The Mets saw the opportunity but the engines failed to fire. For the second day, the team lost an opportunity to gain ground in the Wild Card Race. Moving on?…
The Mets know they will need help from the teams ahead of them in the NL Wild Card chase. The team can run the table or close to it, but nothing is changed if their competitors also win. The same is true if everyone loses. Welcome to a day the Mets will rue during the offseason – Sunday, September 8, 2019.
It took the longest nine-inning game (4:29) in the history of the Mets franchise to seal their fate. There were more than one-hundred foul balls and more than four hundred pitches. Seventeen times Mets hitters came to the plate with runners in scoring position. Only three times did they get the job done.
Combined with Saturday night’s loss, the Mets went 3-27 with RISP in the two losses to the Phillies at Citi Field. In all, the Mets stranded 28 men on base after taking the first game of the series from the Phillies Friday night. On Sunday, the team left at least one man on base every inning.
Mets: Gauging The Immediate Impact
You can’t win ’em all – we know that. And the 2019 Mets have had their share of crunchtime wins and come from behind wins. But today hurts – big. On a day when the spiraling downward Chicago Cubs lost to the Brewers, and the Reds cooled off the Diamondbacks, the Mets stood still, four games off the pace.
The what-ifs? Oh, there were plenty. Pete Alonso had two late-inning chances to turn the tide. With men on base, Alonso popped out to the catcher and struck out. Michael Conforto failed both times to pick Alonso up in those same situations. In the eighth inning, Jeff McNeil hit a screaming drive that was caught at the base of the wall.
And then, there was the bizarre decision by Mickey Callaway to walk a .190 hitter intentionally with runners on second and third. Did Callaway “intentionally” know that Phillies manager Gabe Kapler had Bryce Harper lying in wait as a pinch hitter for the next batter? Was it that Callaway wanted to test his pitcher? Or, was it another one of those oops moments on Callaway’s resume? P.S. Harper drew a bases-loaded walk off Tyler Bashlor.
A silver lining? Oh, yes, we also have that. Both Edwin Diaz and Jeurys Familia each pitched a scoreless inning. An exhausted Wilson Ramos drove in three and scored two. And the increasingly valuable Joe Panik drove in a run as a pinch-hitter to tighten the game to its 10-7 final score.
Callaway And Alonso: The Expected Refrain
I’m writing now, but I know if I tuned in to SNY for the postgame show the refrain emanating from Mickey Callaway is predictable. “We had our chances, and it was a tough loss. Our guys battled but came up short. It’s time to turn the page to get ready for the D’backs tomorrow night”.
Then, it’s Pete Alonso’s turn. “Whew, that was a long and tough one. I failed when the team needed me, and that hurts big time. But I’m ready, and this team is ready to move on. This team will not quit”.
Well, Guess What – They’re Right!
Well, you know what. They are both absolutely and unequivocally correct. This version of the 2019 Mets does not quit. With twenty games left to play, the team is wounded but not dead.
The perennial proclamation issued by the Wilpons to “play games in September that matter” is a reality. While the Wilpons have only dollar signs dancing in their head, Mets fans and the players themselves have something else in mind.
Yes, we made it here. But now that we are playing games that count, we want more. We want October and nothing short of that.
Today did not do anything to help the Mets chances of achieving that goal. But until there are no more “tomorrows,” this team will be sending their ace, Jacob deGrom to the mound to take on the still red-hot Arizona Diamondbacks in the first of four games on Monday at Citi Field.
Moreover, with the way the schedule works out, the Mets have the luxury of pitching deGrom and Noah Syndergaard in ten of the remaining twenty games. Oh yes, there’s still a chance…