The bullpen kept the team around, but this time the offense could not deliver.
The Mets got off to a good start early in Cincinnati when Pete Alonso launched his second home run in as many nights, staking the Mets to an early 1-0 lead against soft-tossing left hander Wade Miley. The lead lasted two pitches into bottom of the frame, as Jonathan India took spot starter Robert Stock deep to tie the game
The Mets had an opportunity to strike right back in the top of the second, as with two outs, Kevin Pillar singled and Jonathan Villar followed with a sharp double to right—too sharp to score Pillar. Stock was not slated to go deep into the game, but with a starting rotation ravaged by injury, an overworked bullpen which had thrown 15.2 innings over the previous two games, and a three plater bench, it seemed too early to pinch hit for Stock, who grounded out to second to end the threat.
Unfortunately, Stock would not give the Mets any more length, as he was unable to take his warmup pitches, departing the game with a hamstring injury. Enter yet another bullpen parade, as two pitchers—Stephen Nogosek and Geoff Hartlieb—would make their season debuts, surrounded by an inning from Yennsy Diaz. Nogosek came on for Stock and gave the Mets three valuable innings. He struck out five, but surrendered back-to-back home runs to Joey Votto and Aristides Aquino in the third which give the Reds a 3-1 lead they would never relinquish.
The Mets had their chances and generally hit the ball hard off of Miley, who didn’t record a 1-2-3 inning until the sixth—and that frame consisted of three scorched liners to the outfield. However, the team was unable to break through again until the seventh, when Miley walked Villar and Dom Smith to start the inning. Miley would strike out Brandon Nimmo—who had a disappointing four strikeout night—before departing. Brad Brach would come in and induce a slow roller from Alonso. Brach made a nice play, but Votto inexplicably dropped his throw, allowing Villar to score and cut the lead to 3-2.
The Reds would respond in the bottom of the frame, pushing across what would ultimately be the winning run when Hartlieb and Aaron Loup combined to load the bases and Tyler Stephenson delivered a pinch hit sacrifice fly. An odd base running move by Aquino—trying to tag up from first—helped prevent a larger inning.
The Mets crept tantalizingly close again in the eighth when Luis Guillorme doubled home James McCann. More questionable Cincinnati defense seemed to aid that run, as Jesse Winker took an odd route in failing to cut the ball before it rolled to the wall. However, the Mets would leave Guillorme at second when Villar grounded out to end the inning, and would strand Dominic Smith after a leadoff walk in the ninth, as this time, the bullpen’s eight inning, three run effort would not quite provide the Mets enough rope to climb all the way back.
*illar of the Game
Solid game from both *illars, delightfully back-to-back in the starting lineup. With a double hit a bit too hard to score Pillar from first, we’ll go with Jonathan Villar.
Win Probability Added
Big Mets winner: Pete Alonso, +14.1% WPA
Big Mets loser: Jeff McNeil, -28.2% WPA
Mets pitchers: -10.9% WPA
Mets hitters: -39.1% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Pete Alonso reaching on error in the seventh, +13.1%
Teh sux0rest play: Joey Votto home run in the third, -11.9%