Bullpen Blows (The Game)
When Lucas Duda and Travis d’Arnaud came back from the Disabled List, neither one was hitting much. Recentky, Duda broke out, and he’s literally getting on base in half of his plate appearances. After last year, there was legitimate concern over whether d’Arnaud would hit as well.
Those concerns were put to rest as d’Arnaud came within a triple of hitting the cycle. Overall, he was 3-5 with a run, double, homer, and two RBI. It should also be noted the Pirates didn’t attempt one stolen base against him. It was about as good a night as a catcher can have.
Duda was just as good. He was 2-4 with a run, double, homer, and RBI. Seriously, no one can get him out right now including Pirates ace Gerrit Cole. Actually, that’s not entirely true. Duda’s manager was able to get him out.
It was one of a series of bizarre moves from Terry Collins on the night.
Going into the sixth, the Mets had a 4-2 lead due to the aforementioned contributions from Duda and d’Arnaud as well as a Jay Bruce first inning solo home run.
In the sixth, after Neil Walker botched a potential inning ending double play, Collins left Zack Wheeler in to pitch to Andrew McCutchen. At that point in the game, McCutchen had homered and walked against Wheeler. With Wheeler under 90 pitches and pitching well, Collins stuck with his starter who gave up an RBI double.
It was somewhat of a damper on what was a good night for Wheeler. His final line was six innings, seven hits, three runs, three earned, two walks, and five strikeouts.
For a brief moment, it seemed the Mets would hold onto that 4-3 lead.
In the seventh, Collins went to his bullpen and somehow decided to go with Neil Ramirez. Collins used Fernando Salas to close out an 8-1 game, but he decided to go with Ramirez and his 27.00 ERA with the Mets to hold a one run lead. After Jordy Nelson doubled to start the inning and moved to third on a groundout, it became obvious the pitcher with a 27.00 ERA wasn’t going to get the job done.
Collins then double switched Jerry Blevins into the game. This meant the Mets best hitter and defensive first baseman was lifted from a one run game. Fortunately, Blevins got the Mets out of the jam as he typically does.
The Mets also went unscathed though the eighth with a combination of Blevins and Salas. Salas was helped out by Juan Lagares who raced back to get a McCutchen ball at the wall.
The Mets were no so lucky in the ninth. Mercer hit a double to center off Addison Reed that not even Lagares could catch. The way Lagares played tonight in center, that’s saying something. John Jaso tied the game sending it into extras.
The Mets had a chance to go ahead in the top of the 10th. Lagares hit a lead-off single and moved to second on a T.J. Rivera pinch hit single. However, while d’Arnaud was huge for the Mets all night, he struck out to end the rally.
With Collins once again ripping through his bullpen, he had to go to Tyler Pill to pitch the bottom of the 10th. Things did not go well.
It started with Lagares absolutely robbing Gregory Polanco of an extra base hit. Pill then quickly loaded the bases allowing a single to David Freese, plunking McCutchen, and walking Francisco Cervelli. With all that, the Mets were so close to getting out of that inning.
Gift Ngoepe popped out to shallow right. Collins then went to Josh Edgin to try to get Jaso out. Edgin struggled with his command, but he fought back into the at-bat going 3-2 with Jaso. Jaso then hit a line drive to right almost every right fielder in baseball gets to. Not Bruce. As he flailed at the ball, the Pirates were scoring the game winning run to take the game 6-5.
It should be noted Collins brought Lagares in for defense. Instead if moving the far superior fielder, Curtis Granderson, to right, Collins stuck with Bruce, and it indirectly cost the Mets the game. It’s not exactly how Collins wanted to celebrate his 68th birthday. Instead of blowing out his candles, his overworked bullpen did the job.
Game Notes: Asdrubal Cabrera was the only hitless Mets starter. He made up for it by dekeing McCutchen in the sixth. Cabrera got to a ball in the hole, and he had no play at first. He feigned going there, and he then nailed McCutchen at home as he tried to score from second.