MLB: New York Mets at Miami Marlins

Game recap April 16: Get us out of Miami

Marlins 4, Mets 2

The Mets showed flashes of competence, but ultimately just ran out of gas, losing the last three games against Miami; this one culminated in a heartbreaking walk-off surrendered by Addison Reed to Miami rookie JT Riddle, who hit his first major league home run in style. The ending was a particularly bitter blow given that the Mets, never one to give Matt Harvey much run support, had battled back to tie the game in the top of the ninth — the second such rally in as many innings, coming on the heels of consecutive singles by Neil Walker and Yoenis Cespedes to break up seven and two-thirds innings of no hit ball thrown by Marlins starter Dan Straily and a combination of relievers.

Fatigue notwithstanding, the only runs Harvey allowed was an unearned one in the first and an RBI double to Marcel Ozuna in the sixth. Former-batting-champion-slash-gadfly Dee Gordon bunted for a single to lead off for the Marlins, then advanced two bases on an errant pickoff throw. He would later score on a groundout by Christian Yelich. After that, Harvey cruised into the sixth, keeping his fastball low in the zone and hitting his spots, but a leadoff single by Yelich in the sixth culminated in a second run after the Marlins center fielder came around to score on an RBI double by Ozuna. The damage was mitigated by an outstanding relay from Cespedes to Jose Reyes to Travis d’Arnaud, cutting down Marlins first baseman Justin Bour at the plate on the same play.

Games like yesterday make the case for re-legalizing amphetamines in baseball. Everyone dragged, and you couldn’t blame them; it had already been a long road trip for the Mets before they kicked off their weekend in Miami with a sixteen-inning extravaganza.

If there was one sneaking fear that nagged at the back of Mets fans’ minds when the team returned an almost identical roster from last year, it was games like this, where a superlative start by Harvey was wasted with a lineup that couldn’t muster any hits, let alone runs; a quality start like the series finale (one earned run in six innings) simply cannot be wasted. To their credit, yesterday’s lineup moved away from the all-or-nothing, home-run-or-bust mentality that defined the 2016 roster.

In the eighth with two outs, Walker (who also walked three times), singled up the middle off Brad Ziegler, breaking up a no hitter by Straily, Garcia, and Barraclough; this was followed by another single by Cespedes. The rally died when Jay Bruce grounded into the shift.

In the ninth, d’Arnaud reached on a one-out single; former teen idol Wilmer Flores ended his hitless streak against right-handed pitching, driving a single to the right field gap that he stretched into a double when Stanton could not field the ball cleanly. Asdrubal Cabrera then managed a game-tying two run single, and a hitherto punchless lineup looked capable not only of good situational hitting, but, more importantly, they appeared capable of generating runs without hitting the ball over the fence.

In the bottom of the frame, Reed struggled from the start, surrendering a leadoff single before managing to strike out ageless wonder Ichiro Suzuki. Miguel Rojas drove the ball to the wall in left, where Cespedes, Cabrera, and d’Arnaud combined to cut down Ozuna, attempting to score from first, but their brilliant defense only managed to forestall the end for one more at-bat. It was the next batter, rookie Riddle, who took a page out of the Mets’ usual playbook, sending a long drive into the right center field stands, putting the game, series, and (hopefully) Mets to bed.

Photo credit: Steve Mitchell – USA Today Sports

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