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Game 44 Recap: Mets 3 Brewers 1

Best & Worst Play: It turns out that Noah Syndergaard fella can pitch pretty well. Across seven innings, he allowed a lone run on six hits and no walks, while piling up 11 strikeouts. Once the Mets took the lead with a two-run fourth inning, the Brewers’ win expectancy never rose above 40 percent. The closest the Brewers came to a comeback was in the seventh inning, Syndergaard’s last; however, the home team quickly defused their effort.

Leading off the frame, Hernan Perez hit a first-pitch single to right. He’d promptly advance to second base on a wild pitch. Then with a 2-2 count, Presley fired a fastball into left field, putting runners on the corners with no one out. The latter hit (+.117) improved the Brewers’ chances of victory from 24.3 to 36.0 percent. With a spark from the bottom of the order, Milwaukee might have pulled ahead.

They didn’t, though, primarily because of what happened next. Syndergaard’s first pitch to Ramon Flores bounced in front of the plate and briefly got away from Rene Rivera. Presley took off for second, hoping to put two runners in scoring position. But Rivera quickly recovered the errant curveball and gunned down Presley. The TOOTBLAN (-.151) brought the Brewers’ win probability down to 21.0 percent. Once Flores went down on strikes and Aaron Hill grounded out, the Mets cruised to victory.

Presley is the sort of player you often find on island-of-misfit-toys-style rebuilding clubs. He’s accumulated 1.4 career WARP over 1,189 plate appearances, a solid bat negated by inconsistent work in the field. Fringe players like him need to excel at the little things to make the most of their limited opportunities and stick around. While Presley hadn’t made a baserunning error with the Brewers prior to this play, it still cost them — and, in all likelihood, it will cost him at some point down the road.

Trend to Watch: For the team with the worst rotation in baseball by any metric, the presence of anything resembling a major league-caliber starter is a welcome sight. And for the third outing in a row, Chase Anderson has held his own against a hard-hitting offense. After giving up three runs in six innings to the Marlins and coming within one out of a two-run complete game against the Cubs, he allowed three runs in five frames on Sunday. He’s struck out 22.2 percent of opposing batters and issued free passes at a 5.6 percent clip in this span; both of those marks have improved significantly from his first six starts.

As he stumbled his way to a 6.44 ERA in the early going of 2016, Anderson didn’t rely on his four-seam fastball that much. It constituted 29.0 percent of his pitches, and the most often he threw it was 37.3 percent of the time versus the Cardinals. Over his last three games, though, he’s deployed the four-seamer for 44.9 percent of his pitches. His bread-and-butter pitch as a Diamondback has made a comeback, and it looks like the solid pitching it brought may have returned as well.

Anderson still has a 3.66 ERA in this trio of starts, as hitters have continued to pound him for home runs. He’ll need to keep the ball in the yard — never an easy task for a Brewers hurler — to become an actual, factual starting pitcher. Still, going back to his four-seam fastball can only help. Maybe the long balls will dissipate, and Milwaukee will finally have someone to anchor the rotation.

Up Next: The Brew Crew gets a day off, then heads to Atlanta for the second half of their NL East road trip. The series begins at 6:10 CST when Jimmy Nelson and Julio Teheran take the mound. Junior Guerra will look to sustain his success on Wednesday when he squares off against Mike Foltynewicz, and Wily Peralta and Matt Wisler will wrap things up on Thursday. Against one of the worst squads in baseball, the Brewers will hope to bounce back from their sweep in Queens.

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