Noah Syndergaard did his part, but the bullpen spoiled multiple comeback opportunities, conceding insurance runs just at the right time for the Mets, as the Dodgers dropped the rubber match 5-3 Wednesday, falling to to 9-10 on the season.
The Dodgers lost four of six games on the homestand.
An early ejection to Max Scherszer over foreign substance usage gave the Dodgers plenty of chances to punish the Mets bullpen, but Jimmy Yacabonis was the unsung hero for the Mets, holding down the fort, recording eight outs to bridge the gap to David Robertson and Adam Ottavino
Syndergaard delivers a quality performance against familiar faces
Syndergaard has shown an extreme reliance on the changeup to succeed early on this season, and it was rather encouraging to see him navigate a game without great success on that pitch.
The Dodgers’ starter tossed six innings, allowing a couple of earned runs on five hits and two walks. Syndergaard’s changeup was still his most thrown pitch but only generated two whiffs on 12 swings, and that’s reflected in his strikeouts mark, over the entire game (only 2).
Surrendering only three hard-hit balls on the day, Syndergaard worked through some traffic to keep the offense in the game, despite leaving on the hook for the loss, as Brandon Nimmo jumped one of those poor changeups for a two-run bomb in the sixth.
Brandon Nimmo gives the Mets the lead with a two-run homer! pic.twitter.com/aExu85RaAm— SNY (@SNYtv) April 19, 2023
It was a big day for Nimmo at the plate, as the Mets centerfielder went 5 for 5, the second five-hit game of his career, spearheading this win to give the series W to the visiting Mets.
Alex Vesia’s woes continue as the bullpen looks very vulnerable
Vesia’s tally of hits allowed this season jumped to 17, and that number is telling as it matches the number of hits he allowed over 40 frames in his first season with eh Dodgers (2021).
The left-hander has left three of his last four appearances with the bases loaded, and although Yency Almonte managed to bail him out, getting Mark Canha to end the threat in the seventh, Almonte himself created another jam, that allowed the Mets to tack on an insurance run, as he came back out for the eighth inning, and left after allowing the first two hitters to reach base.
Justin Bruihl minimized the damage, allowing only a run, but with Vesia and Almonte both not looking right early in the season, the Dodgers all of a sudden find themselves in a difficult spot with their bullpen management.
Shelby Miller experienced his first bad outing in a Dodger uniform, allowing a couple of runs on an RBI double from Canha in the ninth inning, increasing the Mets lead to 5-2.
Scherzer ejected, and Marte left the game early
For the first time after his brief stint with the Dodgers in the second half of 2021, the future Hall of Famer returned to Chavez Ravine, and the afternoon albeit short was very eventful for the right-hander as he got ejected after three innings, presumably over the usage of illegal foreign substances.
As is often the case, and particularly in a season in which Scherzer isn’t off to the hottest of starts, boasting a 4.41 ERA over three starts, the Dodgers had a chance to pounce early, as Scherzer struggled to find his rhythm in the first, with a couple of walks to load the bases, after James Outman began the game with a single.
However, Scherzer was able to strike out Jason Heyward and then get Miguel Vargas on a first to end the threat.
A couple of innings in, Scherzer was asked by the umpire crew to change his glove, as during an inspection of the glove it was determined that it was particularly sticky. Then, as the Mets’ starter went back out there for the fourth inning, the crew still wasn’t satisfied with the outlook of the situation, and thus ejected Scherzer.
In a rotation that has dealt with more than its fair share of injury woes, with Justin Verlander and José Quintana yet to pitch this year, and Carrasco recently placed on the IL, needing to cover six frames with Scherzer out early was a particularly tough issue for Buck Showalter.
However, despite allowing a sac fly to David Peralta, Yacabonis was extremely helpful for the visiting team, covering eight outs, coming in relief, in what’s always a difficult scenario, and needing to warm up in the field mound.
To pile on for the Mets' problems, Starling Marte also left the game in the middle innings, replaced by Mark Canha, and as of right now, there is no word on what the issue was.
An intentional walk in the eighth highlighted depth problem with the lineup
The Dodgers threatened a comeback in the eighth inning. Down 3-1, Freeman reached with one out, via walk, and was promptly driven in by JD Martinez. Max Muncy came up as the go-ahead run, but with Heyward and a struggling Vargas to follow, Showalter gave the intentional walk to Muncy, putting the go-ahead run on, and took his chances.
Heyward popped up on the next pitch, and David Robertson proceeded to eliminate Vargas.
It goes without saying, but Mookie Betts and Will Smith can’t return soon enough, as this is a completely different lineup without them.
Home runs: David Peralta (1); Brandon Nimmo (1)
WP — Jimmy Yacabonis (2-0): 2⅔ IP, 2 hits, 1 run, 1 walk, 1 strikeout
LP — Noah Syndergaard (0-3): 6 IP, 5 hits, 2 runs, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts
Sv — Adam Ottavino (3): 1 IP, 1 hit, 1 run, 1 strikeout
The Dodgers move onto Chicago for a four-game series at Wrigley Field. Michael Grove starts Thursday’s series opener (4:40 p.m. PT; SportsNet LA, MLB Network), facing Jameson Taillon in a rematch of last Saturday at Dodger Stadium.