The Mets put everything into this series. They set the rotation to face the Nationals. They were holding three aces and put their chips to the middle of the table. They lost.
You could kill the offense, but they did score three runs off of Jordan Zimmermann, who’s a really good pitcher in his own right. You could go after Thor for struggling all day and only going five innings. However, he only let up one run. Overall, the story of the game is the bottom of the eighth . . . that’s where the Mets blew it.
When you are up two runs in the eighth, you have to win the game. To his credit, Josh Lewin said Familia needed to come in the game after the hard hit liner by Tyler Moore. Instead Parnell stayed in the game, threw a wild pitch putting runners in scoring position. Michael Taylor followed up with a two RBI single Ina fastball down the middle. After not holding on Taylor, Taylor stole second and scored on a Danny Espinosa single. Game over.
As Josh Lewin pointed out, Parnell’s Nationals Park ERA is over 8.00 (before today). Who’s to blame here? First, it’s Parnell. He’s got to close the door. Second, it’s Collins. Look, when you set up the rotation to go directly after the Nationals out of the All Star Break, you have to go all the way. It was time for a four out Familia save attempt there. To his credit, Collins took complete blame for the loss.
However, you can’t feel good either with the offense questions not resolved, an 8-21 record against the Nationals the past two years, and a 17-32 road record. Next up? The Dodgers, who are leading off with Kershaw and Greinke.
You have to admit the atmosphere at Citi Field would’ve felt a whole lot different than it would’ve had they won this game.
I don’t think it’s hyperbole to say Terry Collins made his biggest managerial decision of the year . . . and the entire planet disagreed with him. Collins pinch hit Eric Campbell for Jacob deGrom in the top of the seventh. We all know that deGrom has better hitting statistics than Campbell, and deGrom was pitching well. No one would have second guessed Collins if he left in deGrom.
Instead, he went with Campbell seeking to capitalize on a missed call leading to a gift double to Nieuwenhuis. The gutsy move paid off as Campbell hit a two run single turning a 2-1 deficit to a 3-2 lead. What was even more surprising was Collins used Campbell over Cuddyer, who entered the game as a pinch hitter in the ninth. Good for Collins, who has been a gentleman all year. He’s never publicly complained about this offense and/or roster. Also, good for Campbell. He’s been a punching bag this year. However, he has earned Mets fans respect as he always hustles and really is doing everything he can do to be on the big league roster.
Also, good for deGrom and the Mets pitchers. deGrom pitched well enough to win, and he got that win. This post very well could’ve been about how deGrom handed a lead back and how the Mets pitchers can’t do that with this offense. Hopefully, the explosion in the ninth inning is a sign of things to come. Maybe Campbell’s single allowed everyone to take a deep breath and relax. Maybe it was just one game. I’m choosing to be optimistic.
A hat tip is also due to Matt Harvey. He had a rough start yesterday, but he settled down and powered through 7 innings. It allowed a tired bullpen to rest after an 18 inning game, and it allowed Collins to gamble knowing he had a rested Mejia, Parnell, and Familia.