The Mets went into the eighth inning today with a 3-2 lead, with their second most trusted reliever on the mound. Before a second out was recorded, the Cubs were up 5-3, and the Mets dropped yet another game based on poor relief pitching and even worse managing.
Jacob deGrom got into a little trouble in the bottom of the second inning. After getting Javier Baez to strike out to start the inning, deGrom gave up back to back singles to Jason Heyward and David Bote. He would strike out Victor Caratini for the second out, but Cubs starter Cole Hamels helped his own cause and drove in the game’s first run.
The score would remain 1-0 until the top of the fourth inning, when Pete Alonso hit his 27th home run of the season to tie the game. Alonso now holds the Met record for home runs by a rookie, and it is (checks calendar) still June. He also now sits one behind Mark McGwire for the all-time rookie record of 28 home runs hit before July 1. In a season of ups and downs, Alonso has been such a joy to watch.
One inning later, Tomas Nido led off with a solo home run, giving the Mets their first lead of the day. An insurance run arrived just two batters later. After a Juan Lagares double, deGrom matched Hamels and drove in a run of his own, putting the score at 3-2.
In the bottom of the fifth, deGrom needed that insurance run as, after retiring the first two batters, Kris Bryant hit a ground rule and was driven in by an Anthony Rizzo. Rizzo was tagged out attempting to stretch it into a double, so deGrom escaped with just the one run scored.
Over his six innings of work, deGrom scattered right hits, while striking out nine and walking none. Though he was able to escape trouble, deGrom didn’t exactly look great, though he flashed dominance at points throughout the game. The Mets were likely hoping he could go more than six innings as well, due to their frequently over-matched and beleaguered bullpen.
Seth Lugo replaced deGrom and looked gassed, especially in his second inning of work. While he escaped the seventh without damage, Lugo looked ill suited for multiple innings today. Two innings every other day has been the Mets’ basic plan with Lugo this season, but Mickey Callaway’s inflexibility to adapt the gameplan struck again when he left a clearly done Lugo in, especially after giving up a hard-hit single to Kyle Schwarber.
But Callaway left Lugo in, and he walked Rizzo with one out. Again, he could have lifted Lugo and, again, he declined. The next batter was Baez, who hit a three-run home run to put the Cubs in front for good. Robert Gsellman was brought in to try to stem the damage, and he, more or less, succeeded.
The Mets were set down in order by Pedro Strop in the bottom of the ninth. In yet another bizarre managerial decision, Callaway had double switched Jeff McNeil into the game for Lugo in the eighth. This was bizarre, because Lugo was due to bat fifth in the inning, and so was double switched into a position where he wouldn’t necessarily get a chance to hit in the ninth. That is what played out due to the one-two-three inning, and so Callaway effectively rendered his best option off the bench moot.
However, the real fireworks happened after the game. There was a clubhouse incident that involved an unidentified beat reporter, but believed to be Tim Healey of Newsweek, and Callaway. Reportedly, Healey had asked Callaway why he didn’t bring Edwin Diaz, the Mets’ closer and key off-season acquisition, for a five-out save after Lugo started to falter. Callaway responded with vulgarity that would be considered over the top in just about every circumstance, but especially in a work situation.
Jason Vargas, again, reportedly, then threatened violence against Healey. It should go without saying that this type of behavior is absolutely unacceptable and should result in, at minimum, a suspension and fine or, perhaps, termination for both Callaway and Vargas. The Mets have said that there will be a statement on this situation released later tonight, and that Brodie Van Wagenen is expected to be in Philadelphia tomorrow, ahead of the Mets’ series with the Phillies.
While we may not know who will be managing the team tomorrow, we do know that Steven Matz will start for the Mets, with Zach Eflin going for the Phillies.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big winners: Jacob deGrom, +11.3% WPA, Tomas Nido, +16.4% WPA
Big losers: Seth Lugo, -53.5% WPA, Robinson Cano, -16.8% WPA,
Total pitcher WPA: -41.5% WPA
Total batter WPA: -8.5% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Tomas Nido’s solo home run, +14.5% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Javier Baez’s three-run home run, -54.0% WPA