MIAMI — The Mets’ 8-2 loss to the Marlins on Friday night, which began their weekend fight to avoid last place in the NL East, was a tale of two pitchers making their first major-league starts.
For the Mets, you had Corey Oswalt, 24, a soft-tossing righthander who found out he was getting the ball about 3 1⁄2 hours before game time, a result of Jacob deGrom’s family issue that pushed him back to Saturday. Oswalt doesn’t have much prospect status but has been called up four times this year in a swingman role (he appeared in only one game before Friday).
His night did not go very well. He allowed six runs in 2 2⁄3 innings, with a three-run home run by JT Riddle blowing the game open after Oswalt got through his first two frames unscathed.
“Even in the first two innings, he didn’t have any of his breaking stuff,” manager Mickey Callaway said. “So I think they kind of figured out he was struggling getting that stuff over and sitting on the fastball.”
Said Oswalt: “I knew from the get-go I didn’t have a feel for my secondary pitches, so I just tried to battle through it. I just didn’t make enough pitches when I needed to and put the team in a bad spot.”
The Marlins had Sandy Alcantara, 22, a hard-throwing righthander whose Miami debut had been anticipated by the club and its fan base for months. He is Miami’s top pitching prospect — one of the best players acquired during its offseason fire sale — and a top-100 prospect in baseball.
Alcantara’s night went much better. He held the Mets to one run in five innings, albeit while battling command issues and a high pitch count. The Mets managed only three hits against him, including Devin Mesoraco’s RBI double to left over the head of a leaping Derek Dietrich in the fourth inning. Wilmer Flores scored from first.
Mets rookie righthander Tyler Bashlor helped minimize the workload on his fellow relievers by eating 2 2⁄3 innings, giving up one run.
Amed Rosario drew a career-high three walks, the same number he had in 46 games last season. He sat for three consecutive games this week as he worked on his plate approach, and for at least a night, it worked.
“There were some close pitches in there, he laid off of them,” Callaway said. “He did a great job. He’s trying to implement that plan our hitting coaches put in place for him. They worked on it on his three days off, and tonight I thought it really paid dividends.”
The Mets (32-47), who have lost nine of their last 10 games and 21 of their last 26, are one game ahead of the Marlins (33-50).