“Worst loss of the season.”
That’s what everyone is saying about last night’s Mets game, and I’m ashamed to say that I didn’t see it coming. Even though the Mets find new ways to break our hearts every year, even though their bullpen has been as trash as ever this season, and even though they were so close to finally getting back over .500 that any reasonable Mets had to know something would go wrong, I did not see that coming.
I can’t even be that mad at Edwin Diaz for letting it happen. I want to be mad at Edwin Diaz, but he did what every pitcher is supposed to do with a three-run lead in the ninth inning. He threw strikes. Unfortunately, those strikes got hammered for four straight extra-base hits by Joc Pederson, Max Muncy, Justin Turner, and Cody Bellinger, but it’s not like our boy was nibbling. To me, it looked like his fastball lacked lateral movement and that his slider was flat. Not great for a closer who relies on his fastball and his slider, but maybe something that won’t be an issue in future outings.
Or maybe Diaz will just suck the rest of the season and I can hate the trade that brought him here even more than I already do. It was already a crap deal because it involved Robinson Cano’s contract and last year’s top draft pick, but now Diaz has blown what should have been an encouraging road win. Not great.
Robert Gsellman and Jeurys Familia also gave up runs to help the Dodgers overcome the 8-3 deficit, but I can deal with non-crooked numbers when the lead is that big. The real problem is Mickey Callaway using Diaz for a second straight game after he closed out a four-run win on Tuesday. It’s true that there aren’t a lot of reliable relief pitchers on this team, but for a lead that big, just throw out Wilmer Font or Hector Santiago to mop it up. Maybe then Diaz would have been a little sharper on Wednesday and Mets fans wouldn’t have to reset the “days without contemplating our existence” counter.
So yeah, it’s hard to argue that last night wasn’t the worst loss of the season. It was on the road against a serious contender, and it came with New York’s only solid relief pitcher on the hill. Plus, everyone was feeling dandy after Pete Alonso, Amed Rosario, and Dominic Smith combined to hit four home runs.
Next up, the Mets go for a series split at Chavez Ravine with Jason Vargas taking the bump opposite Hyun-Jin Ryu, the Korean southpaw who has been absolute money this year. All signs point to a Mets loss, but the good thing about this team is that it can surprise you in a good way as well as the bad kind we’re used to. Did you know that Vargas has allowed one run or fewer in four of his last five starts? It’s true, but only two of those starts have gone five innings. It’s something, though.