Cardinals vs. Mets: Offense sputters, Colon sparks Mets offense in 3-2 loss

Bartolo Colon: secretly an offensive juggernaut - Scott Kane-USA TODAY Sports

Bartolo Colon stymied the Cardinals hitters today and hit his first extra-base hit ever to begin a Mets rally. Cardinals had a late comeback attempt, but failed when the Mets ignored convention for a lefty-lefty matchup.

Bartolo Colon is a frustrating pitcher to face.  On the one hand, he's actually been a good pitcher.  In the past three years, he's been worth 8.1 fWAR with an ERA 4.00 or lower each season.  On the other hand, the way he's been good is one where you can't imagine how he's been successful.  He throws slow and throws a bunch of strikes.  He's like Seth Maness in bizarro world, except he's 41-years-old.  For this game, it was doubly frustrating, because it wasn't even like he pitched that good.

The game started off with a Matt Carpenter home run.  And the Cardinals didn't score again until the 9th inning with 2 outs on an Allen Craig infield hit.  In between, the Cardinals only had six baserunners, three of which were removed from a double play ball.  Colon faced the minimum amount of hitters in five of the eight innings he pitched, and that's not including the three straight outs he got after Carpenter homered.  Despite that marvelous string, he only struck out one batter.

On the pitching side of things, Lance Lynn pitched five strong innings and had a tough 6th inning, which was created by Colon hitting his first career extra-base hit.  It's hard to blame Lynn for giving up a double to Colon because 1) it was extremely lucky and 2) there was no reason to pitch Colon particularly tough - just get him out as soon as possible and get to the next batter.  Nonetheless, Eric Young Jr. followed with a double of his own and David Wright later singled him home.  After Craig threw out Wright attempting to make it to second, Lynn promptly walked the next two hitters before striking out Lucas Duda.

Lynn went six innings with two earned runs with 5 Ks and 4 BBs.  Overall, it wasn't a great start, but usually that will be enough to win.  So much for the narrative that Lynn gets all the run support.  In his last four starts, he's received four runs from the offense - total.  And Lynn has a 3.38 ERA in his last four starts, including three starts now where he had two runs or less allowed.  So let's let that narrative die a quick death please.

The bullpen was also ok, not great.  Through three innings, they allowed one run.  Seth Maness came in and allowed two line drives, one to Wilmer Flores, the other to Eric Young Jr. (who doubled) giving the Mets a 3-1 lead.  Randy Choate came in and struck out Daniel Murphy to end that inning and then pitched a 1-2-3 8th inning as well adding another strikeout to his day.  Jason Motte pitched the 9th and looked a little shaky.  He got behind on three of the four batters he faced, but despite that he pitched a scoreless inning (with no walks or strikeouts, but a hit allowed.)

The Cardinals, down 3-1, had one of those 9th innings where it seemed obvious (to me at least) that they would comeback just close enough to still lose.  Matt Carpenter led off with a double (ISO boost!), followed by Jon Jay getting hit by a pitch.  Matt Holliday hit into one of those three double plays by the Cardinals, suddenly killing the potential rally.  After Craig hit a slow roller infield hit, Matt Adams grounded out to the shortstop area of the field to David Wright on the massive shift.

WPA Graph


Source: FanGraphs

Notes

- Player of the game has to go to Matt Carpenter.  He went 2-4 with a homer and a double.  Nobody else got a hit twice (although Jay got on base twice thanks to a HBP) and the pitching side was merely average.

- Randy Choate has impressed me.  6.05 ERA notwithstanding, he now has a 3.37 xFIP with his 2 K performance today.

- Bartolo Colon hit a double.  That was a thing that happened today and it was a large reason we lost.

- Jenrry Mejia, the Mets current closer, was struggling with Matt Adams at the plate and two outs.  So they brought in a left-handed specialist to face him.  Think Matheny does that with Trevor Rosenthal?  Uh no.

Tomorrow, the Cardinals face the suddenly red-hot Philadelphia Phillies.  The Phillies are coming off a sweep of the Atlanta Braves and have won 7 of their last 10.  The Cardinals have Shelby Miller going up against... David Buchanan.  Alright not going to lie, I've never heard of that guy.  But he has a 5.97 ERA, a 5.43 FIP, and a... 3.66 xFIP so anything can happen.

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