2 Mets to blame for the series loss to the Braves, 1 to thank for avoiding the sweep
This New York Mets series against the Atlanta Braves was one I had circled on my calendar since the day the schedules came out late last season. The Mets and Braves battled throughout all of last season, with the tie being broken in the final game between the two teams.
Mother nature wound up playing a huge role and made this series feel pretty anti-climactic. Friday night's game lasted only five innings, while the other two were postponed. A double-header was played on Monday, but it just didn't feel like it had the same intensity that a normal three-game weekend series between these two bitter rivals would have,
The Braves walked out of New York the victors, taking two of three. The Mets are dealing with a plethora of injuries, particularly in the rotation, so it was good to see them win one. It's good that they avoided the sweep, but it's never good to lose a series to a division rival, and there're definitely people to blame for the unwanted result.
1) NY Mets to blame for the series loss: Buck Showalter
This is not my first time being critical of Buck Showalter and the job he's done as an in-game manager not only for the Mets, but in his entire managerial career. I understand how awesome he is for the clubhouse, but he continues to make decisions I do not understand.
First of all, I have no idea why Denyi Reyes started that game. Reyes has been used as a reliever all season. As a Met, he never went more than two innings and never threw more than 33 pitches in an outing before this game. He went down to Syracuse to get stretched out, but he made one start, lasted 1.2 innings, and threw 36 pitches. He was only going to be used for six or seven outs at most in this game.
Reyes was allowed to face the star-studded top of the Atlanta order to begin the game, and he promptly allows a three-run shot four batters into the game to put the Mets in an immediate hole. Then, after throwing 31 pitches in the first, and after the Mets showed life in the bottom half, Buck allows him to pitch the second and he allows a two-run homer before getting pulled. He recorded three outs in the afternoon. If Buck for some reason HAS to start Reyes couldn't it have come in the second game to save some of the bullpen?
With the Mets down big, the bats came alive and made this a game. The Mets knocked Spencer Strider out of the game and cut the Atlanta lead to 6-5 after six. With all of his relievers well-rested, Buck opts to stick with Jeff Brigham, a guy they brought up from AAA a couple of weeks ago, against the top of the Atlanta order. What do you know, four batters later it's a 9-5 game. The Mets would go on to lose 9-8.
Buck continues to refuse to use any of his high-leverage arms in games the Mets are trailing by one run and I will never understand why. This has been my biggest issue with Buck since the day he took the job. Everyone was rested, but Jeff Brigham has to face the top of that order. It doesn't make any sense to me. A game the Mets were in, ended up being out of reach because of the low-leverage guys being used in high-leverage spots.