The Mets’ magical 2022 season ended with a whimper on Sunday evening. Facing a decisive Game 3 within the wild-card round against the San Diego Padres, the Mets did not deliver on the promise of their 101-win regular season, sputtering on the plate and on the mound, and drawing the ire of their opponent along the way in which.
Chris Bassitt, the Mets’ starting pitcher, couldn’t overcome the Padres’ lineup within the 6-0 loss. His teammates couldn’t muster successful until the fifth inning, and it was the Mets’ just one. Together with his offense held in check your entire night by the Padres’ All-Star starter Joe Musgrove, Mets Manager Buck Showalter asked the umpires to examine Musgrove, whose ears were shiny, for a foreign substance within the sixth inning.
The umpires examined Musgrove’s hat and glove, and rubbed his ears. They found nothing awry and let Musgrove, who looked annoyed, proceed pitching. Fans, nevertheless, chanted “cheater! cheater!” as Musgrove pitched.
After he struck out Mets catcher Tomás Nido for the second out of the inning, Musgrove gestured toward the opposing dugout. When Mets center fielder Brandon Nimmo flew out for the ultimate out, Musgrove walked toward his dugout cupping his left ear. As fans booed, Manny Machado, the Padres’ star third baseman, waved his arms toward the group as if to signal for more.
“I’ve seen him do it before, checking the pitcher,” Musgrove said of Showalter during an on-field interview after the sport. “I get it, dude, they’re on their last legs, they’re desperate, they’re doing anything they will to get me out of the sport at that time. It’s what it’s.”
Musgrove acknowledged that the inspection ended up providing him with some extra motivation. “Opportunity to stay it to him slightly bit, to stay it to the group,” he said. “I took it after which I needed to get back to work.”
In his postgame news conference, Showalter said he respects Musgrove and that there have been “some pretty obvious reasons” for checking, though he didn’t elaborate on them.
“I’m charged with doing what’s best for the Recent York Mets,” he said. “If it makes me look nevertheless it makes me look or whatever, I’m going to do it each time and live with the results.”
Whether the substance check was simply gamesmanship or not, it didn’t matter. Musgrove, who allowed one hit and just one walk over seven scoreless innings, and the Padres were unfazed. They accomplished the victory and advanced to the subsequent round to face the Los Angeles Dodgers, the perfect team in baseball and winners of a team-record 111 regular-season games.
Making their first trip to the postseason since 2016, the Mets were the favorites heading into the series. They won 12 more games than the Padres in the course of the regular season and had a run differential (runs scored minus runs allowed) of plus-166 in comparison with the Padres’ plus-45.
However the Mets, with the best payroll in Major League Baseball at $288 million, were outpitched by Yu Darvish in Game 1 on Friday and Musgrove in Game 3. Max Scherzer, the Mets’ ace, turned within the worst postseason start of his profession in Game 1 while Bassitt, who had a 3.42 E.R.A. in the course of the regular season, gave up three runs over 4 innings.
“They only flat out beat us,” first baseman Pete Alonso said.
As an alternative of flying to Los Angeles, the Mets will go their separate ways ahead of a protracted off-season of much potential change. Several key players are eligible at no cost agency or might be based on options of their contracts: relievers Seth Lugo, Trevor May and Adam Ottavino; the star closer Edwin Díaz; Nimmo; and four-fifths of the starting rotation — Carlos Carrasco, Taijuan Walker, Bassitt and the ace Jacob deGrom, who has said he’ll exercise the opt-out clause in his contract extension.
Had the Mets simply won yet another game in the course of the regular season, they’d have been in a greater position entering the postseason. But they collapsed down the stretch.
The Mets led their division, the N.L. East, for your entire season except six days, most of them at the tip. After a slow start, defending World Series champion Atlanta swept the Mets in the course of the final weekend of the regular season, took possession of the division lead and won the season series to realize the tiebreaker. So though each teams finished with 101 wins, Atlanta earned a first-round bye to the best-of-five division series and the Mets needed to play within the wild-card round. And three days into the postseason, the Mets were done.
From the beginning of Sunday’s game, the Mets were in trouble. Bassitt, a right-hander, was the right matchup for the Padres, who struggled to consistently produce offense in the course of the season, especially against hard-throwing pitchers. Against pitches of no less than 94 miles per hour, the Padres posted a .346 slugging percentage, the third worst in baseball this season. They did significantly better against lower speeds.
Over his 181 ⅔ innings in the course of the regular season, Bassitt averaged 93 m.p.h. on his fastball and relied on a repertoire of six different pitches to neutralize batters. On Sunday, he averaged between 92 and 93 m.p.h., and the Padres took advantage.
Josh Bell, the Padres’ first baseman, singled to guide off the second inning. Shortstop Ha-Seong Kim and center fielder Trent Grisham each walked with two outs to load the bases. After fouling off three pitches, catcher Austin Nola cracked a two-run ground ball single to left field for a 2-0 Padres lead.
Slowly, the Padres kept chipping away at Bassitt, repeatedly calling for timeout perhaps to mess together with his timing. After Kim drew a two-out walk within the fourth inning, he stole second base to get into scoring position for Grisham. Booed as he stepped to the plate, Grisham smoked a Bassitt cutter for a single that gave the Padres a 3-0 lead and quieted Citi Field.
Through the regular season, Grisham was a below average hitter and posted a .184 batting average. Through the series against the Mets, he home runs in Games 1 and a pair of, drove in a run in each game and played strong defense.
With 4 innings complete, Bassitt was faraway from the sport and replace by the left-hander David Peterson. The Padres did more of the identical to him: a single by left fielder Jurickson Profar, a sacrifice bunt by right fielder Juan Soto and a run-scoring single by Machado for a 4-0 lead. Soto’s two-run single within the eighth off Díaz put the sport further out of reach.
On the plate, the Mets did next to nothing. Their first and only hit of the night was by Alonso to guide off the underside of the fifth inning. When Starling Marte grounded out to Machado against Josh Hader for the ultimate out of the sport, the Mets watched in silence because the Padres celebrated on the sector. A season that when seemed different was over early.