Danny Abriano, SNY.tv | Twitter |
There was one out in the eighth inning Monday night, the Mets up 6-1 on the Nationals. Jacob deGrom, dominant from the second-inning on, was still on the mound. The Mets were about to be 13-2, and then they weren't.
So, what the hell happened?
As painful as it is, I'm going to re-watch the bloodbath that took place after deGrom left the game, and then react to it. Yes, after watching last night's game, with my couch bearing the brunt of my anger as it all went to crap, I'm watching the eighth inning again. Here it goes...
- After getting ahead of Trea Turner 0-2 with a runner on first base and one out, deGrom wound up in a 3-2 count before allowing a single to left field. He departed at 103 pitches with runners on first and second and was replaced by Seth Lugo.
- Lugo walked Howie Kendrick on four pitches to load the bases, and was immediately replaced by Jerry Blevins so he could face Bryce Harper.
- On a 2-1 count, Harper's broken-bat, ground ball single to right field drove in two runs, cutting the Mets' lead to 6-3. "That is just a quality at-bat," SNY's Keith Hernandez said on the broadcast. Blevins was removed for AJ Ramos, who came in to face Ryan Zimmerman.
- Ramos struck out Zimmerman for the second out of the inning. And then all hell broke loose. First, he allowed a line drive single to Pedro Severino that loaded the bases. He then inexcusably walked light-hitting former-Met Matt Reynolds on four pitches to force in a run, as the lead was cut to 6-4. Ramos was then removed for Jeurys Familia.
- Wilmer Difo snuck a 2-1 pitch from Familia through the right side of the infield to drive in two runs and tie the game, 6-6. The ball took five hops to get to the outfield. Familia then immediately hit Moises Sierra to re-load the bases before walking Michael A. Taylor on five pitches to force in the go-ahead run.
Who were the main culprits?
Ramos and Familia.
Lugo's four-pitch walk was ugly, but he was removed immediately. And while Blevins didn't get the job done, his crime was giving up a broken-bat hit to one of the best hitters on the planet. Tip your cap.
But Ramos and Familia? Those were meltdowns. You simply can't walk Matt Reynolds. Ever. But Ramos did it on four pitches to force in a run. And while Familia was a bit unlucky on the game-tying single that scooted through the infield, he followed it up by completely losing his composure.
What could have been done differently?
It can be argued that deGrom should have been allowed to face Kendrick with one out and runners on first and second. But it's hard to second-guess Mickey Callaway for removing deGrom -- who had thrown 103 pitches -- and replacing him with Lugo, who had been lights out this season up to that point.
What does it all mean?
Aside from the Mets needing to shake it off quickly, as SNY's Andy Martino wrote, it's simply one putrid half inning from a bullpen that came in to the game with the best ERA in baseball. And one loss amidst a 12-3 start. But the reaction to it on Twitter and elsewhere has been absurd. Even by Mets fan standards.
As the Mets started 12-2, I didn't see any of those wins labeled as potentially season-defining. One loss -- as crushing and ugly as it was -- should not be labeled as potentially season-defining (as some are trying to do). Nor should it be a cause for mass hysteria or for anyone to say that the goodwill the Mets built during their hot start has been lost.
Additionally, to say that "good teams don't lose games" like Monday night's -- as many people have said -- is flat out erroneous. Good teams blow big late leads. They get no-hit. They have losing streaks. They make physical and mental errors -- sometimes in the same inning. It happens. It's baseball.
The bullpen was atrocious on Monday night, specifically Ramos and Familia. And while they were melting down, they were also victimized by low-probability hits. Again, it happens. That doesn't make it suck any less while you're watching it unfold. And it doesn't prevent the pit in your stomach that forms.
12-3 is a tiny sample size in the grand scheme of things. So if you're not ready to proclaim the Mets "good" based on a 15-game sample, you sure as hell can't use a half-inning sample to proclaim "lol these are the real Mets." Fandom is emotional, and Monday night's loss hurt. Badly. But it's not a reason to lose faith or say what preceded it was a mirage.