Not that it’s a full proof plan to predict baseball outcomes based on starting pitching matchups, but Matz vs. Strasburg was the toughest matchup of this last stand series against Washington, and Steven Matz was up to the task, matching Strasburg’s effort with seven shutout innings. It was too bad that a great pitching duel between two exceptional pitchers had to be ruined by two terrible bullpens, but I was willing to put the Mets’ bad bullpen up against the Nationals awful bullpen.
In the top of the eighth inning, the Mets blew a golden opportunity to put the hammer down on the game. Jose Reyes singled, and Glenn Sherlock sent Brandon Nimmo home after Nimmo had hesitated because the play was in front of him. But Sherlock sent him anyway and he was thrown out at the plate. In games like this between division winners and also rans, plays like that make a huge difference. Whether it is players who make the wrong read or the wrong move on the bases or coaches making the wrong calls in the boxes or from the dugout, the Mets never seem to make that sharp decision that wins them close games.
After Yoenis Cespedes grounded out sharply to end the threat, the Nationals took the game by the throat. Michael Taylor hit a two run home run against Jerry Blevins, who has been figured out by right handed hitters proving the decades old point that reliever success is fleeting and inconsistent. But with two outs in the top of the ninth Curtis Granderson pinch hit, and with a bad hip he skied a two run home run to the first row of the stands to tie the game off Matt Albers. The bullpens have now ruined what was once a gem.
But the Nationals had one more crack at the Mets bad bullpen, mainly because Terry Collins never put in Addison Reed in a must win game. Paul Sewald walked the leadoff batter, then after a failed bunt attempt Josh Edgin walked Stephen Drew on four freaking pitches. Then after Adam Lind flied out, Fernando Salas came in to send the game into extra innings with an out. Instead, his abused arm gave up a line drive hit to end the game and also cause Cespedes’ hamstring to “cramp” (which is code for “separate from the bone once and for all”) and the Nationals came away with a 3-2 victory and practically move to within one win in the next two to put the nail in the Mets’ 2017 coffin once and for all. What hurts the most is that the Mets had a chance to win a game started by Strasburg because Steven Matz neutralized him, and it was thrown away by a series of dumb decisions by coaches and dumb pitches by relievers who should have been replaced long ago.
Time to make room for the C-level prospects who will be acquired in trades for Jay Bruce, Neil Walker, Lucas Duda and Granderson so they can be blocked by Tim Tebow. Because we’re in the entertainment business and not the “get a halfway decent reliever to save the season business.”
Today’s Hate List
- Ryan Raburn
- Wilmer Difo
- Michael Taylor
- Stephen Strasburg
- Brian Goodwin