Luck Is The Residue Of A Pitcher Who Pinch Runs

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at New York Mets
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So there’s three main points that I want to make about the Mets’ 8-7 victory on Saturday, a win where the Mets had leads of 6-1 and 8-3:

First off, I don’t know where this team would be without Pete Alonso. He’ll be known nationally for his tape measure blasts like the one he hit in the first inning against Andy Cohen’s dog’s namesake off the facade of the upper tank. But just as impressive is his willingness to go the other way and practice grounders before games. Health permitting (knock on whatever wood is around you for even reading that), Alonso is on his way to one of the all-time seasons in Mets history. It would be a shame to have it wasted on a season that’s under .500.

Luck Is The Residue Of A Pitcher Who Pinch Runs
Jun 15, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard (34) leaves the field with trainer Brian Chicklo with a leg injury against the St. Louis Cardinals during the seventh inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

Second, this team cannot Noah Syndergaard for an extended period of time. He strained his hamstring and had to leave in the 7th inning. With the lack of starting pitching depth the Mets have (Ervin Santana has a 4.85 ERA in A ball), I’d go so far as to travel down the hot take route if Syndergaard is out for two or three months:

Put Seth Lugo in the rotation.

I know what the numbers are. I know how valuable he is in the Mets bullpen. But honestly: What good is Lugo in the bullpen if he can’t pitch on back to back days and needs two days of rest after a long outing? If Lugo can only pitch, say, twice in five days, why not just have him pitch once and go six or seven innings? Besides, the Mets have Brooks Pounders in the bullpen now. We’ll be fine! Come get us!

Finally, the Mets were lucky to win this. After Syndergaard’s five runs (two of them inherited and given up by Robert Gsellman), Gsellman’s one run, and Lugo’s Houdini act in the eighth, Edwin Diaz was once again trusted with a two run lead against the Cardinals in the ninth. And once again, he was dancing with a choke job until Jack Flaherty cut in. Yadier Molina drove in Paul DeJong with a single to make it 8-7 when Flaherty, a pitcher, pinch ran for him.

Luck Is The Residue Of A Pitcher Who Pinch Runs
Jun 15, 2019; New York City, NY, USA; St. Louis Cardinals pinch runner Jack Flaherty (22) is tagged out at home plate by New York Mets catcher Wilson Ramos (40) attempting to score on a base hit during the ninth inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

Kolten Wong came into some luck with a bloop hit that found grass between Jeff McNeil and Michael Conforto. Much like the Cardinals did with Wong on Thursday night in the rain, they sent Flaherty home all the way from first base to try to score the tying run. This time, McNeil made a perfect throw and Flaherty was out by a good margin. But two things about that as you saw the iso replay on Flaherty:

  1. Flaherty is looking over his shoulder at the pop up. If he puts his head down and runs hard, the play at the plate is a lot closer.
  2. Flaherty also slipped and stumbled a bit as he was between third and home.

So the Mets were the ones who got the luck in the end. If Flaherty puts his head down and doesn’t look back at the play, Diaz blows his second two run lead of the game. (Yeah, Flaherty is a pitcher and doesn’t know any better. All the more reason he should just put his head down and watch his coaches. Where have all the baserunning fundamentals gone?) With the way Diaz was going lately, this was an important outing for him. It was a little uneven but he should thank his lucky stars that Mike Shildt had no other pinch runners left.

And he’s lucky to have Jeff McNeil on his side.

Today’s Hate List

  1. Paul DeJong
  2. Matt Carpenter
  3. Yadier Molina
  4. Giovanny Gallegos
  5. John Brebbia
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