The Mets (20-25) lost again to the Dodgers (25-22) by a score of 4-3 on Wednesday night at Citi Field.
Jacob deGrom got the start for the Mets and was pretty good, giving up four hits in 6.0 innings, but unfortunately, three of those hits left the ballpark. The three solo shots allowed by Jacob would ultimately be his undoing. The rookie also struck out four and walked three in his second career start, throwing 96 pitches.
Both deGrom and his counterpart Hyun-jin Ryu cruised through the first inning, with Daniel Murphy‘s soft liner into left the only hit on either side. However, the Dodgers struck early in the second, on a titanic leadoff home run by a red-hot Adrian Gonzalez.
The Mets threatened in the bottom of the third when singles from Juan Lagares and David Wright and a walk by Chris Young loaded the bases with 2 out for Curtis Granderson. During the at-bat, Granderson seemed to get upset with umpire Angel Hernandez, but Angel bought me a cotton candy once while he was working first base during a spring training game about 9 years ago, so I won’t say anything bad about him. Anyway, Granderson struck out swinging on a high fastball to end the scoring opportunity and leave 3 men on base.
DeGrom worked through the next few innings and got a base hit in the bottom of the 5th, his second hit in his first 2 games. deGrom is still the only Mets pitcher who has gotten a hit this season.
Unfortunately, deGrom’s main responsibility is to pitch, and he did a poor job of it in the 6th inning. After striking out Dee Gordon to start the frame, Jacob gave up back-to-back rockets to Yasiel Puig and Hanley Ramirez, both of which left the yard. deGrom recovered to strike out Gonzalez and induce a groundout from Kemp to finish his night.
The Mets got off to a good start in the bottom of the 6th when David Wright ripped a single up the middle for his 2nd hit of the night. The next batter, Chris Young, erased Wright by grounding into a double-play. This would loom large as, after Curtis Granderson singled, Eric Campbell hit his first career home run, a 2-run shot which could have done more damage if not for the DP.
Carlos Torres came in to replace deGrom and pitch the 7th inning, and retired the side in order with some help from David Wright’s glove.
The Mets had another chance in the bottom of the 7th. With 1 out, Juan Lagares laid down a bunt on the first pitch he saw against Brandon League. It was the finest bunt anybody in the village had ever seen, and Lagares easily made it to first. Daniel Murphy grounded into a fielder’s choice to take Juan off the bases, and with Murphy on first and 2 outs, Wright stepped to the plate. The Captain hit a liner to right and Puig chose to dive for hit. The ball fell too quickly for Puig to make the play, but he did manage to get a glove on it and keep it from rolling all the way to the wall for what could have been an inside-the-park home run. Wright ended up with a double, his 3rd hit of the night, to put runners on 2nd and 3rd for Chris Young. CY hit one hard, but right at Justin Turner at 3rd, and the former Met made the throw across the diamond to retire the side.
The Mets Mets’d away the game in the top of the 8th, giving up a huge insurance run as they always do. After Chone Figgins greeted Jeurys Familia (can somebody in the comments give me a definitive pronunciation on his first name?) with a leadoff double and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt from Gordon, Puig walked to put runners on the corners with 1 out for Hanley Ramirez. Ramirez grounded one straight back to Familia on a routine ball which would have been an easy double-play had this not been a Mets game. Familia spun around to throw to second, but hesitated as Wilmer Flores and Daniel Murphy both ran to cover the bag. Flores eventually backed off a bit and Familia finally threw it to Murphy for the first out, but the throw was a bit awkward, and especially given Jeurys’ costly moment of hesitation, there was no way Murphy could turn the double play. Figgins came in to score and make it 4-2 Dodgers. Scott Rice came in to retire Gonzalez and end the inning, but the damage had been done.
Brian Wilson, he of the terrifying beard, came in to pitch the 8th for Los Angeles, and got 2 quick outs against Granderson and Soup. Flores lined one the other way into right for his 3rd hit of the ballgame, but Wilson was able to retire Anthony Recker, and the 2 teams headed into the 9th with LA still up 4-2.
Jenrry Mejia retired the Dodgers in order in the top of the 9th, and the Mets came to the plate for their last licks. The insurance run caused by New York’s 8th-inning blunder would loom large, as Juan Lagares (who is a couple nice hits away from making me write a poem singing his praises) tripled with 1 out and scored on Murphy’s grounder to make it 4-3. David Wright came to the plate as the tying run with the bases empty and 2 outs. Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen struck out David on a 2-2 cutter to end the game and give LA the win.
The Mets have lost 3 games in a row, 6 out of 7, and 14 out of 19 to start the month of May. They are just playing losing baseball, making mental mistakes, giving up insurance runs, leaving men on base, and failing to do the little things all the good teams never have a problem with. After the top of the 6th inning, I was actually planning on writing about how losing on 3 solo home runs made for a relaxing evening, but obviously, when the Mets ended up allowing the game-deciding run in agonizing fashion in the 8th, that went out the window.
Speaking of that run, I kind of saw it coming (I never assume the Mets have turned a double-play until both hitters have been declared “out” by the umpire), but it was maddening nonetheless. From my decent amount of Little League, Middle School, and High School experience, I’m pretty sure the shortstop is supposed to cover the bag on a double-play ball back to the pitcher. So if that’s the case, Murphy made the first mistake. Or maybe the 2nd baseman was supposed to cover, in which case Wilmer screwed up. Either way, there’s definitely a right answer here, and even if I don’t know what it is, a pair of major league middle-infielders should DEFINITELY know exactly what to do in a situation like that, and communicate it to make sure they are on the same page before the pitch is thrown. Familia also was at fault here, in my opinion. In a spot like that, you need the double-play. So if I’m in that spot, I just throw it to the bag and trust that one of the infielders will be there to catch it and make the throw to first. The confusion between Murphy and Flores, paired with Familia’s hesitation, cost the Mets a run, and the game.
Juan Lagares brings so much to the team. I hope to see him in the lineup at least 5 out of every 7 games. Chris Young, on the other hand, is really struggling, and could use a couple days off to get his head right.
Granderson has had a solid May, even though he came up empty in a huge spot early in the game. I’m starting to worry less about him.
David Wright had 3 hits and played some great defense tonight, but of course, everybody is going to talk about how “Wrong” came up empty in the 9th and ended the game. We’re a bit tough on David, aren’t we…
Wilmer Flores had 3 hits tonight and looked pretty smooth in the field up until that fateful ball in the 8th, when his mind got in the way of his play. He still has to learn the position, but he doesn’t look hopeless out there, and he has looked pretty good with the bat, certainly much better than Ruben Tejada. I hope to see Flores get some pretty consistent playing time going forward… I don’t think the Mets have any reason not to give him the starting job for the time being.
deGrom has looked solid these first 2 games, but is 0-2. So is the way of things when you pitch for the Mets. Still, deGrom throws strikes, and that will get him farther than most pitchers seem to realize these days. If Rafael Montero can settle in and throw strikes like his reputation suggests he can, the Mets should have a new pair of intriguing, solid young arms on board going forward, although things might get messy when Dillon Gee comes back (I don’t think the Mets can send Zack Wheeler down, but that is a post for another day). Also, deGrom saw Travis d’Arnaud‘s lower-case “d” and raised him a lower-case “e”, which is gutsy.
Speaking of d’Arnaud, I hope to see him back in the lineup soon. Centeno has been a mess, and while Recker can drive the ball on occasion and has a pretty nice arm (he made a solid throw to nab Hanley at 2nd tonight), I’d rather see the young, star prospect with potential than Recker, at this point. Travis, like Wheeler, has less than a year of MLB experience, so I like to see as much of him as I can on the field.
The Mets had 13 hits and only 3 runs tonight. That’s hard to do. The Dodgers have showed us what a difference it makes having some real sluggers in a lineup; when you’re the Mets and you always need 3 hits in a row to get a run, it’s hard to win games. These Cuban and Japanese “international free agent” guys are good. Puig, Abreu… the next time the Mets have a chance to grab somebody with power, they should pounce on that opportunity.
Let’s hope the Mets can break out of their slide in the 3rd game of this series. We need to get back on a winning streak soon.
By the way, it looks like my number of weekly recaps is going up from 2 to 4, so you’ll probably be seeing more of me around here going forward. I’m also going to bring back the MMO Morning Grind tomorrow, so stay tuned!
Up Next: The Mets will look to salvage the final game of their series with the Dodgers on Thursday night at Citi Field. Jon Niese (2-3, 2.54 ERA) will start for the Mets, while the Dodgers will counter with Zack Greinke (7-1, 2.03 ERA, and a much higher salary than we can afford to spend on an ace).