New York Daily News
TIME TO SPLIT
Mets salvage nightcap after dragging through opener in St. Louis
If the purpose of these seven-inning doubleheaders is to save time, the Mets’ Game 1 loss to the Cardinals definitely tested that logic. It got better for them in the second game of the twin-bill Wednesday evening in St. Louis, when their offense decided to wake up.
The 4-1 defeat in Game 1 at Busch Stadium came amid a lack of offense, messy play, some long balls and one incredibly tedious half of a fourth inning, which included three delays by the Cards.
The Mets’ 7-2 victory later was much more straightforward.
“It was a lot better,” Luis Rojas said. “From the walks we drew to putting the ball in play . ... I thought the guys took some quality at bats as a whole.”
In the first game, the Mets and Cards struggled to get out of the top of the fourth after three delays stalled play. First it was the Cards trying to figure out whether a visit to the mound by their Korean translator was an official visit. Then it was waiting for catcher Andrew Knizner to recover after getting hit in his private parts with a ball during James McCann’s at-bat.
And if those two delays weren’t ridiculous enough, umpires then had to review whether Nolan Arenado had indeed gotten an out at third after dropping a grounder on which he attempted to turn a double play.
All the while, the bases had been loaded with Michael Conforto, Kevin Pillar and Jeff McNeil.
The fans booed as the inning dragged. Unfortunately for the Mets, that was about as exciting as it would get and it only amounted to one run for them.
“It was almost like the guys didn’t have a good plan at the plate for this one,” Rojas said after Game 1.
Conforto, made it home during the contested Arenado play.
Fielding ultimately doomed the Mets. Francisco Lindor and Pete Alonso both committed errors. Arenado, who reached on a throwing error by Lindor in the fifth inning, helped bring in a run when notorious Met killer Paul DeJong mashed a ball into the bullpen in left center.
“I’m not worried about his defense at all,” Rojas said of Lindor. “I don’t think both are going
together now because of his offensive struggles.”
Starter Marcus Stroman didn’t blame Lindor for the added runner and was quick to defend him.
“At the end of the day, that’s all on me,” Stroman said. “I gotta make a better pitch in that scenario. I trust my defense wholeheartedly, each and every time I’m out there. Lindor’s made incredible plays for me already.”
Stroman was tagged for four runs, two earned, on seven hits with a walk and six strikeouts over five innings, increasing his ERA from 1.86 to 2.12. That included the two long balls he gave up — a solo in the first and a two-run bomb in the fifth that extended the Cards’ lead to 4-1.
“At the end of the day, I don’t think I was good enough out there,” Stroman said. “Over the course of five, I didn’t feel like I had it together. Just build from here and go on to the next start.”
The Amazin’s employed the opener system for the first time in the second game, going through five pitchers over the seven-inning game.
They slotted in Miguel Castro, who pitched a scoreless first, then passed the ball to recently called up righty Jordan Yamamoto. Aaron Loup, Trevor May and Robert Gsellman rounded out the group. Yamamoto and Gsellman were tagged with the two Cardinal runs.
In the second inning, Dominic Smith led off with a single, which was followed by a Pillar double. Smith scored when Cards’ starter Yohan Oviedo dealt a wild pitch to Tomas Nido, who then followed with a two-run shot over the left-center field wall.
The Mets pulled away in the fourth when Jonathan Villar, playing shortstop in place of Lindor — who was removed from the starting lineup for Game 2 — knocked another long ball to left. The Mets continued to lay it on the Cards in the fifth and seventh behind Pillar and Villar’s bat.
After notching two RBI each, the pair will likely see more consistent playing time with J.D. Davis, Brandon Nimmo and super utility man Luis Guillorme all on the IL.