The Mets have a nice little three-game win streak going, and they even got Jacob deGrom a win Monday. Brandon Nimmo is one of the best hitters in baseball, Michael Conforto is heating up and Jay Bruce is finally going on the DL. Things are almost looking up.
Oh, except for the fact that Jason Vargas is starting in Coors Field. With Dom Smith starting in left field. Great.
Things started off well for the Mets, with Brandon Nimmo and Asdrubal Cabrera singling to lead off the first. Two fly outs late, Nimmo scampered home with the game’s first run. In a very predictable turn, that lead lasted all of fifteen minutes, as Jason Vargas allowed a single and a double to Charlie Blackmon and Nolan Arenado with one out in the first. Nimmo lost a fly ball in the lights and a run scored. Ian Desmond followed with a single of his own, and the Rockies had a 2-1 lead.
The Mets got that run right back in the top of the second, when Wilmer Flores led off with a double and scored one batter later on a single from Kevin Plawecki. Things stayed quiet for the bottom of the second and the top of the third, but that was just the calm before the storm that was the bottom half of the third.
Walking through that inning in paragraph form is simply too tedious, so here it is in a list:
- Charlie Blackmon singles on a ground ball that Amed Rosario should have handled
- Nolan Arenado, Trevor Story and Ian Desmond hit back-to-back-to-back home runs to give the Rockies a 6-2 lead.
- Carlos Gonzalez grounds out.
- Chris Iannetta is hit by pitch. Jason Vargas is replaced by Hansel Robles.
- Noel Cuevas doubles off the foul line on the left field wall. Chris Iannetta scores.
- German Marquez (the pitcher) singles on a sharp line drive to right field. Noel Cuevas scores.
- DJ LeMahieu and Charlie Blackmon walk. Bases loaded, one out.
- Nolan Arenado strikes out. Trevor Story grounds out.
The Rockies sent twelve men to the plate, scored six runs and took an 8-2 lead. This implosion surprised exactly no one.
Carlos Gonzalez added a solo shot off of Robles in the fourth, and the Mets found themselves in a 9-2 hole. In any other ballpark, that’s game over, but in Coors, and against the current Rockies bullpen, the Mets still had a chance.
The Mets did manage to chip away, but they did it in the most frustrating way possible. They got two runs back in the fifth, but ran themselves out of the inning when Cabrera was inexplicably caught between second and third on a ball in the dirt that didn’t really go anywhere. Chris Beck, whose presence on the team is still baffling, gave one of those runs right back. Jose Bautista drove in another run in the seventh before the Mets loaded the bases, but Michael Conforto and Todd Frazier couldn’t get anything done, though another run scored on a passed ball.
Heading to the ninth, the Mets were down 10-6, but the Rockies weren’t done dangling the victory out there for the taking. Jose Reyes walked and a throwing error put runners on second and third with no outs. Two groundouts brought in two runs, but that brought Conforto to the plate with two outs and no one one with the Mets down two. A very generous strike three call ended the 10-8 loss.
The loss snaps what had been a brief run of slightly better baseball for the Mets, dropping their record to 31-39. Seth Lugo takes on Chad Bettis this evening in another episode of Coors Field baseball.
Thoughts from the Game
Shockingly, a first baseman with 20 grade speed has terrible range in the outfield. Smith chased after soft fly balls at a glacial pace in left field, and there were at least two balls that should have been caught that he came nowhere close to. He clearly has the arm for the outfield, but the instincts and raw speed are totally lacking. That said, it’s not a terrible experiment for a Mets team that is clearly out of it, particularly when Peter Alonso has clearly surpassed Smith on the first-baseman-of-the-future list. Just don’t expect this experiment to bear any meaningful fruit.
Any other thoughts at this point are simply related to how it’s too late in the evening to be doing this. Coors Field + rain delay + terribly pitching makes for a very tired east coast writer who has a meeting at 10 a.m. Wednesday.
Other Mets News
Jay Bruce is finally, finally going on the DL. He’s suffered from knee, foot and back issues this season, and has clearly been a shell of his former self. Right hander Tim Peterson took his place on the roster, leaving the Mets with a four-man bench for the time being. This move was long overdo, symptomatic of the Mets’ long standing practice of refusing to DL players who are clearly compromised. Bruce is signed for the next three years on a deal we all know the Mets won’t just eat, so hopefully the time off can turn him back into at least a serviceable bat.
In other injury news, AJ Ramos will have shoulder surgery, ending his season and his Mets tenure. The Mets traded a marginally useful prospect (Merandy Gonzalez) for the 38.2 innings from a mediocre-at-best reliever, as well as the right to pay said reliever $9 million on a tight budget this year. All because this front office will always fight tooth and nail to overpay on short term, making their already poorly allocated budget even more inefficient. So it goes for the Mets.
Photo credit: Ron Chenoy – USA Today Sports