Some Wild Card Game Questions

As Conor Gillaspie joined the ranks of Dave Henderson, Mike Scioscia, and Yadier Molina, all I was felt with was the feeling of “What if . . . ?”

It was one of several questions, I have thinking about last night’s Wild Card Game. Not all of these are second-guesses, nor are they are particularly the reason why the Mets lost the game. Clearly, the Mets lost the game because Madison Bumgarner was Madison Bumgarner. Furthermore, not all of these questions have answers. Still, there are some questions that just need to be asked:

  1. If Kelly Johnson didn’t feel comfortable playing first base, did the Mets consider playing him in right field? KJ was 7-20 off Bumgarner and Jay Bruce was 3-23 heading into the game.
  2. Why were the Mets batters so aggressive early in the game? The idea was to outlast Bumgarner and get into the Giants bullpen. Instead, Bumgarner needed just 21 pitches to get through the first three innings putting him well on pace to finish the game.
  3. If the Mets carried Kevin Plawecki to give them three catchers to permit Travis d’Arnaud to hit for Rene Rivera when the Mets needed offense, why did Rivera bat in the bottom of the seventh when you already knew Noah Syndergaard was coming out of the game?
  4. Also, with a tight game, once Rivera came out, why wasn’t d’Aranud double switched into the game with the pitcher’s spot due up in the eighth? Doing that would’ve permitted the Mets to go two innings with Reed. Note, as it turned out with Reed throwing 20 pitches in the eighth, this became a bit of a moot point.
  5. If you were going to pinch hit Eric Campbell for James Loney late in the game for offense, why not just start Campbell at first? Loney is awful against left-handed pitching, and he’s even worse than that against Bumgarner.
  6. How healthy was Lucas Duda? If he was good to go even for a pinch hitting appearance, he needed to be on the roster.
  7. How was it that Campbell and Ty Kelly were the Mets first two options to pinch hit off the bench? It’s astounding to think about how you couldn’t really argue that much with the decision.
  8. After the T.J. Rivera double, should the Mets have gone all-in on the inning considering that was most likely going to be their best chance to score off Bumgarner? If Bruce is unable to bunt, couldn’t you have brought in Juan Lagares to lay one down? Do you at least consider pinch hitting for Rivera in that spot, especially with Loney on deck? If Lagares did come into the game, you at least had his defense in center field for what was a tightly contested ball game.
  9. Should Terry Collins have ordered Jeurys Familia to walk Gillaspie? If you do, you create an out at any base, and you definitively get Bumgarner out of the game. For what it’s worth, I completely agreed with the decision to pitch to Gillaspie, but I still think the question needs to be raised.
  10. Was this the last time we will see Yoenis Cespedes, Duda, and David Wright wearing a Mets uniform? Duda and Wright were on the field wearing their Mets uniform for player introductions.

Ultimately, Collins did a terrific job last night. While you can argue with some decisions, he put his team in position to win that game, and his players didn’t execute. Even if one or two things change, the Mets still probably lose this game, which is the most depressing thought of all. With all of these questions that linger unanswered there is one remaining that we will find out the answer to around the same time next year:

Can the Mets get back to this point for a third straight season?

That is the biggest question of all.

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