The two teams played at two different locations in the Northeast on Tuesday night, both trying to improve their chances of winning this tight NL East race.
A team played like it wanted the title. Others played like they weren’t ready for it yet.
The Mets entered the day with just a 1.0-game lead over the Atlanta Braves in the NL East and opened a two-game series against the Miami Marlins at Citi Field. What could go wrong?
Carlos Carrasco’s start went all wrong and the bats went cold against Pablo Lopez. The Mets lost 6-4 while the Braves overcame an early two-run deficit in Washington to beat the Nationals 8-2.
The Mets (97-58) have spent all but two days of the season leading the NL East, but their own loss and Atlanta’s win have them tied for first place.
The Mets’ best chance to come back came in the fourth inning when Pete Alonso, the co-NL Player of the Week, hit a three-run shot off Lopez (10-10) to cut a 4-0 deficit. Just one run. That briefly helped spark a brutal four-run home run by Carrasco (15-7), but the Marlins (64-90) came back in the fifth on two more runs by Trevor Williams.
After singling with two outs in the eighth, Jeff McNeill scored on a strange series of events. Incredibly, Marlins pitcher Richard Blair fired three straight batters to give the Mets a run. Marlins manager Don Mattingly was ejected after a heated argument with the umpires, and Blair had to be held back after Alonso grounded out.
Alonso’s earlier contribution was notable as it was his 40th home run of the season. He became the first player in Mets history to hit multiple 40-home run seasons (2019 and 2022) and continued to add to his single-season team RBI record, which now stands at 31.
The polar bear has been incredibly effective for the Mets in recent weeks, with five home runs and 16 RBIs in his last seven games. But Alonso couldn’t undo Carrasco’s three-inning loss on his own.
Carrasco immediately got himself into trouble, striking out Miguel Rojas, the second batter of the game, and allowing back-to-back singles to load the bases with one out. A fly ball by Brian De La Cruz scored Rosas and Brian Anderson later scored on a wild pitch.
The second inning wasn’t much better with two singles and an error by Eduardo Escobar leading into the third when Blade, who entered the game hitting just .168, crushed a two-run homer over the right-field fence. . . The long ball wasn’t particularly long, traveling only 339 feet, but it was long enough to give the Fish a 4-0 lead.
Lopez allowed just one home run, striking out five and walking none in six innings of work. He didn’t allow a baserunner until the fourth inning when Brandon Nimmo sliced a leadoff single up the middle.
Williams gave up two earned runs on three hits in two innings. David Patterson and Tyler Magill fared much better out of the bullpen, with Patterson tossing two scoreless innings. Closer Edwin Diaz, who was not needed all weekend, pitched a scoreless ninth.
Dylan Floro recorded the save for the Marlins, his eighth of the season.
The Mets will have to make postseason roster decisions soon, and the outings by Carrasco and Williams weren’t particularly encouraging. It was a must-win game for the Mets and possibly Carrasco as well, and everyone involved failed. The pressure to win on Wednesday has suddenly increased.