The metaphorical fog that’s been surrounding the Mets for the past six weeks took on physical form at Citi Field. On a diamond shrouded in mist, the Cubs looked like gorillas while the Mets turned to pea soup as Chicago took the opener of this four-game weekend set.
Seth Lugo started this “bullpen game” for the Mets and continued his run of fine innings. He pitched four, in his first start of the season, surrendering three hits, walking none and striking out three. Most importantly, he kept the Cubbies off the board — a claim that his fellow bullpen mates cannot make. Hansel Robles came into a scoreless game in the fifth, and, seeing as it was Hansel Robles pitching, the game didn’t stay scoreless any longer. Kyle Schwarber led off for Chicago and drew a walk, though it should be worth noting that he hit a foul popup just before ball four that couldn’t be handled by Mets catcher Devin Mesoraco. Robles then got Ian Happ to miss a fastball and pitcher Jose Quintana to pop out attempting to bunt. Ben Zobrist hit a booming fly ball into the right field seats, just foul. Two pitches later, he hit a tracer into the bullpen in centerfield and the Cubs had a sudden 2-0 lead. That was pretty much it. Schwarber knocked home a run in the sixth off Jerry Blevins and Jason Heyward earned an RBI on a groundout in the seventh off Buddy Baumann, manager Mickey Callaway oddly playing the infield back with runners at second and third with no out.
For his part, Quintana was mostly immovable over six innings. The Mets loaded the bases in the third on a one-out walk to Lugo, a double by Brandon Nimmo rocketed to left field and a walk to Asdrubal Cabrera. They were turned away, though,, when Jose Bautista struck out and Michael Conforto tapped weakly to second. The seasoned Met fan kind of knew the game would be lost after that, especially since Quintana didn’t allow another base runner. Only a window-dressing homer by Nimmo in the eighth off Brian Deunsing could even slightly lighten the mood. The Cubs got that one back in the ninth on a couple of singles and a sacrifice fly by Willson Contreras off Gerson Bautista.
The Mets will try to shake the cobwebs tomorrow, with Zack Wheeler facing Tyler Chatwood.