As Expected: Mets Split Doubleheader Losing deGrom’s Gem and Winning Conlon’s Mess
If we learned anything from the doubleheader yesterday, it was baseball makes no sense whatsoever. How could it? Somehow, someway, the New York Mets are 5-6 in Jacob deGrom starts and 2-0 in P.J. Conlon. starts. Just to put how bizarre that is in perspective Conlon has pitched fewer innings in his brief MLB career than deGrom did yesterday.
And it was another virtuoso performance from deGrom yesterday. The only mark against him was a Tyler Flowers seventh inning shot. That had made the game 2-1 with the Mets scoring on a Devin Mesoraco bases loaded walk. While Luis Guillorme would end that rally, he made up for it by hitting a double over the head over Preston Tucker, who had not played the field in about a month and looked like it. On the double, Mesoraco would score from first.
— New York Mets (@Mets) May 28, 2018
After the Flowers homer, the Braves apparently smelled blood in the water because they went on the attack. Tucker walked, and Johan Camargo singled on a ball any other second baseman not named Asdrubal Cabrera fields. With runners at the corners, the Braves seemed poised to tie the game. It never happened.
First, deGrom struck out Dansby Swanson. He then got Kurt Suzuki to pop out to swallow left with Amed Rosario getting to it and running it back to the infield to prevent any shenanigans. Finally, deGrom got Ender Inciarte to ground out to end the inning.
After that, deGrom gave the Mets the seven innings they needed on a day where they were going to have a bullpen game in the second half of the doubleheader. It was a 115 pitch virtuoso performance. In total, he allowed the one run on five hits and three walks while striking out eight. He furthered this case to win the Cy Young.
Admittedly, going to Familia for six outs may not have seemed like the obvious move, but when you’re looking to use your whole bullpen for the second game, why not use Lugo’s for 2-3 innings instead of either setting up or trying to get the six out save himself. For whatever reason, Callaway tabbed Lugo to go out there and get his first career save against the first place team in the division.
It didn’t happen. In the eighth, Ozzie Albies started the inning off with a bunt single, and he was on third after a Freddie Freeman single. To his credit, Lugo did limit the Braves to just a Nick Markakis sacrifice fly to tie the game at 2-2.
The Mets would take the lead in the ninth when Mesoraco, who was 2-3 with two runs, a homer, and two RBI on the day the catching competition really started, hit a go-ahead homer.
Even with Familia warming, Callaway went to Lugo to pick up the win. Seemingly just as Gary Cohen’s words left his mouth about the last time he homered, Charlie Culberson hit a walk-off two run homer to give the Braves a 4-3 win.
It was a brutal fourth loss in a row featuring a third bullpen meltdown and questionable Callaway decision making. It was a bad omen for the night portion of the doubleheader. Fortunately, it didn’t pan out that way. Maybe, because in the five plus hour rain delay between games, the Mets finally figured something out.
Like most games recently, the game started off quite well with Adrian Gonzalez opening the scoring with an RBI single. The rally would continue with Kevin Plawecki, fresh off the disabled list, reaching on an awful throw to second by Brandon McCarthy. Instead, of an inning ending double play, it was 2-0 Mets. That lead would grow to 3-1 Mets with a Brandon Nimmo homer to lead off the third.
That lead was not for long as the Braves went to work against Conlon in the third. After a Freeman two RBI single, Markakis would double setting up runners at second and third with no outs and the game already tied 3-3. Conlon was done for the day, and Callaway would tab Hansel Robles to come on to stifle the rally.
While it may not have been pretty, in an inning which included Camargo getting hit by a pitch, Robles got through the inning allowing just a Suzuki sacrifice fly to give the Braves a 4-3. In total, Robles would actually give the Mets three scoreless innings, which not only kept them in the game, but it would allow the Mets to take the lead.
The big hit of the game would come from Rosario. After Plawecki, Jose Reyes, and Guillorme hit consecutive one out singles to load the bases, Rosario hit a go-ahead two RBI single giving the Mets a 5-4 lead.
To the surprise of no one, the lead didn’t last. Robert Gsellman came into the sixth, and he was greeted with a Ryan Flaherty single and an Inciarte double to set up runners at second and third with no outs. Rather than tempt fate by bringing in Jerry Blevins again (who was not warming), after Albies struck out, the Mets intentionally walked Freeman to load the bases before Gsellman allowed an infield single to Markakis to tie the score.
Naturally, Reyes could not make the play.
After a mound visit, Gsellman got a groundball from Suzuki. Gonzalez made the heads up play of getting the out a home to preserve the tie. Culberson would not have a second act of heroics today as he flied out to center to end the inning.
In what should be a lot of credit to this Mets team, they responded in the seventh. The rally started with a Michael Conforto leadoff single. He’d be erased on a Jay Bruce fielder’s choice, but the Mets would load the bases with ensuing singles from Gonzalez and Plawecki. Reyes, once again, failed by striking out.
Guillorme would give the Mets the lead with a clutch two out two RBI single, and Rosario followed with an RBI single of his own giving the Mets a 3-0 lead.
There would be no bullpen meltdown as Jacob Rhame pitched a perfect seventh before Callaway finally allowed Familia go out there and get his six out save. With that, in a very odd way, the Mets earned a split of the doubleheader, and they ended a frustrating losing streak. It will be very interesting to see how this team responds later today if they actually play the game.
Game 1 Notes: In the fifth, Braves starter Max Fried picked-off both Conforto and Jose Bautista off first base. Bruce played first base. Technically, Bautsita’s goes down as a caught stealing as he broke for second. There was a long rain delay when there was no rain on the field.
Game 2 Notes: During the broadcast, Keith Hernandez noted his belief Reyes is struggling at third because he is not comfortable there. It should be noted Reyes has played more than 90 games at the position and was signed to be a utility player, a utility player who refuses to play the outfield.