MLB: New York Mets at Chicago Cubs

Game recap September 15: Swept away

Cubs 14, Mets 6 Final

In the bottom of the seventh inning of last night’s shellacking, Phil Evans took the field at third and Matt Reynolds replaced Jose Reyes at short — Reyes had himself replaced Amed Rosario, who left the game in the fifth with a tight hip flexor. As the few hopeful signs of the future began to succumb to the injury bug (just which Greek God have the Wilpons angered, exactly?), and the lineup turned over from exciting prospects to players who had fans and broadcasters alike scrambling for the media guide, it became abundantly clear that the Mets, unsatisfied with ruining the present, were intent on putting a cloud over the future. Robbed of joy, robbed of hope; it must be the Mets.

Jen-Ho Tseng, making his major league debut starting for the Cubs, initially struggled, hitting both Reyes and Dom Smith with pitches, but emerged from the first only surrendering one run. The Mets grabbed another couple of runs in the second, with Reyes driving in Rosario and Brandon Nimmo doubling in Reyes. The teams began trading home runs, with Smith and Travis d’Arnaud hitting back-to-back dingers in the top of the third to put the Mets up again, and Anthony Rizzo answering in the bottom of the frame to close the gap to one run. The Cubs would take the lead for good in the fourth, scoring five runs and knocking Seth Lugo out of the game.

Lugo went three innings, allowing eight runs (seven earned) and striking out four. I wish I could say it only feels like yesterday that we were watching Lugo pitch in the World Baseball Classic, but I can’t. It was an eternity ago, long before this hellish summer that refuses to end and will no doubt become a milestone in Mets fans’ mythology of suffering. Lugo was replaced by Josh Smoker, Jerry Blevins, Paul Sewald, Chris Flexen, and Jeurys Familia out of the pen. (In case anyone was wondering how the Jason Heyward swing reconstruction project was going, it’s going just fine, thanks.)

Rosario would be lifted in the bottom of the fifth with a tight hip flexor. Before replacing him at short, Reyes played a nimble at second base, for what it’s worth. (Nothing. It’s worth nothing.) Rosario had a great series at Wrigley, going 6 for 9 and stealing two bases last night alone. This being the Mets summer of discontent, that meant he was ripe to be struck down by the gods. d’Arnaud twisted his right knee in the same inning. Seemed a fitting cap to the day that it was reported the Mets would be sticking with their strength and conditioning coach.

Tomas Nido got his first major league hit and first run batted in with a ninth inning RBI single. Then he tried to score from second on a ground ball squibbed in front of the plate to end the game. For almost any other team, that would be an unbelievable end to an execrable game. Met fans can believe it all too well.

Tonight, the Mets head to Atlanta, where Rafael Montero (5-9, 5.05) will face Sean Newcomb (2-8, 4.38); first pitch is scheduled for 7:35 p.m.

Photo credit: Kamil Krzaczynski – USA Today Sports

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