Takeaways from the Mets 6-2 loss to the Braves on Tuesday…
The Mets dropped the second game of their three-game series to the Braves by the score of 6-2 on Tuesday night at Citi Field. Here are my takeaways from the loss…
Another flat loss.
The Mets started this game off with a bang when David Wright hit a first inning solo home run. But that was it for the Mets offense against Matt Wisler, who was basically in command of both his fastball and slider, getting the Mets out on a lot of off-speed pitches down and out of the strike zone.
Simply put, Wisler mowed the Mets right down in this one with that wicked slider. The Mets were flat out lost for seven innings against him.
But while Wisler deserves credit for his work, it was another night in what has become a concerning trend for the Mets on this homestand and their offense, in that they basically have had very little in the first eight games.
Meanwhile, Logan Verrett did a nice job for the first four innings mixing his pitches up and working quickly in the process. But the Braves rocked his world for a four-spot in the fifth inning for four runs thanks to a pair of long balls from Jace Peterson and Hector Olivera, who delivered the big blow with a three-run home run.
It’s questionable if the big inning could’ve been avoided, however, as Terry Collins decided to walk Nick Markakis with first base open to get to Olivera with two outs. That decision obviously burned Collins and his club, and the Mets found themselves in a three-run hole.
That was it for Verrett, who handed the game to the bullpen, and they certainly did their job. Sean Gilmartin was fantastic again in long relief, and Hansel Robles gave the Mets a scoreless inning of relief, but Adonis Garcia got to Tyler Clippard – much like he did last weekend in Atlanta – with a two-run, two-out double to give the Braves a 6-2 lead and put the Mets away, as the offense had no answer at all for the Braves on Tuesday night.
Things started off so well for Verrett, as he dazzled the Braves for the first four innings with an array of change-ups, sliders, and sinkers. He had only allowed a leadoff hit to Nick Markakis and a single to Matt Wisler through the first four innings.
But his night came crashing down in a real hurry in the fifth inning, starting with a leadoff home run from Jace Peterson, then a three-run home run to Hector Olivera to make it 4-1, which basically knocked him out of the game and forced the Mets to play from behind once again.
It was a shame, because Verrett was really cruising and it looked like he was well on his way to another successful evening in his spot start. But he started centering his pitches and getting them up in the zone. Despite it being the soft-hitting Braves, no pitcher can succeed in that part of the strike zone, and Verrett’s night ended in a lot of frustration as a result.
Clippard is being clipped.
Things are not going particularly well for Clippard these days. Between a tight back and poor performance, there’s some level of concern for him going into the final 11 games of the year.
He’s been allowing a lot of baserunners since he arrived, but he would always successfully navigate those rough waters throughout the month of August. But he’s done anything other than produce for the Mets over the last couple of weeks.
His change-up has been centered a lot, and he’s just being mauled for the most part. He gave up a leadoff double to Nick Swisher in the ninth, and nearly worked out of it before walking Michael Bourn with two outs, and then he gave up the back breaking double to knock the Mets out.
What’s worse, Clippard threw a lot of pitches, and he’s probably not going to be available on Wednesday when the Mets might need him. Then again, he’s struggling so badly right now, maybe a day off tomorrow will be a good thing.
But the Mets need him to get straightened out in a hurry. He had stapled shut the eighth inning throughout the month of August and the first part of September – it’s going to be hard to be successful if the eighth inning becomes a liability for this team.
The offense continues to be be a growing concern. Top to bottom, they’re just not hitting collectively and are taking some pretty poor at-bats, particularly with runners in scoring position. Whether it’s Wright, Lucas Duda, or Yoenis Cespedes, nobody is driving in runs consistently right now.
It’s not as if the Mets aren’t getting their share of baserunners, and they’re putting runners at second routinely. But they’re suddenly having trouble making productive outs and finding that big hit to plate runs in bunches, instead stranding them with regularity. They’re 8-for-60 with runners in scoring position and have scored 20 runs in eight games on this homestand, and that helps to explain why they’ve gone 3-5 on the homestand to this point.
The Mets had a tremendous opportunity in the eighth inning when they loaded the bases against Wisler and the rest of the Braves bullpen when they loaded the bases with one out, but they settled for just a single run on a sacrifice fly from Michael Cuddyer.
That they only scored one run was really setup by a poor at-bat from Daniel Murphy, who popped a 1-0 pitch up with runners at first and second and nobody out. But that at-bat was representative of their poor approach at the plate over the last week.
It’s home run or nothing for the most part right now. On Tuesday in particular, that was literally the case as they went hitless with runners in scoring position.
They’re staying positive and everything in perspective and certainly are not going through the motions. But the club seems to be lacking a whole lot of life and energy these days, and one would think given the circumstances in the standings it would be a little different.
It’s going to have to change, because that’s just not going to cut it going forward.
Other notes from Tuesday:
Gilmartin delivered two scoreless innings of relief. He has a 1.73 ERA in outings he’s pitched two innings or more.
Clippard has allowed nine earned runs in his last 8 1/3 innings of work.
The Mets went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position.
The Mets fell to 11-7 against the Braves in 2015.
Lucas Duda is 8-for-46 over his last 15 games.