After spending the weekend cooped up inside their homes following a player and coach testing positive for COVID-19 last Thursday, the Mets resumed their season Tuesday.
They were quickly reminded of frustrations that don’t exist in quarantine: rain delays and runners left in scoring position.
The rain interrupted Game 1 of their doubleheader against the Marlins on Tuesday, but before and after the delay the Mets struggled to hit in timely spots and dropped the opener, 4-0, at Citi Field.
Rick Porcello gave up four runs in a three-inning start that was cut short by the rain. He didn’t get any support from his offense as the Mets left 11 men on base and went 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position. They had at least one base runner in each of the seven innings but failed to do anything with all the traffic.
The Mets (12-15) had won three straight games before getting shut down because of their two COVID-19 cases last week in Miami. They had also gotten hot at the plate — after struggling to hit with runners in scoring position for most of the season — making the unwanted layoff all the more frustrating.
The Marlins (13-11), who experienced a full-blown COVID-19 outbreak at the end of July that reached 18 players and two coaches, have since rebounded and are ahead of the Mets for second place in the NL East.
The Marlins jumped on Porcello in the top of the second inning to take a 3-0 lead. Brian Anderson led off the frame with a double into the left-field corner, and Porcello hit Jorge Alfaro with a sinker between recording two outs. Lewis Brinson then smoked a single up the middle to put the Marlins ahead 1-0.
Miguel Rojas followed with a sharp single to right field, driving in two more runs to make it 3-0.
After the Mets left a pair of runners on base in the bottom of the second, the Marlins scratched across another run in the third. Porcello struck out the first two batters, but then gave up another double to Anderson on a fly ball to deep center field that Brandon Nimmo could not flag down. Lewin Diaz then drove Anderson in on a single for the 4-0 lead.
Porcello needed 64 pitches to get through three innings.
The game then came to a halt before the bottom of the third as the grounds crew rolled out the tarp with dark clouds hovering. Moments later, the tarp came undone as violent winds swept through the stadium and sent the grounds crew scrambling to pin it down before torrential rain and thunderstorms set in.
Porcello did not return after the 65-minute rain delay. The free-agent signee had posted back-to-back strong starts in his first two outings of August and was in the midst of another last Sunday in Philadelphia before getting tagged for three runs in the sixth inning of a 6-2 loss. The big inning hurt him again Tuesday, this time coming earlier in his night.
Corey Oswalt relieved Porcello to begin the fourth inning. He quickly got some help when Dom Smith ended the frame with a leaping catch at the wall in left field to rob Rojas of extra bases. Oswalt was able to get through four innings to finish off the rest of the game, saving the Mets’ bullpen arms for Game 2 and the rest of their busy week.
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