Ultimately, it was former Met Marlon Byrd who slipped the dagger into the heart of his former team. But the New York Mets had multiple opportunities to score runs tonight, and they couldn’t cash in.
The Mets left 15 men on base as a team. On their recent road trip, the Mets scored runs in the hitter-friendly environment of Coors Field. Unfortunately, so did the Colorado Rockies. In Miami, the Mets had trouble scoring in the pitcher-friendly environs of Marlins Park. So did the Marlins. But Miami pitched a little bit better than New York. Back home at Citi Field, the Mets had their chances, but c0uldn’t capitalize against the Philadelphia Phillies.
Part of the Mets’ problem is that they have runners on with two outs. In the first inning, Daniel Murphy and David Wright reached base (not a huge surprise) and Curtis Granderson plated Murphy with a double. Then, the Mets loaded them up with one out when Chris Young was hit by a pitch to load the bases. But Josh Satin, filling in for Lucas Duda, who had a serious stomach virus, struck out. Recent call-up Wilmer Flores was unable to plate any further runs, thus ending the inning.
In the second, the Mets once again loaded the base with two men down. After a nine-pitch at bat, Granderson got under a high fastball and flied out to right field.
The Mets’ best opportunity came in the fifth inning, trailing 2-1. The Mets had runners at second and third with none out. Satin struck out and Flores struck out. Virtually anything in play could have plated the tying run, but neither Satin or Flores could get the job done. Catcher Travis d’Arnaud then grounded out to retire the side.
The theme continued, as the Mets stranded runner after runner, until David Wright ripped a double to left field in the eighth to plate Murphy to tie the game. The ball seemed to have home-run potential, but fell at the warning track. A lot of Wright’s well-hit drives have seemed to fall short this year, no matter which ballpark he’s frequented.
Regardless, the score stayed tied until Byrd reached down and away to poke a Torres cutter barely inside the right field line for an RBI double. Some would say that hit calls into question the Mets trade of Byrd last year. But if you’re under .500, past the non-waiver trade deadline, and have a 36-year-old outfielder to trade, and one for whom you can get value, wouldn’t you make that deal as well? Sometimes you have to tip your hat to a guy like Byrd, who clearly has a year or two left in him.
On the pitching side, the Mets walked way too many hitters (though they got away with most of them). Starting pitcher Jenrry Mejia walked three. His successor Daisuke Matsuzaka also allowed three free passes. Jeurys Familia, Scott Rice, Kyle Farnsworth, and Carlos Torres all allowed at least one walk. It’s pitching 101. No, you don’t want to groove anything, but you can’t issue 11 walks to a team in one game and expect to win. The Mets pitchers need to learn the art of getting ahead of hitters.
In order to have a successful homestand, the Mets will have to learn to pitch with greater control, and get runners home from scoring position with less than two out. If they don’t, they’ll find themselves in a race for fourth place all year.