Coors Field or not.
It was Jeff Brigham who was responsible for giving up the go-ahead two-run homer to Ryan McMahon on Saturday, though he did bounce back with a 1-2-3 seventh inning in yesterday’s game. Brigham also stranded his inherited runners by recording the final out of the eighth inning in Tuesday’s loss and tossed a 1-2-3 eighth inning in Wednesday’s close game, so manages to wriggle his way out of the red with three good outings balanced against the one crucial bad one.
Drew Smith is not so lucky, as his performance went from bad to worse this week. Smith followed Brigham on Saturday and gave up two additional runs in the eighth to put the game out of reach for the Mets. He also gave up a solo homer to Nico Hoerner in the sixth inning of Wednesday’s loss, providing the Cubs with a key insurance run in that game.
Before Brigham and Smith let things get away on Saturday, Dominic Leone worked around a hit to pitch a scoreless sixth inning in a tie game. He also struck out the side in the sixth inning of yesterday’s game, capping off a positive week for him. Leone came in to relieve Tylor Megill in the fourth inning of Tuesday’s game and issued a walk to load the bases, but then recorded the final out to avoid further damage and went on to pitch a scoreless fifth inning as well.
Leone needed to come into the game in the fourth inning on Tuesday because that inning blew up on Tylor Megill after a play that would’ve been the final out of the inning was overturned. Megill could not put the inning to bed and another run scored after that and the Cubs were up 6-1 with the fourth inning not yet at an end. The Cubs had already dropped a four spot on Megill in the second, but to be fair to Megill, he was let down quite a bit by his defense and Gary Sánchez’s poor play behind the plate; only four of the six runs he surrendered over his 3 2⁄3 innings of work on Tuesday were earned. Nevertheless, he took the loss and did not redeem himself in his start yesterday, which proceeded in a pretty similar fashion. The defense played poorly behind Megill and he lasted just four innings and only four of the six runs he gave up over that span were earned. Still, he gave up ten hits, which can’t be ignored.
Stephen Nogosek was tasked with middle relief in both of Megill’s starts this week and pitched poorly both times, but especially in yesterday’s game in which he was bombed for five runs on four hits, including two home runs. Nogosek let the game get away from the Mets once more and they almost clawed all the way back a second time, but were unable to complete the comeback and Nogosek was tagged with a much-deserved loss. Nogosek pitched the bulk of long relief in Tuesday’s loss, giving up an additional run on a solo homer off the bat of the red-hot Christopher Morel in 2 2⁄3 innings of work.
After Nogosek’s nightmarish outing yesterday, the bullpen actually held the fort. After Leone and Brigham each notched a scoreless frame, Tommy Hunter recorded the first two outs of the eighth inning, capping off a clean sheet for him this week. Hunter also pitched the final two innings of Thursday’s lopsided victory, striking out two batters and walking one.
Things looked shaky for Carlos Carrasco early on Thursday, as he battled through his usual first-inning woes, giving up a game-tying solo homer to Dansby Swanson in the bottom of the first. But Carrasco held the Cubs to just that one run over 6 2⁄3 strong innings of work and the Mets knocked Kyle Hendricks around in his return from injury to give Carrasco a boatload of run support en route to his first win of the season. Carrasco gave up five hits, struck out four batters, and walked two in the outing.
Carrasco couldn’t quite make it through the seventh on Thursday, as he allowed a two-out single to Yan Gomes that chased him from the game. Adam Ottavino then came in the game tasked with recording the final out of the seventh inning. He walked Nico Hoerner, but then was able to get Dansby Swanson to ground out to end the inning. Ottavino pitched in both Mets victories this week, recording the final two outs of the ninth inning in Friday night’s victory to earn his fifth save of the season, striking out Mike Moustakas to secure the victory.
Brooks Raley started the ninth inning on Friday, but issued two walks while only recording one out and was bailed out by Ottavino and heads up defense by the Mets. But Raley returned the favor to Tommy Hunter, striking out Harold Castro for the final out of the eighth inning after Hunter allowed a two-out double. Raley also pitched a 1-2-3 seventh inning complete with two strikeouts in Wednesday’s loss.
Kodai Senga took the loss on Wednesday for an okay-but-not-great outing in which he allowed three runs on six hits over five innings of work. All three runs came in the third inning, in which Senga coughed up the two-run lead he was given. He struck out six batters in the outing, but also walked five, which is why Senga needed 106 pitches just to get through five innings. Senga’s performance remains inconsistent, but he keeps the Mets in the game more often than he does not. This time he was simply out-dueled by a dominant Marcus Stroman.
The only truly dominant pitching performance for the Mets this week was that of Max Scherzer in Friday’s victory. Scherzer scattered six hits and gave up just one run over seven strong innings of work. He struck out eight batters and walked none in the outing. The only damage off Scherzer came in the form of a solo home run by Ryan McMahon in the second inning and he cruised his way to his fourth victory of the year.
David Robertson came in the game on Thursday in the eight inning in relief of Scherzer to face the top of the Rockies order and allowed a solo homer to Charlie Blackmon to lead off the inning that brought the Rockies within two runs. But Robertson then retired the next three batters in order to preserve the lead and earn his fifth hold of the season. That was Robertson’s only appearance this week.