Yes, the Mets are still very much technically alive in the National League pennant race. Even though they lost again to the Blue Jays in Buffalo, they’re still only two games back of the final playoff spot because the San Francisco Giants lost both ends of their doubleheader in San Diego. However, it’s still hard to take the Mets seriously when they lose the way that they do.
This time they failed to take advantage of a solid David Peterson outing. The rookie allowed just two runs in five innings, but Brad Brach and Jared Hughes let the game get away as soon as Peterson left. The Mets scored early off of Blue Jays ace Hyun Jin Ryu on Dominic Smith’s RBI single, but Toronto struck back in the second inning with a two-run home run by Lourdes Gurriel Jr.
After that, it was a stalemate until the sixth inning, and that shouldn’t have been a bad thing for the Mets. They have an offense that can erupt at any moment and is more than capable of late-inning comebacks. The problem came when Brad Brach relieved Peterson and walked the first three batters he faced. That prompted Luis Rojas to replace Brach with Jared Hughes, a pitcher who had 11 walks and five hit batsmen in 16 innings before Sunday.
Those stats indicate that Hughes is more of a gasoline can than a fireman, and the rest of the sixth inning played out appropriately. Hughes walked Jonathan Villar to give Toronto an insurance run and then allowed a bases-clearing double to Santiago Espinal to ensure that the Mets would not recover.
Cool! At least New York sports fans had NFL football to distract themselves from bad baseball. Not really, though. The before the Mets even took the field, the New York Jets had fallen three touchdowns behind the Buffalo Bills. The Jets would never get within seven points of New York State’s top professional football team. Bills quarterback Josh Allen played into the preseason hype by completing 33 of 46 passes for 312 yards with two touchdowns and another score on the ground.
I’m a Giants fan, so I only have a few more hours of 0-0 bliss before my guys take the field and ruin everything. But maybe they won’t? Daniel Jones is coming off a strong rookie campaign and has young weapons at his disposal in Saquon Barkley and Darius Slayton. Plus, first round draft pick Andrew Thomas promises to have an immediate impact on the offensive line.
Still, the defense is still a work-in-progress, and I fear it will be taken advantage of by Pittsburgh’s experienced offense. Thanks to starting cornerback Deandre Baker being a criminal, the Giants have to start Corey Ballentine, a seventh round draft pick in 2019. There’s also very little depth at inside linebacker, where Blake Martinez was brought in as a free agent. Starting next to him will be Devante Downs, who has only really played on special teams before. And the backups are two rookie seventh round picks!
There is more to be excited about at defensive line and safety, where last year’s impressive rookies Dexter Lawrence and Julian Love look to build off their debut seasons. You can see the defense starting to build into something decent, but there are still too many major holes to think that this is a playoff-caliber unit.
Tonight I think the Giants (+5.5) will score enough to hang with Pittsburgh, and I’ll take the Broncos (+3.0) to defeat the Titans on a last-minute Drew Lock touchdown drive.