You’d be forgiven if you went to Friday’s Mets game and felt a pall in the air, knowing that the Matt Harvey Era has ended not with a jersey retirement ceremony, not with a plaque in the Mets Hall of Fame, not even with a standing ovation in his last start before free agency, where he certainly would have been blown away with a $30 million a year offer that the Mets had no chance of matching anyway, which would have intensified our hate for the Wilpons … the type of hate which envelops us like a warm blanket and a cup of hot cocoa.
Instead, we realize his career ended by getting booed off the mound in a mop-up relief appearance. 28 hours later, fans filed in armed with the news of a designation for assignment wondering what monsters the deep dark wilderness of the unknown had in store for them. Thankfully, they got a pretty big monster out of the way early: A five-run first inning given up by the next ace to get DFA’d, Zack Wheeler. It’s like running a marathon in new sneakers and twisting your ankle on the first step.
It was foretold by the SNY Pre-Game folks as they told us that Wheeler has struggled in the first inning this season while the Rockies have scored a league high billion first inning runs. But I thought it was too easy. Too much of a caricature of itself to actually happen. That’ll show me.
Wheeler’s place on this team is secure for a couple of reasons. One: there’s less competition. Two: He still has his stuff. But the Mets can’t keep surviving all these games giving up 3-5 runs in the first inning and putting the team in the hole. Asdrubal Cabrera got two back in the bottom of the first and it still felt like the mountain to climb was Mount Fiji. Wheeler only gave that back and then some as he gave up three more runs in his six innings of work, including a home run to Tony Wolters who hadn’t hit one since 2016. Tony Wolters … who plays his home games in Coors Field, hadn’t hit a home run since August 17th, 2016 against … get this … Oliver Perez! And he hit a moon shot off of Wheeler, who we may or may not still call an “ace”.
And yet, the Mets almost climbed that entire mountain. Todd Frazier hit a two run HR in the eighth to make it 8-4, and then in the ninth the Mets scored runs on a hit by Amed Rosario, a triple by Cabrera, and a single by Frazier where Jose Reyes almost ended the game by getting thrown out at third on a single to left field. But he was called safe because he obviously stepped on a leprechaun before the game. Then it was the slumping Michael Conforto who could have turned so many lives around, including his own, with a simple single which would have won the game with runners on second and third.
But Conforto is in too deep a slump and he struck out against Wade Davis to end the game. Another gut punch loss at the end of the roller coaster in a season where those type of losses are starting to rack up. If these first innings keep happening, expect the DFA’s to rack up too, I guess.
It’s Steven Matz tomorrow. Don’t get to your seats late.
Today’s Hate List
- Oliver Perez
- Tony Wolters
- Daniel Castro
- Ian Desmond
- Brad Marchand