The Mets got swept by both the Braves and a perfect storm of madness when their 4-3 loss on Wednesday night was complete.
I’m not sure how that car in the picture ended up driving out of a roof, but I am sure it makes more sense than how this game played out. I also wonder what the driver’s thought process was. Did the ladder throw him off? Was he in reverse instead of drive? Just like trying to figure out the Mets’ manager, so many questions, so little answers.
First the good. Bartolo Colon looked fine in his 6.2 innings of work. His only blemish came in the seventh, when former Met Anthony Recker hit a two-run home run off of him. And Asdrubal Cabrera continued his hot hitting and hit a two-run home run in the first.
Let’s see, what else? Something else good must’ve happened. I guess Yoesnis Cespedes happened, but that falls in both good and bad territory. The good is he hit the ball hard. The bad is both times it was for naught, which was brought about by....
The UGLY. I watched this game. I have a Master’s Degree. I think I am a smart person and I still can’t make heads or tails of it.
It was the James Loney error that did it. Addison Reed completed the inning in the seventh after Colon got into trouble, but James Loney just had to make an error in the eighth. That made Terry Collins think, and when Terry Collins thinks too hard he gets himself into trouble.
With one out and one on, a one-run game, and Freddie Freeman coming up, Gary, Keith, and Ron, everyone in the stadium, me, Twitter, everyone I was texting, were all in agreement you stick with Addison Reed to get you through the inning. Reed, who has been the eighth inning guy all year. Reed who sports a 1.73 ERA and 37 holds. Reed who Fangraphs recently compared to Andrew Miller. You dance with the one who brung ya.
Maybe Terry Collins did not go to a lot of dances when he was younger because he snubbed Reed in favor of the younger, hipper Josh Smoker. This was rather rude of Collins especially since he has offered high praise of Reed in the past.
So Smoker came in and then Smoker left after Freeman immediately singled off of him. Now with the inning snowballing, Collins was forced to bring in Jeurys Familia on a double switch with runners on. Matt Reynolds came in to play third. He would see no action by the time this game was over.
Ender Inciarte was just getting started when he reached on Loney’s error. He led a double steal against Familia, and then ran through a stop sign to score on Matt Kemp’s sacrifice fly to tie the game.
Now that inning was ugly but Collins outdid himself in the bottom of the inning. With one out, Cespedes struck a ball to left that Matt Kemp dropped. Cespedes did not hustle out of the box so he had to stay at second when he should have been at third. The Braves intentionally walked Curtis Granderson and then Cespedes decided he should be on third after all, so he led a double steal with Granderson. T.J. Rivera had an ugly at-bat and struck out to leave the runners where they were.
Next up, Kelly Johnson was announced as a pinch-hitter for Matt Reynolds. The Braves countered and brought in a lefty reliever. Johnson, who has been clutch down the stretch and does hit lefties fairly well, was then called back to the dugout. So both Matt Reynolds and Kelly Johnson were burned without ever getting an at-bat. Eric Campbell did get an at-bat and was intentionally walked.
So with the bases loaded, two-out, and a lefty on the mound Terry Collins chose Kevin Plawecki to pinch-hit and almost inevitably Plawecki struck out. This is the same Kevin Plawecki who was sent back to the minors after batting below .200 earlier in the year.
Ok so now let’s back up a bit and recap because it gets a little confusing. In the seventh inning Michael Conforto came in with Reed so he could hit in the bottom of the seventh. He came in to play right field, Curtis Granderson moved over to center and Alejandro De Aza was out of the game. After Conforto walked in his at-bat, he was lifted for pinch-runner Juan Lagares who can not swing the bat. When the eighth started, Juan Lagares was inserted into center and Granderson moved back to right. In summary, Granderson was in center for one at-bat.
So after the seventh inning two bench players were already used, Michael Conforto and Juan Lagares. Then after the eighth, Matt Reynolds, Kelly Johnson, Eric Campbell, and Kevin Plawecki were all gone. That’s six bench players in two innings.
On to the ninth. Bare with me because again the defensive replacements need to be addressed. Since both Kelly Johnson and Kevin Plawecki pinch hit for Matt Reynolds, who replaced Jose Reyes in the double switch with Familia, there was a vacancy at third base. Ty Kelly filled that vacancy and Eric Campbell stayed in to play first, because I guess Lucas Duda is still not well enough to play, even though he was activated off the DL last week.
Familia was not at his sharpest and after hits by Jace Peterson and Emilio Bonifacio, Inciarte was again in the middle of things and grounded out to bring in the go-ahead run.
Collins’s philosophy in this one must’ve been if it is worth doing, it is worth overdoing. He sent up three pinch hitters in a row to start the ninth. Brandon Nimmo pinch hit for Rene Rivera and singled. Juan Lagares was due up next, and since he still can not swing the bat, Jay Bruce pinch hit for him. Bruce of course struck out and that brought up the third pinch hitter of the inning in Travis d’Arnaud who was batting for Familia. d’Arnaud walked but could not be pinch run for, despite carrying the winning run, because he was the last catcher available. In the end it did not matter because Ender Inciarte robbed Cespedes of a home run to end the game.
Inciarte could be listed under “the infuriating” but it never should have gotten to the point where he could do that much damage.
All told after the game was over, 10 bench players were used, Familia pitched over one inning, Reed was used in the seventh but lifted in the eighth, the Mets were handed a sweep at the hands of the lowly Braves, I can’t figure Terry Collins out, and even after writing this it still does not make sense.
Collins is a player’s manager. He shows tremendous faith in his players almost to a fault *cough * Matt Harvey, *cough cough * but here he showed no faith in Addison Reed. Why? Or was he displaying too much faith in Josh Smoker? A playoff race in September is not the time to build up a young player. That can be done in April next year. I’m sure Smoker would not have been personally offended if Reed had stayed in for the eighth.
If only James Loney had not made that error.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big winners: Brandon Nimmo +13.2%, Bartolo Colon +13.0%, Travis d’Arnaud +12.4%,
Big losers: Jeurys Familia -40.9%, T.J. Rivera -16.3%, Kevin Plawecki -12.9%, Jay Bruce -11.9%
Teh aw3s0mest play: Asdrubal Cabrera 2-run home run in first
Teh sux0rest play: Ender Inciarte ground out in ninth
Total pitcher WPA: -33.%
Total batter WPA: -16.6%
GWRBI!: Ender Inciarte