Mets RH reliever Hansel Robles shook off a slider from catcher Kevin Plawecki. Instead, he threw a fastball that Trayce Thompson hit for a walk-off home run to give the Dodgers a 3-2 win Tuesday against the Mets.
Robles later explained that he had more faith in his fastball and hoped to further confuse Thompson by shaking off Plawecki.
"Ultimately, I want my pitcher to have conviction with what he's throwing, and if he doesn't feel comfortable throwing his slider in that situation then I've got to trust him," Plawecki explained after the game. "Hindsight is 20/20. If he pops that ball up, then we're not here standing and talking about it. ... Like I said, ultimately I want my pitcher to have conviction in whatever pitch they're throwing."
In 17 appearances this season, Robles, 25, has a 1.92 ERA, while striking out 18 batters in 14 innings.
"He just made a bad pitch, left it up in the zone," manager Terry Collins said after the game. "There's not much else to say."
It's one game. It's one pitch. I still feel the same way about this bullpen that I did yesterday, which you can re-read here if you missed it. But, basically, I said, "This team's bullpen is the one aspect of the roster I worried about heading in to Opening Day. Yet, it's done nothing but exceed expectations from then to now." This doesn't change with one swing.
As for Robles, I like Plawecki's explanation. First off, Kevin is probably right, Hansel's slider might have been the better choice, in theory. Robles had thrown four fastballs and one slider already in the at bat. Thompson was clearly ready and not going to be outsmarted by a simple head fake. However, Plawecki was wise to back off. It's a long season. They have a lot more innings in front of them. And, I, too, would rather Robles be confident throwing the wrong pitch than skittish about throwing the right pitch. In baseball, confidence is the difference maker. Again, one batter, one pitch, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose...