Mets drop 5th straight as nightmare September nears end

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In one of the more predictable outcomes of the season, the Mets lost 8-4 to the Brewers on Sunday in Milwaukee, looking hapless against a strong starting pitcher and watching in horror as Carlos Carrasco messed up the first inning again.

Milwaukee’s win clinched the NL Central for the home team, giving the Mets an opportunity to observe a division-winning celebration that they looked destined for themselves during their 90-day run atop the NL East. At least this time the Mets don’t have to keep up the facade that things might turn around tomorrow, as they’ve been mathematically eliminated from the playoff picture, putting a merciful end to the notion that their corpse is still alive.

“It’s just everything not working right,” manager Luis Rojas said of his team’s recent play, while pointing out Javy Baez and Aaron Loup as positives. “We can hit every single area, and it hasn’t been right. Our overall game has been trending down.”

On this, the first day of liberation from potential postseason discussions, Francisco Lindor opened the show with a second-deck home run in the top of the first, his 18th long ball of the year.

That lead would hold for all of a few minutes.

Carrasco strutted to the mound with a head full of question marks, wondering why he’s been decimated so often in the first inning. This start didn’t provide any answers, in fact, it only extended the narrative that he can’t pitch in the first. Kolten Wong drew a walk in the Brewers’ very first plate appearance, and Willy Adames followed with a no doubter into the clouds to reclaim the lead for Milwaukee.

Christian Yelich followed with a single but was unable to score as Carrasco began to settle down a bit. Still, the bottom of the first was an excruciating viewing experience, as Carrasco faced seven hitters and raised his first-inning ERA to an unfathomable 14.73.

“I tried to be too cute in there,” Carrasco said of Sunday’s first inning. “That’s why I missed a lot of spots. Watching the video after I came out of the game, you can see the right pitch. I tried to put the pitches there instead of going out and throwing it, that’s where I got hurt.”

Milwaukee tacked on three more in the second inning, as back-to-back walks to Wong and Adames loaded the bases. Yelich chopped an RBI groundout and Eduardo Escobar jumped on the second pitch of the at-bat for a two-run single. Trailing 5-1 — with the Midwest crowd thirsting to see the Brewers clinch at home firmly against them, as well as the eternal wrath of the baseball gods — the Mets clawed back to within one run.

Baez torched a Freddy Peralta slider into left field for a fourth-inning double, scoring two runs and extending his hitting streak to 10 games. Baez now has 14 RBI in September, a month in which he’s hitting .373/.458/.614. The game, and the Mets’ defense, fell apart in the sixth inning, though. Two heinous defensive plays essentially handed the NL Central title to Milwaukee, as the Brew Crew’s lead puffed up to 8-4 after a pair of infield errors.

With runners on second and third, Adames grounded to third. Jonathan Villar looked home and appeared ready to throw there, but his body didn’t cooperate. Villar was unable to get the ball out of his glove in time, and when he finally got it to his throwing hand, first baseman Pete Alonso was unprepared for the ball to come his way. Alonso was out of position and had to scramble his feet to get back to the bag, where the ball got away from him and allowed Adames to take second. The error went to Villar but could have easily been credited to Alonso, who couldn’t find a Band-Aid to stop the bleeding.

Two batters later, with Loup now on the mound and two outs in the bag, Escobar smashed a ball to shortstop. Lindor gloved it nicely deep in the hole and went with the one-hop throw to first. The ball did more of a skip than a bounce, handcuffing Alonso on what was still a makeable play. Instead of ending the madness, it became a two-run throwing error on Lindor that doubled the Brewers’ lead.

“Committing three errors has been typical in a lot of our games lately,” Rojas stated after the Mets’ trio of miscues on Sunday. “I talked about taking care of the baseball, we haven’t done that.”

The Mets got nothing going against the Brewers’ bullpen, waving at relievers Brent Suter, Aaron Ashby, Devin Williams and Josh Hader for 3.2 innings and coming up completely empty. Alonso had a chance to make things interesting against Ashby in the seventh, but he struck out swinging with two ducks on the pond.

At approximately 6:09 eastern time, the Brewers wrapped things up, sending their bench and beer-soaked stadium into elation, while the Mets were probably searching for sedation as they realized they went winless on their five-game road trip.

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