Mets bullpen spoils Conforto’s and Walker’s big day at the plate
By JT. Teran
The New York Mets were swept in Milwaukee on Sunday after the bullpen collapsed and gave up 7 runs in the final two innings of the game.
Michael Conforto and Neil Walker‘s spectacular afternoon at the plate was completely wasted as the Mets endured what is arguably the worst loss of the season.
Conforto batted in the third spot of the order for the first time this season, and he delivered. He went 3-for-4 with a walk, a double, a triple, a home run and three RBIs. His big hit came in the fifth inning with the bases loaded when he drove in two with his double.
Walker also kept his recent hot streak going. After a 3-for-5 afternoon with three RBIs on Sunday, he finished up 8-for-13 with two home runs and seven RBIs overall this weekend in Milwaukee.
His single in the seventh inning to bring in Conforto from third made the game 8-3, and at the time, it looked like the Mets had broken the game wide open. But a combination of the Brewers’ power bats, and New York’s awful bullpen would ensure that wasn’t the case.
In the bottom of the same frame, manager Terry Collins decided to give deGrom a chance to get another inning under his belt even though he had already thrown 101 pitches. DeGrom walked the leadoff batter and Collins pulled him in favor of Jerry Blevins.
Blevins had not given up a home run the entire season until, of course, Sunday when the struggling Jonathan Villar would connect for a two-run shot. The Brewers would hit another homer before Fernando Salas narrowly escaped with the lead.
While the Mets would tack on another run in the top of the eighth to make it 9-6, every Mets fan watching the game knew it wouldn’t be enough.
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After Salas couldn’t get through the eighth, Collins decided to bring in his closer, Addison Reed for a five out save.
A bases-loaded single that brought in two runs, and a three-run home run by Manny Pina would ultimately give the Brewers the lead off Reed, and complete the epic collapse we all felt was coming.
This series in Milwaukee was about as disappointing as it could get. While it’s true the Mets are without their ace, their best bullpen arm, and their best hitter, the team has actually been in a great position to win these games.
The offense has actually shown up, and you have guys like aforementioned Michael Conforto and T.J. Rivera that are playing out of their minds right now. It’s all going to waste because the bullpen can’t figure it out at all.
Both Jerry Blevins and Fernando Salas pitched on Sunday after three days, so while the whole being overused early on in the season is completely valid, for this specific game, they should have been somewhat fresh and ready.
It also doesn’t help that Mets starters have been unable to get deep into games at all. This is really where not having an innings eater like Bartolo Colon was this year really hurts the club.
If, on average, you can’t get more than five or six innings out of your starting pitchers, odds are you’re going to burn your bullpen out one way or another.
Terry Collins is also not without blame in this scenario. He’s played the matchup game a little too finely early on. We’ve seen him bring guys like Jerry Blevins in to face one batter or not letting other guys finish out an inning because of a matchup issue after they get the first two outs easily.
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That type of managing style coupled with the starters inability to give the team length is a recipe for disaster. That disappointing sour cake has been baking over the last few weeks, and on Sunday we all got to try a slice of it.