Recurring Themes -April 24, 2018-

The Mets began a road trip last night in St. Louis.

After a rough loss Saturday night and a game postponed by rain Sunday, it felt like an eternity since we’ve had baseball to watch and dissect. Let’s get right into it.

This will be the second and final series against the Cardinals this season. The Mets took 2 out of 3 the first time the teams faced off.

Zack Wheeler got the start tonight, squaring up against impressive rookie Luke Weaver. Weaver dealt the Amazins their only loss the first time the 2 teams met.

It seems like everyone in our staff aside from deGrom and Syndergaard have given up 1st inning runs in every game they’ve pitched in lately. Tommy Pham made sure that trend continued last night.

After walking Matt Carpenter to start the game, Pham followed with a homerun, and the Mets were trailing 2-0 before many fans found their seats. Wheeler got through the rest of the inning, but again, the Mets had an early hole to crawl out of.

As long as we are talking about trends in 2018 though, we’d be remiss to not mention how the 2018 Mets love answering immediately, anytime the opposing team scores.

After Todd Frazier walked in the top of the 2nd, Jay Bruce hit a low line drive to Marcell Ozuna. The Cardinals left fielder dove but was unable to make a play, and the ball rolled all the way to the wall. Frazier scored easily, and the Mets cut the lead to 2-1.

The score remained at 2-1 until the 4th, when things began to fall apart for Zack Wheeler. Kolten Wong doubled home Met killer Paul Dejong, and then the pitcher, Luke Weaver, singled home Wong. Weaver was the first opposing pitcher the Mets had allowed to reach base this year.

That made the score 4-1, Wheeler was due to bat in the 5th, and Matt Harvey was warming up in the bullpen.

I know it looks like I’m writing the same exact sentence every other paragraph this season, but I swear I’m just playing the hand I’m dealt. “It seems like every time the opposing team scores, the Mets find a way to answer immediately.” This time the Mets answered with a bang.

With 2 outs in the inning Wilmer Flores came to bat for Zack Wheeler, and he drew a walk on 4 pitches. Suddenly, Luke Weaver could not find the strike zone, and Michael Conforto also drew a walk on 4 pitches. Yoenis Cespedes was next to hit, with 2 outs and the tying runs on base.

To that point, Cespedes had hit into a double play, and struck out swinging. It’s hard to navigate through this game without mentioning recurring themes, so it should be said that even though he’s struggling, Cespedes has had a knack for coming up with huge hits.

When that ball finally landed, the game was tied. I don’t know if that’s the start of a hot streak for Cespedes, or he’s just continuing his incredible run of showing up in big spots. Imagine writing something like “well Cespedes only has a fWAR of -0.2 this season.” Sure, we’d love to see him get hot, but he’s come through every time we’ve needed him. Very interesting start to the season for our star outfielder to say the least.

The spotlight then shifted to Matt Harvey as he entered the game in relief of Zack Wheeler. Harvey’s struggles have been well chronicled. The hope, albeit slim, is that Harvey will be able to regain form operating out of the bullpen.

Harvey got Ozuna to ground out, and then struck out Yadier Molina. Just when you thought for a split second that Harvey might be an asset for us out of the bullpen, he gave up back-to-back doubles to Dexter Fowler and Paul Dejong and the Mets were trailing again. 5-4.

Harvey came back out for the 6th and fared much better. Aside from a two-out walk to Tommy Pham, no damage was done. If you want to know what Matt Harvey thought of his outing, you’ll need to wait as he left right after the game and didn’t speak to reporters.

The Mets did not answer immediately this time, but did score an inning later, in the top of the 8th. Todd Frazier walked and then advanced to 3rd on a Jay Bruce single. Adrian Gonzalez hit a sacrifice fly to left and we were tied again. 5-5.

I did jump ahead a little bit, so let’s go back to the bottom of the 7th. Paul Sewald entered the game in relief of Matt Harvey and was tremendous once again. Sewald pitched 2 innings, allowing 1 hit and striking out 1 batter. He lowered his ERA to 1.74.

Nothing but recurring themes today, apparently. Robert Gsellman pitched the 9th inning and didn’t allow a run, although he did have to work out of a mini jam.

The game went to extra innings, and former Met, Matt Bowman took the mound for St. Louis. The inning got off to a promising start as Asdrubal Cabrera led off with a single. Cabrera was erased though when Todd Frazier grounded into a double play.

Jay Bruce stepped up to the plate with 2 outs. Bruce has been under fire from fans of the Mets lately, as he has been slumping at the plate, and underperforming in the field. Bruce had a good night up to that point, with a single and a triple already under his belt. Why not make it a better night?

Huge! The Mets had a 6-5 lead. Wheeler got knocked out after 4 innings, and the Mets fought back to tie the game. Matt Harvey gave the lead right back, and the Mets fought back to tie it again. Saturday’s game left a sour taste in the mouths of all Mets fans, so it was great to come out like this on the road in our first game since then.

Whoa. I’m sorry. I’m getting a little ahead of myself. Jeurys Familia would still need to come in close the door on the Cardinals.

That wouldn’t be a problem tonight. Familia looked as good as he has all season, and the Mets took the opening game from the Red Birds 6-5.

Mets will be back at it with Steven Matz on the mound for the 2nd game of the series. Michael Wacha will pitch for the Cards.

 

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