Final Score: Cubs 5, Mets 1
Glass Half Full BS: Let me get the glass half full positive crap out of the way to start. The Cubs are one of the elite teams in Major League Baseball. We dropped the first game of a three game set in Chicago. The Cubs are 29-15 at Wrigley this season. Jon Lester is a stud, and he pitched 7.2 innings and gave up 1 run on 4 hits. In the third inning, Anthony Rizzo crushed a three run homer off of Steven Matz after a great at-bat where he fouled off a ton of pitches. Matz tried to get a pitch up and in, and it caught too much plate. But Rizzo is beast. He’s an MVP candidate. It happens. That homer made it 3-0, and the Mets only scored a run on a Wilmer Flores solo shot. So the Rizzo dinger was really the game.
Matzy Spurs: Okay let’s get to the negative reality. Steven Matz only lasted 5 innings and gave up 4 runs on 8 hits. The Rizzo shot was the big damage, but he struggled. He’s really struggled since this bone spur issue surfaced. He’s 0-5 in his last 9 starts. Not good.
No Big Hits: The Mets were 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position tonight. Neil Walker and Wilmer Flores got on base to start the second inning and Asdrubal Cabrera hit into a double play to end the threat. In the third inning Steven Matz and Jose Reyes got on base with one out and the Mets failed to score. In the fifth the Mets left Travis d’Arnaud on second base. In the 8th inning, Curtis Granderson singled and Yoenis Cespedes was hit by a pitch with two outs. Neil Walker struck out and stranded them all. In the 9th inning Asdrubal Cabrera singled and Michael Conforto singled with one out. Travis d’Arnaud hit into a double play to end the game.
This team has sucked for a long stretch now. After a monstrous April full of home runs and wins, we haven’t been able to put together any consistent stretch of winning baseball. The Mets don’t get hits with runners in scoring position. The team batting average with runners in scoring position is just over .200 and dead last in the league. I don’t care how many home runs the team hits. The 2016 Mets consistently fail to execute with runners in scoring position, and as a result I have no confidence in their ability to win baseball games.
I’m not questioning the effort of the players. I’m not providing an explanation as to why the team consistently fails to hit with RISP. It’s obviously due to bad luck (Mets are dead last in team batting average on balls (BABIP) in play). It’s obviously due to a bunch of players performing way below their career numbers with men on base and runners in scoring position. But the failure to execute in these “clutch spots” is happening consistently, and it makes for frustrating and boring baseball games.
No Comebacks: The Mets are 0-38 when trailing after 8 innings this season per Rich MacLeod. In other words we never come back late in a game. It would be nice if we never needed to come back because we always led games in the late innings. But that’s not a reality. This is just another stat that adds to the feeling of hopelessness during Mets games this season. We don’t get clutch hits or come back when we are behind. That’s kind of a problem. That doesn’t mean the team can’t turn things around. But we’re more than halfway through the season here. The sample size is pretty prettay large at this point.
No Fun: I want to love this team. I want to watch and have fun doing it. I really do. But for all the reasons I mentioned it’s been tough to connect with this squad so far this season. It’s tough to feel confident in our ability to win night in and night out. We officially fell out of the second Wild Card spot tonight.
Rocket Arm: In the third inning after the Rizzo three run shot, Willson Contreras hit a ground rule double into the ivy in left field. Yo saw the ball hit the ivy and immediately called for the ground rule double. I really thought it was going to be that 2015 NLCS play all over again, but this one was called a ground rule double. Anyway, Matt Szczur hit a single with two outs and Cespedes gunned Contreras at the plate. He has such a rocket arm.
Sloppy Ball: Wilmer Flores missed a routine foul pop at first base tonight. In the 8th inning with two outs, Matt Szczur doubled and then Albert Almora Jr. hit a single to Yoenis Cespedes in left field. He may have been able to gun down Szczur at the plate, but he let the ball go right through his legs and all the way to the wall instead. Sloppy play isn’t fun to watch either. Duh.
He’s Hurt: The big story today was that Terry Collins said he may play Michael Conforto in center field so Cespedes can play left field and rest his legs. If Terry does that he’s a moron. It’s clear the Mets are forcing a banged up Cespedes to play. We need him, so I get why he’s staying on the field. In my opinion, the Conforto in center field story is complete nonsense, and I won’t believe it until he is officially misplaying balls in center. The Mets should just play Lucas Duda in CF when he returns, and create the best blooper reel of all time.