Thursday, July 20, 2023

Quintana Debuts, But Mets' Bats Cool Off As They Can't Get Anything Off Kopech


Jose Quintana pitching to Eloy Jimenez in the first inning. Photo by Jason Schott.

The Mets failed to complete the sweep of the Chicago White Sox, as they dropped the finale of the three-game set, 6-2, on Thursday afternoon at Citi Field. 

This ended the Mets' winning streak at three games, and left them with a record of 45-51 as they head to Fenway Park for a three-game weekend series against the Red Sox.

Jose Quintana made his long-awaited Mets debut against one of his former teams, and he had a solid debut, as he went five innings, and allowed two runs (both earned) on six hits and no walks, with three strikeouts.

The Mets, who had put up 16 runs in the first two games of the series, couldn't get anything going against White Sox starter Michael Kopech, who entered with a record of 3-8 and a 4.47 ERA (earned run average).

Kopech went 5 2/3 innings, and allowed one run on two hits and four walks, with five strikeouts. Both hits he allowed were to Mets catcher Omar Narvaez, who singled in the third and hit a solo home run, his first as a Met, in the fifth.

It was a tough day for the Mets on the injury front. Before the game, the Mets placed Starling Marte on the 10-day injured list due to the migraines he’s been suffering from, retroactive to Monday. 

Then, after he bounced into a double play to end the third inning and came up lame at first base, Tommy Pham exited the game. This is costly for multiple reasons, as he is one of the Mets' best hitters, as entered Thursday hitting .274 with nine home runs and 35 RBI, and it's possible Pham could be moved at the trade deadline.

Chicago got the early lead in the top of the first as Tim Anderson singled and came in to score on a single from Eloy Jimenez. Then, in the second, Zach Remillard doubled and came in to score on a sacrifice fly to make it 2-0.

The Mets got one of those runs back on the Narvaez home run in the fifth inning, a blast into the bullpen in right field.

Quintana would not come out for the sixth inning, as he was at 77 pitches through five innings, and in came Drew Smith.

Luis Robert, Jr., bounced one to the left of first baseman Pete Alonso, and he could not corral it, so Robert, Jr. reached on the E3.

Jimenez followed with a single and Jake Burger walked to load the bases.

Yasmani Grandal then crushed one to right field, which was manned at this point by Jeff McNeil, who moved out there from second base when Pham exited and Mark Canha moved from right to left.

It went over McNeil's head, and in came Robert, Jr., and Jimenez. Then, after Remillard struck out, Oscar Colas hit one to deep left that Canha had to run back and caught on a leap, but it was still a sacrifice fly to make it 5-1 Chicago.

Elvis Andrus followed with another rocket to right field, which also got over McNeil, for a triple to bring in Grandal to open up a 6-1 lead, and that was all for Smith.

David Peterson, the starter who has shifted to the bullpen, came on and struck out Andrew Benintendi to end the long frame.

The Mets were only able to muster one run the rest of the way, in the eighth against Aaron Bummer, as Brandon Nimmo doubled and scored on an Alonso RBI single.

Kendall Graveman closed it out with a 1-2-3 ninth inning.

The Mets (45-51) finish this six-game homestand coming out of the All-Star Break with a 3-3 record, as they dropped two in the three-game set with the Dodgers before they took two out of three from the White Sox. They are 17 1/2 games out of first place in the National League East behind the Atlanta Braves (62-33). In the N.L. Wild Card race, they are seven behind the Philadelphia Phillies, who are 52-44, for the final of three spots, with Arizona and San Francisco, who are both 54-43, leading the way.

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