It was the fourth loss in five games for the Mets, who drop to 16-15 and one game over .500.
Matsuzaka walked his first two batters.
“When I was warming up in the bullpen, I was struggling with my command,” Matsuzaka said after the game. “Going into the game, I just tried to focus on the batter and getting outs, but I couldn’t control my body well today. I really regret taking away Niese’s win and the team win.”
“Any time a game is lost it’s tough to watch, but it is what it is," Niese said. "It’s just one game. We’ve just got to come back tomorrow and get them."
With two on, and Matsuzaka on the mound, Marlins 3B Casey McGehee hit a line drive to Quintanilla, who dropped it, and another run scored.
“It knuckled a little bit. I’ll take the blame for it," Quintanilla said. "I still should have caught it. I saw it knuckling for a while and I tried to get in front of it and it just ducked right under my glove. That was a big play. It changed the game.”
“That’s the second time on this trip we had the chance to get out of an inning and didn’t catch a ball, and it’s hurt us," Collins later lamented.
The whole thing was a mess, from top to bottom, and it happened so fast. It was a demoralizing loss, one that can make a team and fanbase totally second guess a hot start and the potential of a season. Hopefully, it stops Tuesday.
In regards to 'the little things,' Quintanilla needs to make that catch, it's that simple. They played near-flawless baseball during late April, which is why the Mets were able to capitalize on good pitching and mitigate weak offense for a nice run of feel-good success. Fielding and base running errors will lead to losses for this team. The Mets are not good enough to make mistakes in key spots, I don't care how well they're pitching or hitting.
In regards to Dice-K, this was always going to be the problem with using him in relief. There will be nights when he warms well, feels strong, has his command and everyone is happy, as he did in his previous few appearances - and then there will be nights when he can't get it together in warm ups and it carries in to the game, like Monday. He injured his right calf Saturday pitching against the Rockies. He warmed up the next day, though he never got to pitch. He warmed up Monday and got in. That's three get-ups and two appearances in three days, plus a possible injury, for a guy who has spent his entire career preparing for and only pitching every fifth day. I like his potential, but the Mets need to prepare for his wheels falling off, just in case it happens sooner than later.