Had the Mets prioritized defense, even for one night, you might not get the 5-1 loss the team suffered last night.
With Jose Bautista signed and inserted into the lineup, the Mets sat Jay Bruce because the Marlins were starting a lefty. And they also sat Luis Guillorme, which left Jose Reyes to play third. That wound up being the worst decision possible. Even if Guillorme went 0-for-4 at the plate, there’s no way he would have made the same gaffes Reyes did in the field, which had a significant impact on the game.
The initial Reyes blunder came in the second when the Marlins already had a run in and runners on first and second. With one out, pitcher Caleb Smith put down a terrible bunt that greatly confused the third baseman. The initial befuddlement came when he didn’t know whether he should catch it on the fly or not. After the ball dropped, the Mets had a chance for a double play, but Reyes hesitated.
He looked to second. He looked to third. He looked back to second, then fired a low throw to first that Asdrbual Cabrera couldn’t handle, and everyone was safe. Wheeler got a huge out when Martin Prado popped up for the second out, but J.T. Realmuto squeezed a single through the infield to bring home two runs.
Had Reyes been more decisive, the inning could’ve ended with Smith’s at-bat. Since he is uncomfortable at third, let’s cut him some slack and say he should’ve at least gotten the sure out at first. Then the inning should’ve ended after Prado. The Mets scored in the bottom of the inning, so it should’ve been a 1-1 game and Wheeler would’ve thrown less pitches. In the fifth, Reyes’s second error didn’t cost Wheeler any extra pitches, but more effort was needed since it put runners on second and third.
That is the key here. Wheeler pitched a very nice game. He didn’t walk anybody, which is huge for him, and he struck out nine, but he left after the sixth inning after throwing extra pitches and having to do some heavy lifting to get out of a jam.
Robert Gsellman came in for the seventh and was not his usual self. He got out of a minor jam unscathed but he too ended up throwing alot of pitches. That meant A.J. Ramos came in for the eighth, having pitched more than an inning the night before. He had been doing well lately and got a huge out with the bases loaded in the series opener, but he was not as sharp in this one. He walked the first batter he faced and then gave up a two-run home run to Derek Dietrich to put the Marlins up 5-1 in the eighth.
If Wheeler goes deeper in this one, perhaps Ramos isn’t needed. Maybe it is Gsellman in the eighth in a 1-1 game where the game could still easily be won against the Marlins’ bullpen.
To be fair to both Reyes and Bautista, they were some of the few that actually managed a hit against Miami pitching and they helped contribute to the Mets’ only run. Bautista doubled, moved to third on Reyes’s groundout, and came home on a sacrifice fly by Tomas Nido. The offense continued to be dreadful against lefties and Bautista at least helped prevent a shutout.
We don’t know how this game would’ve turned out if Guillorme had started over Reyes, or if Reyes got the boot over Evans and Evans got the start, but I guess we will just have to use our imaginations.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big winners: None
Big losers: Asdrubal Cabrera -11.4%
Teh aw3s0mest play: Jose Bautista double in second
Teh sux0rest play: JT Realmuto single in second
Total pitcher WPA: -12.6%
Total batter WPA: -37.4%
GWRBI!: JT Realmuto