This game really had no business coming down to one pitch. It was one of those rare occasions where almost nobody on the Mets pitching staff (save for the new guy) had a good outing, and despite the fact that the Mets had two 2-run triples in the 4th to take a 5-4 lead, the key members of the bullpen could not hold it for them as Julio Rodriguez tied the game with a solo shot and someone named Cal Raleigh hit a home run that went to the rice ball stand to help the Mariners to an 8-5 lead. Paul Sewald pitched a perfect 8th inning and did his Hollywood Hogan act leaving the mound, putting his hand to his ear to get the crowd riled up. Funny thing was that he isn’t even the biggest villain on his own team so he got a tepid response at best. It was quite embarrassing, if you ask me.
Then came the 9th and the never-say-die New York Mets. Eduardo Escobar hit a one out triple before Jeff McNeil drove him in with a single to make it 8-6. Patrick Mazeika then hit one of his “up the middle missed by three fielders” specials to put runners on first and second. Brandon Nimmo followed with a slapped double to left on a 1-2 count to close the Mets deficit to 8-7. Scott Servais responded by pulling closer Drew Steckenrider and bringing in Diego Castillo and his 9.28 ERA.
I recently saw a documentary called “Dirty Tricks”. It’s about a huge scandal involving competitive bridge which happened about six years ago. It was about an Israeli player who it was concluded to have cheated in part because he laid cards down that made no sense, but somehow they worked so that team must have cheated. If baseball was like bridge, then they would be investigating Scott Servais for doing things that made no sense, but somehow they worked.
First, with second and third, he brings the infield in on Starling Marte where a base hit would have won the game. Marte has been hitting the ball well so it was certainly a risk. But Marte had suck a terrible at bat that he looked at a ball down the middle and then swung at a ball in the dirt for his third strikeout of the day and the second out in the ninth. Then, he has Castillo walk Francisco Lindor intentionally to pitch to Pete Alonso. To put a guy who has walked six batters in ten innings and has a 2.250 WHIP on the season pitch in a situation where a walk loses the game should absolutely not have worked.
Castillo got to 2-1 to Pete Alonso, and he reminded me of Alay Soler, who by the end of his short Met tenure looked like a guy who just did not want to take on the inherent risks of throwing a strike, so he just threw sliders that never even had the hint of being strikes. So at 2-1 with the crowd roaring, Alonso had the upper hand. Castillo threw a slider well out of the strike zone, but Alonso waved at it for strike two. That pitch, I felt, was your ball game. HUGE difference between 3-1 and 2-2, where Alonso now has to protect with two strikes. At 3-1, ALL the pressure is on Castillo, who kept throwing sliders until he got Alonso to check swing strike three (he went) to end the ballgame.
This wasn’t the series would would have expected the Mets to lose, a home set against the Mariners who had lost 12 of their previous 15. But with Sunday’s game being in part managed because Tylor Megill’s injury will most likely force them to go to a bullpen game on Monday so some pitchers were probably held back for that, the series was, for all purposes, lost on Friday when they dropped Max Scherzer’s start. But boy it sure would have been nice to steal this one, a game where the cleanest outing was pitched by someone named Colin Scott Holderman … who has a name which sounds like he should be starring in a WB teen drama.
Today’s Hate List
1. Cal Raleigh
2. Julio Rodriguez
3. Paul Sewald
4. Scott Servais
5. Diego Castillo