Steven Matz gave the Mets six very strong innings on Wednesday night in Atlanta, holding the Braves to just two hits.
Heading into the seventh inning, the left-hander had retired 14 straight batters and thrown just 79 pitches. He'd also allowed just two hits and one earned run.
Yet, when the bottom of the seventh rolled around, Matz stayed in the dugout. Mickey Callaway elected to make a pitching change, bringing in Seth Lugo with a one-run lead.
Things quickly went from bad to worse for Lugo, who quickly loaded the bases with nobody out. The Braves then rallied for five runs off the right-hander, who recorded just one out before an early exit of his own.
In the blink of an eye, the Braves had taken a 6-2 lead. They'd go on to hold onto the lead in a 6-4 win, and after the game, Callaway's decision to pull his starter after six innings was the hot topic in the clubhouse.
"We have the best reliever in baseball sitting down there in Seth Lugo," Callaway said after the game. "He's been doing the job for a month and a half, Matz was running around the bases, and we had (Josh) Donaldson coming up, (Adam) Duvall coming up, and I'll make that move 100 times out of 100.
"That's the right move in my mind. I understand that it didn't work out, but if Lugo comes in there and throws up a zero, two zeroes, which is why we double-switched him in, gives us more chances to score some runs, but the guys didn't give up."
Matz was also asked about the decision after the game, and while he said he felt good after just 79 pitches, he understood why Callaway went to the pen.
"I felt pretty good, but ultimately, Lugo's been really good all year, and a couple righties coming up who can do some damage, so that was the manager's call," Matz said."
"As a competitor, you want to go back out there, but Lugo's been really good, we were winning the ballgame, so you just go with the manager."
Lugo has been tremendous for the Mets in the second half, but Wednesday was just not his night. He quickly began warming up in the top of the seventh after the Mets took the lead with two outs, but the NL Reliever of the Month for July said that he was ready to go when he entered the game.
"Same as usual. You wait 'til the phone rings and they say your name and get ready, so that's just the way it goes, Lugo said."
"I was just unlucky. I thought I made a bunch of good pitches. They didn't really hit anything hard … I thought I made good pitches."