We’re all depressed about what’s going on in the world regarding the COVID-19 outbreak, and baseball has become collateral damage. We all need to escape, and now you can read this blog in the alternate: the one where global pandemics were a myth and baseball was around no matter what. We’re imagining the 2020 Mets season as if everything was normal. Enjoy these works of fiction.
Craig Counsell got slick. All season he had batted Christian Yelich in the two hole behind Lorenzo Cain. But today, Counsell moved Smoak up to the two hole. Why?
Well, Counsell clearly consults Baseball Reference. If you do too, you’d clearly see that Justin Smoak has a 1.011 OPS against today’s starter Rick Porcello. That includes three doubles, five HR’s and 15 RBI in 53 plate appearances. Add that to Lorenzo Cain’s six hits in 19 AB’s against Porcello, and you have a tricky 1-2 punch that Porcello has to navigate. Oh, and batting third is the 2018 MVP and the 2019 MVP runner-up.
First inning, Porcello walks Cain, gives up a two run homer to Smoak. 2-0 Brewers.
Third inning: Porcello walks Cain, gives up a two run homer to Smoak. 4-0 Brewers.
But hey, Yelich was 0-for-2!!!
Porcello actually made it through six innings with only those four runs scoring, even though he would up giving up eight hits and two walks. It was one of those games where Porcello is as advertised. He’s not going to be spectacular on some nights but he’ll get you through six innings and save your bullpen.
The Mets took Porcello off the hook in the 7th. Amed Rosario led off the inning with a dinger off Brett Anderson to make it 4-1. Jake Marisnick flew out to center, but then Ryan Cordell pinch hit for Porcello and lined a single to center. Anderson then walked Nimmo and McNeil to set up Pete Alonso with the bases loaded. Alonso didn’t disappoint as he smoked a bases clearing double off the top of the wall to tie the game. Even though Alonso’s home run barrage has slowed from last season, he’s still hovering around .300 and getting big hits with runners in scoring position.
So Luis Rojas brings in Chasen Shreve, who came up when Steven Matz got put on the IL. Shreve came in to face Smoak and Yelich, and then Rojas would roll the dice as he’d have to face Avisail Garcia. The problem is that Shreve couldn’t get Smoak and Yelich out as he walked them both. In the “baseball makes sense” category, Shreve struck out Garcia for the first out. Rojas would then put in Seth Lugo to face Keston Hiura and Narvaez (and Orlando Arcia if he was still in the inning.) Hiura worked the count to 3-2 before he fouled off the next five pitches. Lugo would then try to get him to fish for a high fastball, but Hiura wouldn’t bite and it was ball four. Narvaez also worked Lugo full but got his walk much quicker to give the Brewers a 5-4 lead. Then Justin Wilson walked Arcia to bring another run home and make it 6-4, but then got Eric Sogard to line to Alonso for an inning ending double play.
So on to the ninth and Josh Hader. The Mets had the right people up to battle him with the top of the order. Hader is throwing bullets, but he walked Nimmo. McNeil then laid down a drag bunt with the third baseman playing back (the one time they don’t play McNeil for a bunt and he burns him.) Alonso … you guessed it, another walk. But he got J.D. Davis out on a sac fly to make it 6-5. Wilson Ramos struck out on a borderline pitch, gets snippy with Alfonso Marquez and, let’s face it, Ramos was lucky he wasn’t ejected. Then it was Robinson Cano, who had no chance as Hader just reared back and stopped nibbling. The 6-5 loss brings them down to 8-6 in easily the most frustrating loss of the season. Hopefully, good luck is coming down the pike.
Today’s Hate List
- Justin Smoak
- Craig Counsell
- Josh Hader
- Keston Hiura
- Alfonso Marquez