Chris Bassitt has rare howler vs. Cubs, Mets bats spurn chances in 5-2 loss

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Chris Bassitt Mets
Chris Bassitt (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

The Mets’ Bassitt hound might be allergic to dogs — or Cubs. 

After posting a 2.26 ERA in his previous 11 starts Chris Bassitt was tagged for five runs across 3.2 innings of work in the Mets’ 5-2 loss to the Chicago Cubs on Monday night at a pooch-filled Citi Field for ‘Bark at the Park Night’.

It was Bassitt’s second-shortest outing of the season — which came on June 8 when he went 3.1 innings against the Padres in San Diego — and was the first time since then that he failed to go at least five innings in a start. Out of 27 outings this season, only three have now failed to reach that five-inning mark. 

“I just wasn’t hitting spots,” Bassitt said. “They made me pay for not hitting spots. “It was everything… When you’re not locating, it’s a bad recipe.

“This entire game is on me. It’s unfortunate. Just have to work my butt off and go to the next one.”

That might be a harsh assessment because regardless of his outing, the Mets offense did little with a bounty of opportunities, leaving 10 men in total on base. No larger chance was left beckoning than in the bottom of the eighth inning when, down by four, they loaded the bases with no outs following singles by Pete Alonso and Jeff McNeil before a walk by Daniel Vogelbach. 

They couldn’t get a single run in as Mark Canha struck out, the red-hot Eduardo Escobar flew out, and Darin Ruf lined out to right. 

“We just couldn’t cash in on the opportunities,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said. “It was frustrating for us. We had some opportunities, had some good at-bats. Just couldn’t cash it in.”

Ruf was in the midst of an 0-for-16 stretch when he was called in to pinch hit for Tyler Naquin when the young Mark Vientos — who went 0-for-5 in his MLB debut Sunday but hit 24 home runs in Triple-A this season, was available.

“We had the potential of Vientos in the next spot [to pinch-hit for James McCann],” Showalter said. “Darin has been really good in that spot in this career. It just hasn’t been there for him lately. The ball just found the glove… He’s had a lot more of a track record.”

A “ruff” night indeed for an attack that scored 20 runs in its last two games of their series down in Miami against the Marlins. 

The Mets found themselves down early when Rafael Ortega took Bassitt out over the right-field fence for his seventh home run of the year. 

The unlikely round-tripper came after Bassitt retired the first five Cubs he faced. It was also the first home run he allowed in 54.1 innings, a span that stretched across 10 starts. Just five batters later, in the third inning, Zach McKinstry left the yard as well for a two-run shot to put Chicago up 3-0. 

“Not surprising,” Bassitt said. “I wasn’t locating anything… It’s just a start. That’s it… Not trying to make this a bigger deal than what it is. Just a bad start.”

After yielding a pair of run-scoring singles to Ortega and Alfonso Rivas, Bassitt’s night was done as Showalter yanked his leash to send the starter to the showers early.

James McCann stayed hot with an RBI single in the fourth inning to get the Mets on board (his sixth hit in his previous 12 at-bats), but it was the only instance in which the hosts were able to take advantage of opportunities. 

The Mets also had a bases-loaded chance in the first along with fourth and sixth-inning chances featuring runners in scoring position.

It made Francisco Lindor’s ninth-inning solo home run meaningless — his 23rd of the season tying a franchise record for most round-trippers hit in a single season by a shortstop. 

For more on the Mets, visit AMNY.com