D’Arnaud’s Sweet 16
When you play 16 innings, the game takes many twists and turns. Tonight’s game was that and then some. It was full of clutch hits, clutch fielding, gutsy pitching, and bizarre managerial moves.
This was just a classic Terry Collins game. He made a series of bizarre moves. As usual, they surrounded use of his pitching staff, but today was an extra treat because it wasn’t just limited to the pitching staff.
From the beginning, it was apparent Robert Gsellman didn’t really have it. In the first, he walked two and eventually allowed a grand slam to Marcell Ozuna putting the Mets down 4-0 before anyone could blink.
With the Mets offense humming with the series in Philadelphia, the Mets immediately tied the game in the top of the second.
— New York Mets (@Mets) April 14, 2017
Cespedes’ homer was absolutely annihilated:
MLB is gonna have a shortage of baseballs if Yoenis Cespedes keeps hitting dingers at this rate 🔥⚾️pic.twitter.com/sah9Ptytzg
— TotalProSports.com (@TotalProSports) April 14, 2017
With the two run lead, Collins made his first strange move of the game. While Flores started due to the lefty, T.J. Rivera started at third to give Jose Reyes a mental health day. Heading into the bottom of the fourth, with Chen only going three innings, Collins lifted Rivera for Lucas Duda.
Obviously, Collins was just itching to shorten his bench with the activation of Juan Lagares from the DL giving him a full bench. Why Lagares didn’t start with this deep outfield and with a lefty on the mound is also bizarre in and of itself. Despite that, the Mets carried a 6-4 lead into the fourth.
Cespedes added another homer in the fifth for good measure giving the Mets a 7-4 lead heading into the bottom of the fifth.
Gsellman struggled just like the first. The Marlins quickly loaded the bases, and he walked Christian Yelich pulling the Marlins within two. Giancarlo Stanton hit a sacrifice fly pulling the Marlins within one.
It was only at this point that Collins went to the pen. With the left-handed hitting Justin Bour coming to the plate in an absolutely pivotal moment, Collins went to Josh Edgin instead of Jerry Blevins.
Bour doubled to tie the game. Ozuna was intentionally walked. Derek Dietrich then singled to give the Marlins an 8-7 lead. The Marlins probably would’ve done more damage, but on the Dietrich single, Jay Bruce nailed Bour trying to score from second.
The Marlins got their revenge in the seventh. Cespedes took first after he struck out on a wild pitch. He then appeared to score from first to tie the game on a Bruce double:
— MLB Replay (@MLBReplays) April 14, 2017
Naturally, Angel Hernandez got the call wrong necessitating the replay showing Ozuna nailed Cespedes at the plate. Between this play, the grand slam, and all the other plays we’ve seen from Ozuna, he’s become an extremely annoying player along the lines of Willie Harris, except Ozuna is a much better player.
The Mets were still undeterred. In the top of the eighth, d’Arnaud got on with a two out single. Michael Conforto who has hit every chance he’s been given this year got his latest chance pinch hitting for Blevins. Conforto would double in d’Arnaud to tie the game at eight.
The battle of the bullpens continued, and it became a war of attrition.
With the exception of the two lefties, Edgin and Blevins, each reliever pitched over one inning. This includes Josh Smoker who really stepped up for the Mets. Smoker would throw 38 pitches over three scoreless innings. It was an outstanding appearance. Considering his struggles going over an inning last year and his struggles this year, it was simply incredible.
This left the Mets with no other choice but to put Hansel Robles in the game. Understandably, Collins was hesitant to use Robles with him pitching three straight days and four out of the last five.
Conversely, Cespedes, Flores, Bruce, and d’Arnaud was great. While Cespedes had the two home runs, d’Arnaud was the best of them all.
In the 16th, having run out of pitchers Don Mattingly turned to tomorrow’s scheduled starter Adam Conley to pitch the 16th Despite, Conley being fresh and having dominated the Mets, and despite d’Arnaud having caught 15 innings, d’Arnaud hit the game winning homer. It was the Mets first hit since the 10th inning.
NYM@MIA: d'Arnaud hits go-ahead solo home run in 16th https://t.co/kLChzJtOGF
— Mets Daddy (@MetsDaddy2013) April 14, 2017
By far, this was d’Arnaud’s most memorable game as a Met. He was 4-6 with three runs, a triple, a homer, and four RBI. This was the second game this week he came one hit short of the cycle.
Other Mets with great games were Cespedes with the two homers, Bruce going 3-7 and nailing a runner at the plate, and the entire bullpen not named Josh Edgin.
After Edgin, everyone stepped up and pitched scoreless inning after scoreless inning. Given their respective usages this year, asking most of them to pitch over an inning, and some of their early season struggles, this was an absolutely amazing group performance from that pen.
It wasn’t easy in a game where nothing was easy. Ozuna, an absolute pest, made a very loud final out with Lagare catching it right in front of the center field wall.
It should be noted Collins elected to have Robles pitch to Ozuna with two outs and Conley on deck. Sure, you’re loathe to put the tying run in scoring position and the winning run on base, but the pitcher was on deck! This game was a classic example of winning despite your manager.
Robles despite having nothing pitched two innings and got the win in the 9-8 win. This is a special win that signifies just how special this team could be.
Game Notes: The game lasted 5:38. Even with d’Arnaud behind the plate, the Marlins did not attempt a stolen base. Reyes pinch hit for Edgin in the sixth and singled. Despite starting the game 0-7, Asdrubal Cabrera extended his hitting streak to eight games with a 16th inning single. His double play partner Neil Walker similarly struggled going 1-7. Mets have won consecutive games despite giving up a grand slam in both games.