MLB: San Diego Padres at New York Mets

Game Recap May 25: The Tears, They Fall Like Rain

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On Wednesday night, the news that late waiver-bait acquisition Tommy Milone hit the “it’s literally a 10-day” disabled list signaled that preseason number-eight starter Rafael Montero would likely start Saturday’s game at Pittsburgh. That Montero would pitch on the road had nothing to do with the purported “hostile environment” which led the Mets to start Matt Harvey in Milwaukee instead of at Citi Field. Saturday would just be the next time the team had a hole in the rotation.  Then it drizzled. Hoping not to waste a Jacob deGrom start if the weather turned worse, the Mets pushed deGrom back to Friday, forcing Montero to the mound against the Padres.

In other news, the Mets demoted Kevin Plawecki and activated Asdrubal Cabrera from the DL before the game. But the medical staff and front office, concerned about preventing injuries so they don’t have to prevaricate about players’ health, made sure Cabrera didn’t start. After all, the team didn’t want him to slip on wet dirt with his… thumb injury? Better to dump a glorified punching bag on the mound and play at less than full strength because skin contact with dihydrogen oxide can be deadly.


Those hoping to see Montero make the leap last night, against all odds, were disappointed. Immediately. Three walks and two singles in the first inning produced a chorus of boos by the few dedicated Mets fans optimistic enough to attend a Montero start, in the rain, against the Padres, on a Thursday. The 45 pitches Montero threw in the first inning were the most thrown by a Mets starting pitcher in a single inning since Jon Niese once threw 48. When the best broadcast crew in baseball compares a current Met to the least-liked player to come through Flushing this decade, it’s a bad sign.

In the third inning, Michael Conforto lost a Hunter Renfroe leadoff popup to left in the fog. Or the mist. Or the angst. The Padres then bunted with their number five hitter(!) to move Renfroe to third. Austin Hedges lined a bullet toward right field, but Lucas Duda’s cat-like reflexes snared the ball for the second out. Montero wasn’t up to the task of retiring Matt Szcur, though; he grounded a ball through the 5.5 hole for the Padres’ third run. Montero was able to coax a grounder to third for the last out. That got Montero through three innings with an efficient — for him — 87 pitches. Mercifully, that was the end of Montero’s night.

Paul Sewald relieved Montero and acquitted himself well. The career minor-league relief pitcher gave the Mets three innings, striking out four, walking one, and allowing just one hit. That brings his season line to a 2.08 ERA over 17.1 innings. Gary and Ron were eager to award Sewald a spot start the next time it rains.

Dinelson Lamet was brilliant in his major league debut: 5 IP, 3 H, ER, 2 BB, 8 SO. 91 pitches, 61 strikes, including three strikeouts of Michael Conforto. The Mets offense early was a Lucas Duda second inning line drive over the right field fence. Matt Reynolds got himself thrown out at home in the third trying to score all the way from first base on a Jose Reyes double. The first two Mets reached base in the fifth on some awful Padres defense, but Sewald couldn’t get a bunt down, then Conforto struck out and Reyes popped to left to leave both runners on. The Mets also got the first two runners on in the sixth and couldn’t score then, either.

In the eighth inning, the Padres brought in their deposed closer Brandon Maurer, who promptly gave up a leadoff double to Neil Walker and an RBI single to Duda. That’s all the Mets could muster. Wilmer Flores swung at the first pitch he saw and popped to center. Pinch hitter Asdrubal Cabrera swung at the second pitch he saw, grounding into a 4-6-3 double play to end the threat. Three hits in the ninth scored one run, but they couldn’t tie it up.

The Mets just lost two out of three to the worst team in baseball, a team that’s so disinterested in winning this season that they’re carrying three Rule 5 draft picks.  Going 3-3 on a homestand against the Padres and Angels won’t cut it. At this rate, fans may soon stop caring that the team can’t seem to rid itself of Rafael Montero and his 8.24 ERA.

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Sometimes these games go pretty quickly… we’re knocking on wood. — Ron

Forty pitches deep in this opening inning for Montero, on a night when Terry said maybe he can throw 75 or 80 for the night. He didn’t mean in the first inning. — Gary

Shouldn’t a guy named “Lamet” be pitching for the other team? — Gary, who probably planned that line as soon as the Padres announced the starting pitcher


The tradeoff for last night’s predictably painful Montero start is tonight’s appearance by deGrom, owner of the eighth-best pitching WARP in baseball. He faces Chad Kuhl, who has a 5.85 ERA on the year but held the Phillies to no runs on one hit over five innings his last time out.

Photo Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

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