It wasn’t unusual for the New York Mets to ask David Robertson to get them through the eighth inning on Sunday. With the score tied at 7, Buck Showalter wanted one of his best relievers on the mound. The timing was a little strange, though. He was set to face the number 8, 9, and 1 hitters in the St. Louis Cardinals lineup.
Eight pitches later, the Cardinals were done. The Mets would take their hacks in the bottom half of the inning. The score remained tied. Then came the call to remove Robertson from the game in favor of Adam Ottavino, a pitcher we’ve seen give up some late leads. Nolan Arenado took him deep with one out. That was it folks. The Mets lost.
It was later explained the Mets wanted to have Robertson available as fresh as can be for the series against the Houston Astros. Two games later, a blowout win and a loss have made Robertson irrelevant. As John Harper points out, it’s one of those decisions carrying over into the next few games to make Sunday’s decision look worse in hindsight.
The Mets got caught looking ahead when they had a win right in front of them
Chances always favored the Mets beating the Cardinals over being able to steal a victory from the Houston Astros. As poorly as they had been playing, not having Robertson available for the next day was a chance the Mets apparently needed to take. It’s easy to wag our fingers now with Robertson watching both games from start to finish in the bullpen. But even at the time everyone was under the belief that if Robertson was able to get through the inning so smoothly, why not keep him out there to at least start the ninth?
The Mets will probably now feel forced to use Robertson in Wednesday’s season finale regardless of the score just to get him some work. All of this stems back to the choice to have him face the bottom part of the Cardinals’ order instead of the meat.
As they teeter on the edge of oblivion between buying and selling at the trade deadline, every win matters. The June schedule was not very kind. It doesn’t get any easier between now and the All-Star Break. This team needs to lock up every win they can get. They play the Philadelphia Phillies, Milwaukee Brewers, San Francisco Giants, Arizona Diamondbacks, and San Diego Padres to finish off the first half of the season.
The starting lineup, but more so the use of relief pitchers, is what gets managers the most criticism. The Sunday mistake looks even worse three days later.