For the second straight night, the New York Mets could not figure out a way to quiet the bat of Boston Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez. He terrorized the Mets with two home runs, which provided the three of the four runs the Red Sox needed to escape Queens with a two-game sweep. Just like Wednesday’s loss Michael Conforto and Yoenis Cespedes failed to tie the game in the eighth inning.
Put some respect on Christian Vazquez! His four home runs are now tied for the league lead. pic.twitter.com/haYnUlwENK
— Fantasy Baseball Today (@FBTpod) July 31, 2020
The Mets would love that type of day from anyone in their lineup as all they could muster was three hits off Red Sox starter Martin Perez. Jeff McNeil provided two of them, and one of his hits brought in the only two Mets runs.
The biggest issue for the Mets is their inability to drive in runners with scoring position. They went 1-for-10 in those situations, leaving nine runners on base. There were too many strikeouts when a ball put in play could have resulted in a run. For such a powerful lineup, the Mets are struggling to make solid contact, and when they do, all they hit are singles.
The Red Sox had a game plan to neutralize the Mets’ power with breaking balls, and it paid off. When the Mets laid off or continued to foul off the breaking balls, they surprised them with a fastball and left them flat-footed.
Battle of the Lefties
Martin Perez and Steven Matz both did not have their best stuff but pitched well enough to deserve victories. Matz went 5.1 innings, allowing eight hits and three runs while striking out three batters. The two homers from Vazquez were the only extra-base hits Matz allowed.
Perez worked around trouble all night but kept the bats neutralized. Over 5.2 innings, he battled through two hits and four walks. Perez also struck out five on the night, a number higher than usual for him.
Bullpen Good, Diaz Bad
The Mets bullpen rebounded from their hiccups in Wednesday’s loss. Drew Smith and Jeurys Familia combined for 2.2 hitless innings in relief of Matz. They each struck out two batters, and both looked like they were in midseason form.
Jeurys Familia has put together a second consecutive solid relief effort. He has held the opposition scoreless in 3 of his 4 outings so far this season. #Mets
— Michael Baron (@michaelgbaron) July 31, 2020
Manager Luis Rojas turned to Edwin Diaz for the first time since his blown save on Saturday. Diaz looked awful and had no command of the strike zone. He walked two batters, hitting one, and allowing once run. It looked even worse when Paul Sewald came in two easily get the final two outs of the inning.
It was the same Diaz from 2019, and he looked mentally drained already. Once either Brad Brach or Jared Hughes returns from the COVID-19 injured list, there is no reason for Diaz to remain on the roster. Especially when the roster shrinks, there has to be a real consideration of removing Diaz and sending him to MCU Park to figure himself out.
The Mets hope to turn things around in Atlanta against the Braves. The same matchup from Sunday Night Baseball returns as Rick Porcello takes on Sean Newcomb in game one of their four-game weekend series. The first pitch is at 7:10 p.m. ET from Truist Park.