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Smith snakebit, Mets drop series opener

The Mets’ bullpen continues to have issues.

MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks at New York Mets John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

The Mets and the Diamondbacks meet at very different places in their seasons; with the Mets committed to not making the playoffs and the Diamondbacks just barely holding on to the final playoff spot in the National League, this series means a lot more to Arizona than it does to New York. The two teams played a back and forth affair, which ultimately ended with the Mets losing the game 4-3.

Most of the offense happened in the fourth inning. In the top of the frame, the Diamondbacks got to José Quintana. Old friend Tommy Pham led off the inning with a double and, one out later, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. joined him on base via a four-pitch walk that looked a lot like a pitch around by Quintana. It didn’t pay off, as Evan Longorio dumped a single to left to score Pham, and Gurriel scored on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Emmanuel Rivera to put Arizona up 2-0.

Jeff McNeil put the Mets on the board in bottom of the inning with a solo home run to right. Walks to Pete Alonso and DJ Stewart followed before Ronny Mauricio drilled a double that split the outfielders, scoring both runners and, after an errant throw, putting Mauricio on third.

Quintana, having thrown 90 pitches over five innings, exited early, but the combined prowess of Sean Reid-Foley and Brooks Raley kept the Mets in the lead for most of the game. But in the eighth, Tommy Pham hit an oppo dinger to tie the game for Arizona.

Drew Smith pitched the ninth and, for the second appearance in a row, shit the bed. An Alek Thomas single and a Ketel Marte double put the Diamondbacks up 4-3 going into the ninth.

Mauricio led off the ninth against old friend Paul Sewald and drew an uncharacteristic walk. A terrible bunt by Brett Baty somehow worked and got Mauricio to second. A stolen base brought him to third with Daniel Vogelbach at the plate, representing the winning run. Vogelbach got punched out on a questionable up and in strike three, leaving the game in the hands of Omar Narváez.

Narvaez drew a hard-earned walk, and Tim Locastro entered the game as the pinch runner at first base. For reasons that no one can understand, the Diamondbacks played behind Locastro, allowing him to steal second and put the winning run on second base. If you think you’ve heard Gary Cohen and Keith Hernandez frustrated at bad managing before, you owe it to yourself to check out the call from the booth.

It would all be for naught, as Brandon Nimmo hit a pop up to shallow center to end the game. The Mets’ bullpen has now cost them four of their last five games. Woof.

Tomorrow, José Butto will attempt to follow up a good start last week against Ryne Nelson.

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Win Probability Added

Mets vs Diamondbacks WPA Chart, 9/11/23

What’s WPA?

Big Mets winner: Ronny Mauricio, +49.5% WPA
Big Mets loser: Drew Smith, -31.5% WPA
Mets pitchers: -29.8% WPA
Mets hitters: -20.2% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Ronny Mauricio’s two-run double, +27.6% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Ketel Marte’s ninth inning double, -36.1% WPA