Collins Decision Has Blevins Vulturing Wheeler
While we watch Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom struggle, and with Noah Syndergaard gone for most of the year, it has been Wheeler. He’s been the most consistent starter, and he’s getting better as the season progresses.
Tonight’s start was a microcosm of Wheeler’s season. In the first, the Rangers loaded the bases with no outs, but they only came away with one run on a Nomar Mazara RBI groundout. It was initially ruled a double play, but upon replay, he was ruled safe. It didn’t matter much, as Wheeler got out of the inning by inducing Robinson Chirinos to hit into the inning ending double play.
From there, Wheeler was brilliant. He mowed down the Rangers, and he pitched into the seventh. The Rangers put Wheeler on the ropes with runners on first and second with two out, and Delino DeShields coming to the plate. At that point in the game, DeShields was 2-2 with a run and a walk. Despite this, Wheeler dug deep, and on his 108th pitch of the night, he got DeShields to fly out to right.
The 108 pitches matched a season high for Wheeler. His final line on the night was seven innings, six hits, one run, one earned, three walks, and five strikeouts. Simply put, he was terrific.
On the opposite side, Darvish probably had better stuff. He was perfect through three, and the Mets didn’t look like they had much of a chance on the night. Things changed in the fourth.
Michael Conforto got hit by a pitch in the dirt thereby ending the perfect game. He then scored on what was initially a Jay Bruce triple. Upon replay, it was ruled Bruce hit a two run homer:
Darvish would not make another mistake until Bruce came up again in the sixth. Bruce took a slider off the plate, and he drove it opposite field for a solo home run making it 3-1.
Overall, Darvish was nearly unhittable over his 7.1 innings pitched. In fact, other than Bruce, Juan Lagares was the only Met to get a hit off Darvish. That hit chased Darvish. Former Met Dario Alvarez would walk Conforto before getting Asdrubal Cabrera to hit into the inning ending double play.
Despite Blevins having a terrific year with a 1.42 ERA, he has struggled against righties. On the season, righties are hitting .364/.481/.591 off of him. The batter, Chirinos, the Rangers version of Wilmer Flores, is hitting .353/.389/.529 off lefties. Chirinos struggles against righties hitting just .210/.310/.460 off them. Looking at the splits, it was an obvious spot for Addison Reed to go with the four out save with the Mets having a day off tomorrow.
If not Reed, at least Fernando Salas, who was warming in the bullpen. Instead of Salas, Collins stuck with Blevins, who hung one to Chirinos. Tie game.
Reyes hit a bouncer to Rougned Odor who spiked the throw to Elvis Andrus. Andrus could not come up with the throw, and on the throw, Matt Reynolds, who came on to pinch run for Duda, never stopped and scored from second on the play.
With the Rangers failing to make the play, and with Reynolds’ hustle, the Mets reclaimed the lead at 4-3. Reed came on in the ninth, and he pitched a rare 1-2-3 save for him.
If nothing else, this win shows this team has heart. They blew a game yesterday. They had their stomach punched on the Chirinos homer. And yet, they pulled this one out. Maybe, just maybe, there’s still room for hope.
Game Notes: Reyes got the start with Neil Walker out of the lineup. While Collins said it was a routine day off, reports indicated Walker may have a knee injury.