It was…not the Mets
WHAT HAPPENED, ONE MISTAKE:
Sunday was one of those typical Jacob deGrom starts. He did about everything he could to put the Mets in a position to win, but it just didn’t happen when everything was said and done. After opening the action with five strikeouts in two innings, deGrom ran into trouble. Jose Lobaton kicked off the third inning with a liner up the middle before Max Scherzer traded places with him on a bunt-turned fielders’ choice. It wouldn’t matter who was on first, though, as the next man to the plate, Trea Turner, planted a ball in the left field seats to give the Nats a 2-1 lead.
A quick fourth was followed by an inning of unfortunate breaks, led off with a Michael A. Taylor swinging bunt down the third-base line. Two pitches later, Taylor broke for second, which turned into an even better decision once the Travis d’Arnaud-throw found its way into shallow centerfield. Now with a runner on third, Lobaton blooped a ball into left field. Of course, in true Sunday Mets fashion, it was too shallow for Brandon Nimmo to grab, yet too deep for him to throw out Taylor. Suddenly a leadoff infield single snowballed into a 3-1 deficit.
As per usual, deGrom did a great job at limiting contact to weak, at best. When you sport 11 strikeouts in six innings, no walks, three runs (two earned), and five hits, you’ve basically done all you can to keep your club in it. But, in the end, it just wasn’t enough. One mistake pitch to Trea Turner made all the difference. In terms of non-deGrom pitching, Hansel Robles and Paul Sewald came out of the bullpen to combine for three shutout innings. That is, of course, always fantastic to see as we enter into the last week of the regular season.
WHAT HAPPENED, THEY DID FACE MAX SCHERZER:
Game 155 had an optimistic start. Jose Reyes nearly smacked a 93-mph fastball over the fence his first time up. Victor Robles played the ball well, but it couldn’t have been more than a foot or two away from a first-inning homerun. The very next batter, Brandon Nimmo, didn’t make the same mistake. He hit the ball much, much farther. Just like that, the Mets had a quick 1-0 lead on a Scherzer-led Washington Nationals.
Though it looked like they were poised to strike early, strike often against the probable National League Cy Young-winning, that would be all the Mets could muster. Two more hits and a walk would be scattered across five more Scherzer-thrown innings, but none came in the same frame. The Mets didn’t get multiple runners on base, or even multiple hits, until the eighth inning rolled around.
A Juan Lagares leadoff single against Ryan Madson kicked off the rally attempt, as two batters later Nori Aoki placed a grounder perfectly with a hit-and-run to place runners at the corners with one away. Reyes then singled into center to cut the Nats lead in half, and a two-out walk to d’Arnaud would load the bases for Kevin Plawecki to pinch hit for Dom Smith. That would be as close as the Mets got, however, as Sammy Solis came on to record a punch-out of Plawecki and keep the Nats 3-2 lead in tact. Though Amed Rosario and Lagares singled with one out in the ninth, Brandon Kintzler was able to work his way out of trouble against Matt Reynolds and the aforementioned Aoki. In the end, the Mets made it close, but they were ultimately not able to overcome the recently-turned Good Nationals Bullpen.
WHAT HAPPENED, YESTERDAY:
Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer were quite the spectacle, as they struck out a combined 21 hitters in 12 innings. In the end, deGrom was stung by some unfortunately placed hits, and one unfortunately placed pitch. Though they tried their hand at a comeback attempt once they got Scherzer out of the game, the bats just couldn’t seem to scratch across that elusive third run.
WHAT HAPPENS, TODAY:
Well, if you must know, it is the last week of the regular season. The Mets have four games left against the Atlanta Braves, and three against the Philadelphia Phillies. With a current record of 66-89, there is a decent chance that the Mets will finish with under 70 wins for the first time since 2003. At the same time, they are just a half-game up on the 66-90 Cincinnati Reds. In the race for a better draft position, they could be doing well. That said, man, what a drop off it has been. With injuries and all, the Mets are a week away from completing their fall from ‘potential playoff team’ to ‘worse than the Reds’. The fifth-worst record in major league baseball. It’s just…damn.
Photo credit: Wendell Cruz – USA Today Sports