Mets throw the game away and split the series

The Mets came into the day coming off a bizarre extra innings win on Keith Hernandez Day, but the game ahead was looking tough. While the Mets had Taijuan Walker taking the mound, the Marlins had Sandy Alcantara, the Cy Young frontrunner for the National League. And a win was of the utmost urgency, with the Braves facing the abysmal Nationals just ahead of the Mets and Brave going head-to-head in Atlanta with less than three games separating them in the standings.

The first inning was quiet for both sides. With the exception of a Jon Berti single, the Marlins went down with a whimper, with Berti being erased on an inning-ending double play. But while the Marlins at least got a hit, the Mets went down in order against Alcantara, in a foreboding of what was likely to come.

The second inning was also quiet for both sides. The Marlins were unable to get a hit against Walker, with Walker and Nido bumping into each other trying to catch a foul pop up (Nido held on, while Walker’s hat didn’t), but luckily neither took the other out or got injured as has been seen with disturbing semi-frequency recently. The Mets were yet again unable to get a hit against Alcantara.

The third inning saw the Marlins held hitless yet again, with Walker snagging the ball on the mound off the bat from Miguel Rojas for a nice defensive play for the highlight reel, and tallying five strikeouts in three innings while facing the lineup just once. The Mets finally got a hit against Alcantara courtesy of Luis Guillorme, but he was erased on a Tomas Nido double play, continuing the pitchers duel between Alcantara and Walker.

The Marlins and Mets both had some baserunners in the fourth, and both teams were unable to convert it into any runs. The Marlins had two base runners but thanks to a phenomenal double play started by Lindor they had no shot. The Mets at one point had two base runners with two outs but nothing came of it, continuing the scoreless battle between the two teams. The Marlins also had a collision between Rojas and Berti, and Rojas was pretty shaken up by it but stayed in.

The fifth was pretty similar for both sides. The Marlins were fully unable to get on against Walker, going down in order. The Mets, with the exception of another Guillorme single, went down quietly against Alcantara, who has looked every bit the Cy Young frontrunner he’s currently projected as.

The sixth went quick for Taijuan, with the Marlins going down in order, with Lindor making a few more impressive plays in the field. At the bottom of the inning the Marlins made some defensive changes and shifts to account for Rojas leaving the game a few innings after his run-in with Berti. The Mets got the first two runners on via error and a walk but were unable to cash in any runs, leaving the game tied.

The seventh was the first truly dicey inning for Walker, with a Berti single (and subsequent stolen base) and a Cooper walk put two runners on with no outs. But Taijuan Walker got three straight outs, including a strike out, and was able to escape unscathed to end his truly impressive outing. The Mets again got two runners on in the bottom of the inning with two outs, but again, in a theme of the day, were unable to drive any of them in, keeping it scoreless heading into the late innings.

Drew Smith came in for the Mets in the eighth, and he had an impressive outing, putting the Marlins down in order with a strikeout in the mix. The Mets came up in the bottom of the Mets inning with the game still scoreless but with Anthony Bass on the mound instead of Alcantara. After two outs Lindor got on with a single, and Alonso hit a ball that looked for a moment as though it might be a home run, but it turned out to be just a long fly out to Luke Williams in left field.

Edwin Diaz came in for the ninth inning to try and keep it tied at 0 to give the Mets a chance to win it in a walk-off. Diaz looked great, sending the Marlins down in order with two strikeouts to boot. The Mets came up with a chance to win it before heading to extras. But despite JD Davis reaching on a fielding error, the Mets were unable to bring him home, sending the game to extra innings.

Tommy Hunter came in for the Mets in the tenth with the Marlins’ free runner at second being former Met Billy Hamilton. Billy Hamilton went for a stolen base and Nido threw ostensibly to third, but it made it all the way to Mark Canha in the left field, allowing Hamilton to score and put the Marlins in the lead. Hunter allowed three hits which allowed another run to score to put the Marlins ahead by two with the Mets having just three outs to make up the deficit. But much like the rest of the games, despite having two runners on with two outs, they went quietly into the late afternoon, splitting the series with the Marlins.

The Mets head to Atlanta to start a three game series with the Braves hot on the Mets trail for the lead division. With how close the two teams are, the series could allow the Mets some cushion room from the Braves, or allow the Braves to pull ahead of the Mets and take the first spot in the National League East, depending on how the games shake out. Luckily the Mets are starting out on the right foot, with SCherzer taking the mound against Max Fried.

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What’s WPA?

Big Mets winner: Taijuan Walker, + 41.7% WPA
Big Mets loser: Tommy Hunter, -32.3% WPA
Mets pitchers: + 31.7% WPA
Mets hitters: -81.7% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Garrett Cooper grounding into a double play in the fourth, + 13.9% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Luke Williams’ RBI single in the tenth, -18.0% WPA

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