I was just starting to have a little faith in the Mets’ bullpen, but last night it almost blew a game along with all the good vibes that the team has built up in Miami. With the Mets holding a 3-1 lead in the eighth thanks to six rock-solid innings pitched by Jacob deGrom, Dellin Betances allowed the bases to be loaded on two singles and a walk. He then hit Eddy Alvarez with a pitch to force in a run. That prompted Mets skipper Luis Rojas to bring in Edwin Diaz with two outs and the bases loaded.
I’ve liked the way that Diaz has looked over his past few appearances — his month of August: 19 strikeouts, two walks, one run allowed in eight and one third innings — but even I wasn’t ready for Diaz to be inserted into a huge spot like this. My fears were confirmed when Diaz walked Logan Forsythe on five pitches (could have easily been four) to tie the game. Diaz then struck out Jonathan Villar to end the threat, but this was still looking like a typical Mets disaster game.
Brandon Kintzler took the mound for Miami in the ninth and got two quick outs before Brandon Nimmo reached on a line-drive single. That brought Michael Conforto to the plate.
Boom. Biggest hit of the season. Just when it looked like the Mets were due to take one step backwards after two steps forward in Miami, Scooty McFreakingBooty delivers a BOMB to center field, putting the bad guys back on top. To top it all off, Diaz was untouchable in the bottom half, striking out the side on just 12 pitches. Big win, baby.
Other fun from Wednesday
- In the top of the eighth, Dominic Smith came up big again with an RBI double that gave New York its third run. This game would have been a lot less stressful if Pete Alonso and Luis Guillorme hadn’t followed up with bases-loaded ground outs.
- Guillorme still managed to stay hot during the game, going 2-for-4 with an RBI single. He’s the complete opposite of the modern slugger in that he just finds holes on the ground instead of trying to hit the ball over everyone’s head. That strategy limits his power output, but his ability to direct the ball where he wants can make him a solid average hitter for a long time.
- One reason whey Diaz was brought in the game in its most crucial spot was that Rojas is moving Seth Lugo into the rotation. This will do little to end the nonstop speculation about Lugo’s role on the Mets, but with the rotation in shambles and Diaz looking better lately, it’s easy to see why the decision was made.
The Mets will try to complete a sweep of the Marlins tonight at 6:10 p.m. Seth Lugo will start for New York with Steven Matz available out of the bullpen. Daniel Castano will take the hill for Miami. Two weeks ago, Castano made his big league debut against New York at Citi Field and was lit up for five runs in four and one third innings. However, he bounced back in his next start against the Braves, holding them to one run in six frames.