It’s rare that the Mets get swept and evoke a different mode of feeling from each loss. Tuesday they just bored you to death. Wednesday just made you mad because they kicked the ball around the yard. And Thursday they ripped your heart out and showed it to you. Because Thursday was the game that looked like it could have been, and should have been a victory.
They got down 3-0 early in large part because Joey Lucchesi walked the opposing pitcher, But Pete Alonso got two runs back with another laser beam headed to Waveland Ave. (we might have to grow some ivy when we get back), and then a kid from Guam came in and threw three scoreless innings to give the Mets and their fans a really good feeling about this game. (Yes, Sean Reid-Foley is from Guam, and we got him in the Steven Matz trade.)
J.D. Davis came on to pinch hit for Reid-Foley in the 7th after getting a day off, possibly, to clear his head. He crushed an RBI double to tie the game at 3-3, and now you really felt this was ours, and that everything would be okay. The bottom of the 7th happened without incident, and then after a leadoff triple in the eighth by old friend Jake Marisnick, Aaron Loup got a pop-up and a huge strikeout of Ian Happ before Miguel Castro came in to strike out Willson Contreras.
Edwin Diaz came in for the bottom of the 9th to face the middle of the Cubs order, and it was the right move. Rojas could have left Castro in, but Rojas wanted his best reliever in the game against the Cubs best. With the 10th inning bringing the extra runners, I was willing to take my chance with that move. It paid off as only Bryant singled, and he was thrown out at second base by James McCann to end the inning.
The top of the 10th showed you exactly what is ailing the Mets. Dan Winkler comes in, immediately throws a wild pitch (and this wasn’t a wild pitch in name only, this pitch was truly wild) to send designated runner Kevin Pillar to second. Jeff McNeil, who was pinch hitting, struck out at a pitch by his eyes, which would turn out to be a gut punch. Luis Guillorme, who batted leadoff tonight, gave his typical tough at-bat and drew a walk, as did Francisco Lindor, to set up Dom Smith with the bases loaded and one out.
But Smith grounded hard into a 4-6-3 double play, and at that point you knew the Mets were cooked. I don’t have stats on this, but it seems as if the road teams win a lot of games in extra innings with the extra runner as they have the advantage of having a runner on second with the game tied, while the home teams more often than not have to bat in the 10th while behind. That’s totally unscientific data, but on those rare occasions when the road team doesn’t score, the home team has a huge advantage.
The Cubs took advantage as Edwin Diaz was asked to work a second inning. Again, the right move as it was either Diaz for a second inning, or Jeurys Familia, Jacob Barnes, Robert Gsellman or whoever else was lying around with Castro and Trevor May having already been used. Besides sticking with Diaz, I probably would have rather seen Jeff Innis, Don Aase, or Tim Burke take the mound rather than anybody the Mets had left. But Diaz hit Matt Duffy to start the inning, and after a sac bunt and an intentional walk, Jason Heyward singled to the right side to end it. I’m not getting on Diaz because any pitcher who has to navigate that extra inning rule deserves hazard pay. The Mets had to get themselves a hit with runners in scoring position, and as it’s happened too often over the last ten months, they didn’t get it done.
For the Mets to lose a game where they got unreal performances out of the bullpen from Aaron Loup and the kid from Guam, it just feels empty. No rage, no hand wringing, just nothing. Now it’s up to Jacob deGrom to steer this tugboat back in the right direction.
Today’s Hate List
- It’s the damn Go Cubs Go song.
- I don’t hate the song itself.
- But I hate that it’s so damn catchy.
- This team not only sweeps you …
- … but it forces you to sing along to their victory song through mind control.