Reliever Addison Reed surrendered a go-ahead two-run home run to Atlanta's Adonis Garcia in the eighth inning as the New York Mets lost to the Braves, 4-3, on the road Thursday night.
Reed had not allowed a run in 16 appearances from early May to early June. Since, he has allowed six runs and eight hits in his last six innings of work, raising his ERA from 1.63 to to 2.70 in fewer than two weeks.
"I've gone through way worse stretches than this," Reed said after the game. "This is part of the game. You can't be perfect, so I'll forget about it and be ready to go tomorrow."
Following the game, Reed blamed himself for Garcia's home run, citing poor location with his fastball. Catcher Travis d'Arnaud blamed their pitch selection, saying he should have called for an off-speed pitch instead of a fastball.
"He's been so good for so long," manager Terry Collins said. "Tonight, he just made a bad pitch."
Reed's 36 appearances this season are fourth-most among National League pitchers. He is on pace to pitch in more than 80 games this season, which would be the most in his career.
Asked if he felt tired after pitching for the third time in as many days, Reed said, "That's why I play baseball. I love pitching. Everything felt fine. I just made a stupid pitch."
Reed blames "stupid execution," as he put it, insisting that d'Arnaud called the right pitch. It's hard to say, since Reed left the pitch over the plate, as opposed to throwing it up in the strike zone, which is where d'Arnaud was set up behind the plate. Technically, this would indicate he might be dragging a bit, which is easy to understand given his recent workload. He typically hits his spots. He's been so consistent all year. This is his job; he's the set-up guy and was pitching in a set-up situation. I have no problem with Collins putting him in the game despite pitching the previous two days.
The issue isn't Collins or Reed, who has been one of the best relief pitchers in baseball this season. The issue is the offense, which rarely provides breathing room. Because they can't score, the pitching staff is always living nip and tuck, moment to moment, and the bullpen is repeatedly in high-leverage situations, which calls for the best performers, like Reed. But that's not sustainable. After all, the guy can't pitch every day.