Drawing Positives From a Casual Loss

Always take the best parts back...

Ya can’t win ‘em all. Though, Tuesday night’s loss in Cincinnati felt like one the Mets could have stolen.

In a game where New York lost their spot starter after one inning and found themselves in an early hole again, the customary fight we’ve seen in this team over the first half of the season was apparent. It just wasn’t enough.

Robert Stock allowed a leadoff homer to the scorching Jonathan India, tying the game at one after Pete Alonso put the Mets ahead in the top half with his 18th home run of the season.

That was Meat’s 13th dinger in 180 plate appearances since returning from the injured list on May 31, which would be a 50.6-homer pace over a full season. Love to see that.

The big righty did have one standout moment (at least to us) in his brief outing. On an 0-2 pitch to Tyler Naquin with one out in the first, the right-hander eeked a 99 MPH four-seamer inside about an inch off of the plate to get the lefty swinging.

Wasting no pitches. Spicy…

Stock exited with right hamstring tightness while warming up for the second after running out a ground ball in the top half of the inning. He will be re-evaluated on Wednesday, per acting manager Dave Jauss.

This team just can’t catch a break in their rotation these days. Either guys are dropping like flies or — as we saw from Taijuan Walker and Marcus Stroman recently — they can’t all be gems.

Thankfully for New York, the next-man-up mentality that spread its way through the veins of the positional roster as the injured were piling up has also made its way into the psyche of the pitching staff.

Stephen Nogosek, making his season debut after having his contract selected by the Mets on Monday, pitched well considering the circumstances.

Over three innings of work, the 26-year-old right-hander struck out five without a walk, allowing two runs on three hits, with back-to-back home runs from Joey Votto and Aristides Aquino in the third representing the extent of the damage.

Nogosek’s four-seamer (30 offerings) drew four swings-and-misses and eight called strikes, which is extremely encouraging.

Per Statcast, his slider and curveball exhibit similar observed spin directions (think in the 8-to-10 o’clock range on a watch face) — which has tons of potential to keep batters guessing — and his changeup looked crisp, as well.

“I think I made two bad pitches and the rest I executed well,” Nogosek said after the loss. “Even my misses were good misses. At the end of the day, in a situation like that, you gotta give the team a chance to win. I thought I did that. I think nine times out of 10 we come back and win that ballgame.”

“Overall, I thought I threw the ball well,” he said. “I thought I competed. I thought I attacked. Two bad pitches.”

We concur. There were more good things happening if you looked close enough.

Simply Amazin' Ep. 112

Right-hander Yennsy Diaz had another solid outing, contributing a scoreless fifth, working around a Jesse Winker one-out single with a strikeout and two groundball outs.

The 24-year-old threw eight changeups, picking up four called strikes on those offerings. Since giving up three earned runs against Atlanta on June 22, Diaz has allowed just one earned run over his last four appearances. Good stuff.

Geoff Hartlieb, the 27-year-old right-hander New York picked up on DFA waivers from Pittsburgh earlier in the month, chipped in an inning-and-a-third of one-run work, leaving two stranded in the sixth.

Aaron Loup allowed a run to cross in relief of Hartlieb on Tyler Stephenson’s double-play sacrifice fly out (yup, that’s actually how it was scored) in the seventh, extending Cincy’s lead to 4-2.

Though, it could have been a more dastardly frame for the Mets. After a Votto single and a base-on-balls issued to Aquino, the young slugger inexplicably tried to tag up at first base on a fly out to Conforto in right.

Jeff McNeil (extended his hit streak to nine games; .324/.395/.441 over 38 PA) took the relay, applied the tag on the lost-in-space baserunner, and ended the inning. Those are the breaks the Mets have caught and run with this season. Not on Tuesday.

James McCann singled with one out in the eighth and came home on Luis Guillorme’s poke shot down the line in left field to cut the Reds’ lead to 4-3. Almost there.

Dominic Smith drew a leadoff walk in the ninth, but Amir Garrett retired the next three Mets he faced to end the threat and shut the door. Ah, rats.

Brandon Nimmo’s strikeout capped an 0-for-4, four-strikeout night for the recently aflame leadoff hitter. If that’s not a clear example of Tuesday just being one of those nights, we’re not sure what is.

The Irrepressible New York Mets

After the game, Alonso spoke about this team’s gutsy identity, as well as its ever-present ability to find the positives in the inevitable losses they’ll face over the course of 162.

“We had to hit to help our bullpen out and our bullpen did an absolutely incredible job of filling up the strike zone, getting big outs when they needed to. We didn't score as many runs as we did last night, but that’s alright. We were in it the entire time.

We were just one swing away from tying the ballgame. We put ourselves in a position to win. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen. But our bullpen did an absolutely helluva job tonight.”

Gotta find those positives. Daytime baseball on Wednesday! LFGM.

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