The Mets (28-32) lost to the Cubs (23-34) by a score of 7-4 on Thursday night at Wrigley Field.
Jacob deGrom got the start for the Mets and figured that, with the run support he had gotten (or lack thereof) in his first few starts, he shouldn’t even bother trying. deGrom had his worst outing to date, allowing 4 runs on 5 hits and 3 walks in just 5 innings.
The Mets had a chance to take an early lead in the top of the 2nd inning, when Eric Campbell walked and Andrew Brown, fresh off the plane from Vegas, was hit by a pitch to start the inning. However, Wilmer Flores‘ hard shot towards Cubs pitcher Travis Wood turned into a “BABIP” double play, and Ruben Tejada struck out to end the threat.
The Cubs got on the board in the bottom of the 2nd. With runners on the corners and 2 outs, Eli Whiteside hit a fairly shallow fly ball to Brown in left. Brown caught it and fired home in an attempt to nail Luis Valbuena at the plate, and the ump called Valbuena out, seemingly ending the inning. However, after video review, it was determined that Valbuena had eluded Travis d’Arnaud‘s tag, putting the Cubs up 1-0 and allowing the inning to continue. The next hitter, the pitcher Wood (who is a very good hitter for a pitcher), hit a shot over the wall in left to make it 3-0 Chicago.
deGrom tried to answer back in the top of the 3rd, hitting a shot of his own out to left-center which fell in the gap and went for a double. However, Chris Young and Curtis Granderson each skied out to left to strand Jacob at 2nd.
The Mets had another chance in the top of the 4th, after Brown reached on a 2-out error and Flores hit one off the wall in left to put runners on 2nd and 3rd, but after Tejada walked to load the bases, TDA flew out to strand the runners.
The Cubs got another run in the bottom of the 4th, when Darwin Barney hit a leadoff double, advanced to 3rd on a grounder, and scored on a grounder by Wood, who picked up his 3rd RBI of the night.
The Mets had yet another opportunity in the top of the 5th, when walks to Young and Grandy put a pair of runners on with 1 out. However, David Wright and Campbell failed to bring the runners home, and the Mets came away empty-handed once again.
New York finally broke through in the top of the 6th. After Brown walked and Wilmer Flores singled, Tejada hit one through the hole on the left side to get the Mets on the board. Travis flew out and Murphy came off the bench and whiffed, but CY blooped a single into center to cut the Cubs’ lead to 4-2.
With the Mets back in the ballgame, Vic Black came in to relieve deGrom and pitch the bottom of the 6th. Black worked around a walk to retire the side without much trouble.
The Mets struck again in the top of the 7th, when Campbell singled and Brown cracked one into the stands in left-center to tie up the ballgame.
Black came back out for the bottom of the 7th and fanned Justin Ruggiano for the first out, but gave up a bomb to Anthony Rizzo with 1 out to put the Cubs back in front, 5-4. Black bounced back and struck out Starlin Castro before departing for Josh Edgin, who struck out Valbuena, but the damage had been done.
The Mets tried to rally in the top of the 8th with 2 outs, as Young walked and Granderson lined one into center for a base hit, but Wright grounded out to 3rd to retire the side.
Jenrry Mejia came in to pitch the bottom of the 8th and promptly struck out Nate Schierholtz for the first out, but gave up a double to Barney, intentionally walked Emilio Bonifacio (who I have always wanted the Mets to acquire) and surrendered a 2-out triple to Junior Lake to make it 7-4 Chicago. The Mets went down 1-2-3 in the top of the 9th to give the Cubs their first sweep of the season.
Yup, we just got swept by the Cubs. I saw that coming after we lost the first game… the Mets love throwing away their momentum by letting lousy teams sweep them. Still, all 3 games were close and the Mets had several opportunities to win each night. They simply have to be better with runners on base, though. They can’t win like this.
deGrom wasn’t very good in this one. While it’s easy to panic and say that the league has “figured him out”, it looked like the problem was just his inability to keep the ball down, which he had been doing very well until this game. Hopefully he’ll bounce back in his next outing.
d’Arnaud has been awful since coming back from the DL. Labeling him a “bust” after only about 4 months in the majors would be absurd, but right now, he is not producing. Some people are calling for him to get sent down for a bit. He needs to play every day, and he needs MLB experience, but I’m not sure which spot— NY or Vegas— is the best place for him to figure things out. We need him to be better than this, though…
Brown has some serious power. He’s not a great hitter (he’s been bounced back and forth between AAA and MLB for a reason), but he can hit it out of the park on any given pitch… which is not something you can say about most of these guys. I think Terry Collins should try batting him 4th and moving Campbell down a bit.
Flores is also hitting the ball well. He can really drive it. Hopefully he slides up in the lineup a bit as well. Ruben has been hot lately too, of course, so if both shortstops keep hitting, Terry has to find a way to get them both in the lineup as often as possible.
The Mets have a huge test coming up as they will head out West to take on the best team in baseball. We need some wins, but it won’t be easy to get them. Let’s see how this goes…
Also, Syndergaard got hurt in his return from the DL today down in AAA. Make it stop, Baseball Gods… The guy we drafted looks like he has some power, though. Until he gets hurt slipping on a banana peel, Michael Conforto should be fun to follow.