It was all set up for a storybook ending at Citifield last night.
Mets were down by two with runners on second and third and two out in the ninth. It was a delicious match up with the game on the line as the Padres lock down closer, Josh Hader, faced the Mets top rookie prospect, Francisco Alvarez, who is getting an opportunity because of an injury.
Unfortunately for the Mets, there was no storybook ending.
Hader fanned Alvarez to end it as the Mets dropped a 4-2 decision to the San Diego Padres last night at Citifield.
In the early going this season, the Mets have had chances to get on top of teams and maybe even put them away to some extent but once again, a lack of clutch hitting came back to burn them.
The Mets had bases loaded and no one out in the first against Padres starter and winner Ryan Weathers but Pete Alonso struck out on a 3-2 pitch and Mark Canha killed the inning by hitting into a 4-6-3 double play.
It was already the third time this season that the Mets have had the bases loaded and no one out and they’ve scored a total of one run in those situations. “Good pitcher made some good pitches,” Manager Buck Showalter said after the game. “He [Weathers] had good stuff tonight. We knew he was gonna be a challenge.”
Mets starter David Peterson was pitching well until the fifth when he gave up the lead.
With the Mets holding a slim, 1-0 lead, the Padres had runners on second and third with two out and Manny Machado at the plate. Do you walk Machado with the left hand hitting and struggling Juan Soto due up? The Mets elected to pitch to Machado.
On the 2-2 pitch, Peterson threw a slider that had too much of the plate and Machado lined it into left field for a two run double and a 2-1 lead. “I thought it was the right pitch for the right spot. I don’t think I got it to the spot I wanted to,” Peterson said.
Before that, the Mets got on the board in the fourth to take the lead, but they blew a chance to make it a big inning. Francisco Lindor led off with a single to left against Weathers. Alonso blooped a single into right and Lindor read it well and took third.
With Canha at the plate, Alonso was caught napping as he was caught off first base by a brilliant pick off move from Weathers (whose father is former Yankee and World Series champ David Weathers and who was in the stands).
The “disengagement” was not a balk, just a good move that resembled an “Andy Pettitte” pick off move. “I thought it was a balk but the umpire didn’t, I mean it’s a really good balk move. Good for him. I take pride in being a good base runner and not giving away free outs and he got me, good for him,” said Alonso, who held himself accountable.
Canha eventually drove in a run with a sacrifice fly for the 1-0 lead, but Alonso getting picked off at first kinda made it feel like one run was a letdown.
Padres shortstop Xander Bogaerts clubbed a two run homer off of Mets reliever Dennis Santana to give the Padres a 4-1 lead in the ninth.
In the Mets final at bat, Tommy Pham singled in a run to make a two-run deficit, and the Mets had the tying runs on first and second. Right hand hitting Tomas Nido was sent up to bat for the left hand hitting Luis Guillorme and he hit back to the mound as the runners advanced, bringing up Alvarez.
Hader missed with his first two pitches but Alvarez swung through the next two pitches to even the count. The 2-2 pitch was a fast ball up and Alvarez was on it, but he fouled it back.
The count went to 3-2 before Hader blew Alvarez away with a 96 MPH fastball to end it. “It’s tough for everybody. Challenge up here sometimes is to not have an emotional at bat. Not only for him [Alvarez], but everybody,” Showalter said.
The Mets go for the rubber game later today as Blake Snell opposes Tylor Megill. “I hope we can get it done tomorrow. It’s a rubber match tomorrow and we’re gonna have two really good pitchers going at it,” Alonso said.