Flores Walks Off An Game That Seemed Off The Wheeler
The problem with Zack Wheeler is we don’t know why he is struggling so mightily. Is it because he hadn’t pitched in over two years due to his Tommy John surgery? Is it because there is some injury he and/or the Mets are hiding? Is this just him being the same pitcher he has always been in his career?
The right-hander has not won a game since May 20th losing his last five decisions. He has not pitched past the sixth inning since June 7th. No matter what you want to look at, he just hasn’t been good.
Tonight would be no exception. On the second pitch of the game, Matthew Joyce would hit a homer to give the Athletics a 1-0 lead. When Wheeler then walked Marcus Semien, you knew it was going to be a rough night for Wheeler.
In that poor first 36 pitch first inning, Wheeler allowed four runs on three hits and four walks. He allowed the aforementioned homer and a double to Bruce Maxwell. He put his team well behind the eight ball, and he put them further behind as he grooved a 92 MPH fastball over the heart of the plate to Matt Chapman, who hit a long home run.
Not to belabor the point, but if Wheeler is throwing 92 MPH fastballs, something is wrong here. Something’s really wrong when you’re walking an American League pitcher. With this diminished stuff and his continued control issues, he didn’t give the Mets much of a chance. His final line was five innings, seven hits, five runs, five earned, four walks, and six strikeouts. He needed 1oo pitches to just get through the fifth.
The Mets looked dead in the water, but fortunately for once their bullpen kept them in the game. The Mets would get a scoreless inning from Josh Smoker and two scoreless from Josh Edgin. It didn’t look like this work would matter much as A’s starter Sean Manaea was straight dealing.
— TheRenderMLB (@TheRenderMLB) July 23, 2017
Unlike the old adage, the homer did not kill the rally. Jose Reyes tripled, and Travis d’Arnaud brought him home with an RBI single. Curtis Granderson then came into the game as a pinch hitter. Granderson hit a grounder that would normally have been an inning ending double play. Because the A’s had the shift on, it gave Granderson an opportunity to beat the throw to first. That would allow d’Arnaud to score the third run of the inning, and it would give Michael Conforto an RBI opportunity.
Since Conforto was called-up to the majors, he was given little chance to prove he could hit left-handed pitching. For some reason, he was benched against them until it almost became a self fulfilling prophecy. However, with all the injuries, the Mets have not had the same ability to bench him against lefties. During this season, Conforto has proven those previous decisions to be just plain silly, and he did it again tonight.
On the night, Conforto would go 2-5 with a double and one RBI. That double and RBI came in this sixth inning at-bat when he hit an opposite field double scoring Granderson from first pulling the Mets to within 5-4.
The Mets would then get a chance in the eighth. After a T.J. Rivera lead-off single, it looked as if the Mets had things cooking with Reyes at the plate. Reyes has been hitting well of late, and he was great in tonight’s game. Overall, he was 2-4 with two triples and a run. This at-bat was not one of those two triples as he hit into a double play.
d’Arnaud, who was having a great game of his own going 3-3 on the night, got the two out double over the head of A’s center fielder Rajai Davis. The Mets then announced Lucas Duda as a pinch hitter, and the A’s countered with the left-hander Daniel Coulombe. Duda stayed in on the pitch, and he hit a single up the middle easily scoring d’Arnaud and tying the game.
After a Hansel Robles scoreless ninth, it set the stage for another Flores tears of joy moment:
Wilmer Walk-Off HR, Vol. 2 — In all its glory pic.twitter.com/Hbp7989K5a
— Jeremy (@JFialkow305) July 23, 2017
The last time Flores hit a walkoff homer, it helped propel the Mets into the National League East title. This homer the Mets have a four game winning streak, but it may still be too little too late. Still, that does not mean we should enjoy this 6-5 win any less.
Game Notes: With the trade rumors swirling, Asdrubal Cabrera started the game at third base. This was Robles’ second win in as many days.