If only the Mets could end their games after seven innings. It's a thought I've felt myself pondering quite often over the past seven or eight years. If only, the Mets might actually have a couple of playoff appearances and the last few seasons would probably be a little less dreadful over all. That's not how baseball works, unfortunately, and it's what transpired today after the end of the seventh inning that again cost the Mets a Memorial Day victory. The Pirates won 5-3 at Citi Field, a game in which the Mets held a 2-0 lead after seven innings were completed. It's a story of what feels like two separate games, a story that is oh so familiar to the Flushing faithful.
Maybe we should ignore the bullpen for a second to talk about the starting pitching performance of righty Jacob deGrom, making his third career start in the majors. For deGrom, who started his career with starts against the high-powered Yankees and Dodgers, the Pirates offense probably looked like a cakewalk. Despite the 6.2 shutout innings, it wasn't necessarily that easy for deGrom, as his control betrayed him a bit and he walked 5 batters along with allowing 5 hits. DeGrom did a great job getting out of trouble and ultimately threw up a doughnut, leaving a slight mess for Jeurys Familia in the seventh, who managed to freeze Andrew McCutchen on a slider for strike three to end the inning.
On the offensive side, the Mets were once again mostly offensive against Brandon Cumpton, as they managed multiple baserunners throughout the first few frames and couldn't push a run across the plate. Jacob deGrom actually had two of the Mets hits on the day and scored the first run of the game in the 5th inning. That run came on Daniel Murphy's two-run single, a play in which Juan Lagares was originally ruled out at home plate. After Terry Collins came out to argue, the umpires initiated a review of the call at the plate and the call was overturned, with Lagares being ruled safe at the plate thanks to Russell Martin, who didn't give Lagares a sliding lane into the plate.
Jumping back to the opposite side, the Mets took their 2-0 lead into the eighth inning and Scott Rice came on to face former Met Ike Davis, who was pinch hit for by former Marlin (and noted Mets killer) Gaby Sanchez. Between Sanchez's Mets killing and the fact that righties have a near 1.000 OPS against Scott Rice in his year plus in the majors, the result wasn't all that shocking: Sanchez popped one over the left field fence to get the Pirates on the board. Still ahead 2-1, Rice retired the next two batters without issue and out came Terry Collins out of the dugout to go to his "closer" of the day, Jose Valverde, for a 4 out save. Two outs and nobody on quickly became a tie game as Valverde imploded but the damage was not over. After getting out of the inning, Terry Collins kept Valverde on for the ninth and the reliever let up three more runs, burying them, save for Lucas Duda's leadoff home run in the bottom of the ninth. With a short bullpen, Valverde was Terry Collins' choice as "closer" for the day, which seems to be an issue in and of itself considering the Mets released Valverde minutes after the game ended. It's probably not a good idea to use a bad pitcher as your closer.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big winners: Jacob deGrom (31.1%), Juan Lagares (12.1%)
Big losers: Jose Valverde (-72.6%), Wilmer Flores (-13.5%)
Teh aw3s0mest play: Daniel Murphy's two-run single in the 5th inning
Teh sux0rest play: Gaby Sanchez's two-run single in the 9th inning
Total pitcher WPA: -39.5%
Total batter WPA: -10.5%
GWRBI!: Gaby Sanchez