The Mets started a short but multi-mile road trip with a return entanglement with the Milwaukee Brewers. When we last saw the Brew Crew, Steven Matz held them almost completely in check and tonight, the Mets were hoping for a repeat performance.
Brandon Woodruff would provide the loyal opposition, coming off a middling performance in a win against the Mets last Saturday. He had a rough go of it off the bat. Jeff McNeil led off the game by beating out an infield hit to short. He was erased on a steal attempt as Pete Alonso struck out. Robinson Cano worked out a twelve (!!!) pitch walk and moved down to second on another infield hit, this one by Michael Conforto. Wilson Ramos chased him home with a hard single to right. Brandon Nimmo grounded out to end the inning, Woodruff having thrown 34 pitches. The Brewers tied it up on Matz’s third pitch of the game, Lorenzo Cain slamming a non-sinking sinker over the right-center field fence. There the game stood for the next three innings, nothing to choose between the two teams, both starters throwing a frightfully high number of pitches. Matz ran into some trouble in the fourth, surrendering hits to Mike Moustakas, Hernan Perez and Woodruff, but Cain flew out to shallow right. In the fifth, Matz hit a solid one-out single up the middle. After McNeil flew out to the opposite field, Alonso bounced a single through the vacated second base position, sending Matz to third, but Cano hit a ball out to deep center that Cain was able to chase down. The Brewers would take advantage of that futility in the bottom half.
Matz walked Yasmani Grandal on a close pitch to lead it off and Ryan Braun hit a 2-2 fastball way up and way over the center field fence. The embattled Alex Claudio replaced Woodruff in the sixth and muffled the Mets’ offense, despite a bizarre error by Jesus Aguilar at first base. Spearing a grounder by Conforto, Aguilar made an awkward throw across his stomach, described by Todd Zeile in the SNY booth as “trying to throw a water balloon.” Ramos then hit a bullet back through the box that glanced off Claudio’s glove and instead became a rally-killing double play. Matz exited with two outs and nobody on in the bottom of the sixth having thrown 103 pitches. Robert Gsellman replaced him and Juan Lagares took over in center on the double-switch.
The offense now faced the daunting task of trying to solve Josh Hader before the last six outs were recorded. Hader got the first three with ease. The next three were a little more problematic. Conforto led off the ninth with a rope double into right center. Ramos drew a walk, Keon Broxton pinch-running for him. J.D. Davis hit for the pitcher and couldn’t catch up with Hader’s heater. Todd Frazier went down swinging, as well. That left it up to Amed Rosario, who was simply overmatched, ending the game chasing a 2-2 fastball.
It’s Zack Wheeler vs. Gio Gonzalez tomorrow night, 7:10 from Suds City.