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Mets takeaways from Wednesday’s 4-2 loss to Cubs, including one bad Kodai Senga inning

May 24, 2023;  Chicago, Illinois, USA;  New York Mets starting pitcher Kodai Senga (34) throws the ball against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning at Wrigley Field.

Kodai Senga was erratic and the Mets’ offense could not figure out Marcus Stroman as New York fell 4-2 to the Cubs on Wednesday night at Wrigley Field.

Here are the takeaways…

Marcus Stroman faced his former team Wednesday and worked an easy 10-pitch first inning to start. The right-hander would continue to get through the Mets lineup with relative ease with a heavy dose of ground balls. He would get tagged for two runs after giving up a Francisco Alvarez two-run homer in the third.

After the home run, Strowman cruised until the eighth inning. Starling Marte led off with a walk and stole second. After moving to third on a Daniel Vogelbach grounder, and another walk, Alvarez grounded into a double play to end the threat. When he got out of the eighth, Stroman was animated, slapping his glove as he walked to his dugout.

Stroman’s final line: 8 IP (88 pitches/59 strikes), four hits, two runs, two walks and three strikeouts. He got 15 ground ball outs to eliminate runners and keep his pitch count low.

– As was the case for much of the season, Kodai Senga had trouble with his command and that led to plenty of walks. Senga, working on a full week’s rest and coming off his 12-strikeout performance, did work around a walk in the first, and a walk and single with no outs in the second. However, the third inning was when he imploded. Dansby Swanson made him pay for giving up a leadoff walk with a one-out double to cut the Mets lead to 2-1. Seiya Suzuki doubled — nearly missing a home run — to tie the game at 2-2. Mike Tauchman followed with an RBI single to give the Cubs a 3-2 lead.

He had a near-implosion in the fourth. After back-to-back walks to lead off the inning, Senga would balk to move the runners up with no outs. Senga bounced back with a strike out of Nico Hoerner, getting Miles Mastrobuoni to pop out and Swanson to ground out to end the threat.

Senga would work around another multi-runner jam in the fifth before his night was over. Senga’s final line: 5 IP (106 pitches/65 strikes), six hits, three runs, five walks (three leadoff) but struck out six batters.

-The winds were blowing in from left to right at 20 mph at Wrigley Field, but it didn’t matter for Francisco Alvarez. The rookie catcher got around a first-pitch sinker to send the ball into the left field stands and give the Mets a 2-0 lead in the third inning.

The home run was Alvarez’s sixth homer of the year. Tomas Nido and James McCann had six home runs combined last season. Alvarez finished his night going 2-for-3 with the home run.

– The matchup between fellow countrymen Senga and Suzuki was a big storyline in this one, with the outfielder getting the better of the Mets starter. After walking in his first at-bat, Suzuki picked up an RBI double. Senga did get Suzuki to pop out to the catcher in his third at-bat. Suzuki finished 1-for-3 with a walk and RBI.

Christopher Morel picked up an infield hit in the fifth, extending his hit streak to 13 games — all since he was called up. More finished 1-for-4.

Drew Smith came on in relief of Senga and gave up a solo shot to Hoerner to extend the Cubs’ lead to 4-2 in the sixth inning. It’s Smith’s second straight appearance where he gave up a home run. Brooks Raley pitched a clean seventh while Jeff Brigham got the Cubs in order in the eighth to give the Mets a chance in the ninth.

Mark Leiter Jr. came in the ninth looking for a save. He got Brandon Nimmo to ground out on the first pitch — he finished 0-for-4 with two strikeouts — and struck out Francisco Lindor on a 3-2 count. Lindor finished 0-for-4 with a strikeout. Jeff McNeil flew out to left field to send the Mets to their second straight loss.


What’s next

The Mets look to salvage the third game of their three-game series against the Cubs on Thursday at 7:40 pm

Carlos Carrasco (0-2, 8.68 ERA) will be on the mound for the Mets and he’ll go up against RHP Jameson Taillon (0-3, 8.10 ERA).