The 1988 blue and white small bears—not the Mets.
WHAT HAPPENED: BARTOLO STRUGGLES
Putting it bluntly, Bartolo Colón was bad in his second start following the All-Star Break. In four and a third innings on Wednesday, Colón surrendered six runs on eight hits, striking out one and walking two. The 43-year old seemed to never really find his groove, and that was made worse when considering how the Mets fared against Kyle Hendricks offensively. Not only was it uncharacteristic of him (or any starting pitcher, really) to throw 33 pitches in the first inning, but he missed the zone on half of them. After surrendering an infield hit to Kris Bryant, Colón walked Willson Contreras and Jason Heyward before Addison Russell plated two on a liner to left. The whole inning Colón was either wild or looked to be attempting to be too fine with his pitches.
Following the first inning, however, he didn’t nibble quite as much and attacked the zone. That being said, the Cubs didn’t really falter once he did. Anthony Rizzo absolutely tattooed two baseballs that Colón left over the heart of the plate, and hits Bryant, Contreras, Russell, and Javier Báez all recorded hits. Essentially, this was one of the worst starts Colón has had this season, but the Cubs do have one of the best lineups in baseball. So, in a way, struggling against them sort of comes with the territory. Sure, the Mets need Colón to finish the season strong, especially with the injury to Matt Harvey, but the Cubs hitting him shouldn’t raise significant warning flags.
WHAT HAPPENED: KYLE HENDRICKS IS GOOD, METS IN SCORING POSITION ARE BAD
It’s about that simple, to be honest. The Mets ran into a good pitcher doing good pitcher things, though they were able to tag seven hits against him. Two of the hits were for extra bases (one by Travis d’Arnaud and one by Michael Conforto); however, the whole ‘not scoring people in scoring position’ dilemma reared its ugly head.
The Mets were poised to strike in the second inning with runners at the corners and one out—but then Juan Lagares grounded into a double play. Three singles in the fourth had James Loney rounding third looking to put the Mets on the board—but then Jason Heyward threw a ball 99 mph home to nab him at the plate. A d’Arnaud walk followed by a Kelly Johnson single put runners at first and second with no outs—but then Baez made a stellar play on a Lagares pop up in foul territory, and Conforto followed that up by grounding into a double play. The opportunities were there all game long, the Mets just simply couldn’t cash in. There were too many ‘but thens.’
You always hear of fans saying their teams struggle with RISP, but here is the thing: The Mets really, really do. This isn’t a ‘the sky is falling’ chicken little moment. It’s bad. Coming into today, the Mets were batting .207/.287/.330 in 755 plate appearances and have managed to strike out in nearly a quarter of the chances they have gotten. Again: it’s bad. At least Wilmer Flores was there (who thought those words would be a real thing coming into this season?) to homer and prevent the shutout, continuing his July tear.
WHAT HAPPENED: YESTERDAY
There were positives, believe it or not. Kelly Johnson went 4-4 (all singles) and has continued to look good during his time spent in a Mets uniform. Taking over for Colón, the bullpen—comprised yesterday of Antonio Bastardo, Erik Goeddel, and Addison Reed—looked good in three and two-thirds innings of work. Ultimately, however, Colón’s struggles against a strong Cubs lineup and the Mets continued trouble with runners in scoring position resulted in a loss of the series’ rubber match.
WHAT HAPPENS: TODAY
The Mets have a travel-day as they head to Miami for three games in order to finish off their first road trip of the second half. They’ve gone 3-3 thus far, so a series win would also mean a successful road trip.
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