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Miscommunication makes a mess

Sloppy play bit the Mets yet again in this series opener in Philadelphia.

MLB: New York Mets at Philadelphia Phillies Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports

The Mets misplayed two popups that had a catch probability of over 95%, which about sums up tonight’s 5-1 loss in this series opener in Philadelphia. The first of these came during the Phillies’ very first at-bat of the game, as Kyle Schwarber hit a pop fly to shallow center field on which Brandon Nimmo got a late start, managed to get to the ball anyway, but then had it clank off his glove as he slid awkwardly to reach it, starting the game off on an ominous note that would set the tone for the rest of the evening. It was Nimmo’s first error since the 2021 season.

Kodai Senga then walked Trea Turner, but bounced back to strike out Nick Castellanos looking on a questionable strike three call. But Bryce Harper then blooped a single to left field to score the first run of the game. Senga issued yet another walk to J.T. Realmuto to load the bases and Bryson Stott hit a sacrifice fly to score Turner and put the Phillies up 2-0. Senga then induced another fly out from Alec Bohm to end the inning, but the Mets found themselves down early again.

It looked like it was going to be one of those outings for Senga, but he actually settled in beautifully after that, throwing the next four innings mostly without incident. He struck out six batters in total over his 5 13 innings of work. The Mets cut the Phillies’ lead in half on a solo homer by Nimmo in the third, but that was all the Mets would manage off Taijuan Walker in six strong innings of work from the former Met, who only allowed three hits in total and struck out five batters while walking only one. In fact, the only other ball hit off Walker with any sort of authority was a double by Pete Alonso to lead off the second inning that clanked off the metal fence over the wall, but did not clear it. However, the Mets failed to capitalize on that opportunity and Walker cruised the rest of the way, save the Nimmo homer.

The sixth inning is when disaster truly struck for the Mets. With one out, Stott laced a clean single to left and promptly stole second base. Bohm then hit a sharp grounder on which Francisco Lindor made a nice diving play to keep it on the infield and keep Stott from scoring, but the Phillies had runners at the corners with one out. With his pitch count rising, Senga was then removed from the game in favor of Josh Walker. Walker did his job, getting the lefty Brandon Marsh to pop up to shallow left field, but Francisco Lindor called off Tommy Pham and then awkwardly tried to bail out at the last moment to let Pham make the catch. But the ball dropped between them, allowing Stott to score on what was the second very costly miscue by the Mets in the game.

Walker bounced back to retire Edmundo Sosa on a fly out to left, but as the rain started to fall, he lost the strike zone and walked Kyle Schwarber. The Mets then brought in righty Jeff Brigham to face Trea Turner, but Turner singled, driving in two runs and extending the Phillies’ lead to 5-1. Four of those five runs were on Senga’s ledger, but only two of them were earned. This loss, ultimately, is on the Mets’ sloppy play in the field.

Gregory Soto struck out the side for the Phillies in the seventh and ironically Brooks Raley pitched a clean bottom of the seventh thanks to an excellent defensive play from Jeff McNeil on which he not only robbed Stott of a hit, but was able to double J.T. Realmuto off first base to end the inning. José Alvarado pitched a 1-2-3 eighth for Philadelphia and then Vinny Nittoli—acquired in trade earlier this month from the Cubs and freshly up from Triple-A in place of Tylor Megill—made his Mets debut and pitched a scoreless eighth, aided in part by a pickoff of Marsh by Francisco Alvarez.

Phillies closer Craig Kimbrel was asked to finish the game for the Phillies in a non-save situation. He walked the leadoff batter Francisco Lindor, who advanced to second on defensive indifference and to third on a balk. But then Kimbrel retired the next two batters on fly outs and struck out Tommy Pham to end the game. Since the Mets swept the Phillies when these two teams last met, the two teams have trended in completely opposite directions and the Mets now stand five games behind the Phillies in the standings.

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Win Probability Added

What’s WPA?

Big Mets winner: Brandon Nimmo, +4.4% WPA
Big Mets loser: Daniel Vogelbach, -10.7% WPA
Mets pitchers: -16.5% WPA
Mets hitters: -33.5% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Brandon Nimmo’s solo homer in the third inning, +9.7% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Trea Turner’s RBI single in the sixth, -9.3% WPA