You can be forgiven for falling asleep during the Mets’ 6-3 loss to the Padres last night. It was a snoozefest between two bad, boring teams that ended at 12:56 in the morning in New York. In fact, it’s difficult to understand or reason why anyone actually stayed awake to watch this game first place, let alone watch it all the way through.
It was pretty much over early for New York, who sent Steven Matz to the mound. Matz was looking to rebound from his struggles in his last few outings, and intuitively, you’d think facing a weak Padres lineup could help alleviate whatever issues he had. But this start was actually a clear step back from his last start against Oakland. Matz found trouble early and often, serving up a two-run dinger to the second batter of the game, Manuel Margot, followed by two more sharp hits in the inning. Matz was able to strand those two runners on base and kept the damage to just the the two runs, but he was not looking sharp.
The Mets answered back in the top of the second off San Diego’s best starting pitcher, Jhoulys Chacin, with one run on an RBI single by Jose Reyes. But that’s all they’d get in the inning, as the Mets left two runners of their own on base.
Matz again found trouble in the third. A leadoff triple by Margot followed up by an RBI double by Wil Myers made it 3-1, but this unforgiving Padres lineup was just getting started. Matz then hit the next batter with a pitch, and two batters later gave up another hit, which loaded with bases for the Padres with only one out. This modern-day Murderer’s Row continued with Allen Cordoba, whom Matz fanned for the second out. But all that did was set the stage for everyone’s favorite slugger, Luis Torrens, to come up with the bases still loaded and two outs. Torrens—who owned a 31 wRC+ and had not hit a home run in 41 games coming into last night’s game—came mere inches from hitting an opposite-field grand slam into the deepest park of the park, but it bounced off the wall. Three runs scored on what would be an RBI triple for Torrens. It was 6-1 San Diego.
Matz was pulled after that inning. He went just three innings, giving up six runs with four strikeouts to a lineup of mostly minor leaguers. Matz hasn’t been getting nearly as many swinging strikes as he used to, and is giving up markedly more contact that he ever has, particularly on pitches out of the zone. There are some serious issues with him right now, and in a season marred by dissapointing pitching performances and injuries, it is downright frightening that Matz could now join the list of pitchers who are total uncertainties going forward. The main knock on Matz in his career has been his health, but the one consistency was that he always performed whenever he was on the field. For the first time, Matz is not performing on the field.
The Mets tried to mount a comeback in the sixth inning against Chacin, loading the bases with only one out. Chacin was pulled there, and was relieved by Buddy Baumann, whom you also totally knew. He got Lucas Duda to line out, but walked Reyes with the bases loaded to let a run in. He was then relieved by Craig Stammen. Yes, that Craig Stammen; he’s still pitching. The former National faced Rene Rivera, who rocketed a one-hopper up the middle that looked destined for left-center field, but the shortstop Cordoba left his feet, snared the hot shot while completely parrallel to the ground, and nailed the slow-footed catcher at first to retire the side and end the threat.
That had been a theme in the game for the Padres, who spent the whole night robbing the Mets of potential hits. It was actually kind of fun to watch a team that can play defense.
That play by Cordova was pretty much the final nail for the Mets. They mustered only one more run in the game on a Wilmer Flores solo shot in the eighth, but otherwise went down without a whimper.
The Mets fell to 47-52, 13.0 games out of the division and 9.0 games out of the second wild card. The trade deadline is four days away.
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The Mets and Padres finish off their four-game series. Chris Flexen makes in major league debut against Luis Perdomo of the Padres. The game is scheduled for 9:10 p.m. ET.
Photo credit: Jake Roth – USA Today Sports