More injuries, another late meltdown and questionable decisions led to another disheartening loss
The Mets blew a four-run lead in the eighth inning on Monday night
What’s Up with the Mets? ⚾️
The Mets lost another late lead in disheartening fashion on Monday, blowing a 4-0 lead before losing to the Phillies 5-4 at Citizens Bank Park (box)
Trevor May, Joely Rodriguez and Seth Lugo combined to allow all five runs in the eighth inning
The Mets did manage three two-out RBI on Monday, but went just 3-for-12 with runners in scoring position and are 5-for-30 with RISP since Saturday
The Mets lost both Taijuan Walker (shoulder irritation) and Trevor May (arm fatigue) to injury - both will undergo MRI’s
The Mets have already lost two games in 2022 when leading after seven innings - they were 41-10 in when leading after seven innings and 62-19 overall when scoring four or more runs in 2021
LHP David Peterson threw four scoreless innings of relief of Walker on Monday, walking two and striking out three
The Mets will unveil their statue of Tom Seaver on Friday morning at 10:30 AM at Citi Field - members of the Seaver family, Mike Piazza and both Steve and Alex Cohen will be in attendance at the dedication ceremony
Roster Moves 📰
RHP Jordan Yamamoto cleared waivers - he has been outrighted to Triple-A Syracuse
Mark Canha recorded his league-high eighth hit on Monday night and is now 8-for-14 with three walks to start the year
Brandon Nimmo recorded his third multiple-hit game of the early season - he has reached base seven times in his first four games of the year
Today’s Game 🗓
Match-up: Mets (3-2) at Phillies (3-1)
Where: Citizens Bank Park - Philadelphia, PA
Starters: RHP Tylor Megill (1-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. RHP Zack Wheeler (2022 debut)
When: 6:45 PM EDT
Where to Watch: SNY
We’ve seen this movie before with the bullpen 📝
Over the last two games, the Mets have shown little issue recording the first 21 outs of the game, allowing just one run over seven innings against the Nationals on Sunday and shutting out the Phillies through seven innings on Monday. And the Mets were able to do that on Monday despite getting just six outs from starting pitcher Taijuan Walker, who had been dealing with a sore knee but ultimately left the game due to right shoulder irritation.
But as was the case on Sunday, the loss isn’t squarely on the pitchers themselves, but also the position Mets manager Buck Showalter put his relievers in.
Unfortunately, this is an all-too familiar movie with the Mets, and its not good like watching Star Wars for the 1000th time, either…
The chain reaction caused by the injury to Trevor May
“We try to stay in reality, but this one hurts,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said after Monday’s disappointing loss.
The eighth inning began immediately with a head-scratching move by Showalter when he allowed Trevor May to enter for a second inning. At the time, the Mets did have a four-run lead at the time but Showalter still had Adam Ottavino and Seth Lugo at his disposal. Perhaps Showalter’s plan was to have May pitch to the first two batters of the inning before turning to Joely Rodriguez to face Kyle Schwarber if May had gotten into trouble.
But May left the game after issuing a leadoff walk to Alec Bohm with what was described as arm fatigue, something May downplayed after the game but will have an MRI performed on his upper arm nonetheless.
And that injury caused a chain reaction which snowballed into a bullpen implosion for a second consecutive day.
It was clear Showalter injected Joely Rodriguez not to face the next batter in Johan Camargo, but the one after in Schwarber. The problem for Showalter and the Mets is Rodriguez is largely ineffective against right-handed hitters (they hit to a tune of .339 with an .826 OPS against him in 2021). But because of the three-batter rule, Rodriguez had to face Camargo is Showalter wanted him to face Schwarber.
The injury to May forced Showalter’s hand in this situation, but the chain of events which followed May’s exit were potentially avoidable, not so much the injury to May but the final result in the inning.
If May had not started the inning and Showalter instead opted for either Ottavino or Lugo, Rodriguez would’ve been setup to face Schwarber and Bryce Harper if needed. After all, that’s why Mets GM Billy Eppler acquired Rodriguez - to face the big left-handed hitters they had nobody else to neutralize. But he most certainly wasn’t acquired to face Camargo or JT Realmuto, who he also had to face because of the three-batter rule and connected for a two-run home run against Rodriguez.
Of course, that’s when Showalter injected Lugo into the game, who just didn’t have it and surrendered two more runs and handed the game over to the Phillies.
“[Lugo’s] been a really good pitcher for us for a long time,” Showalter explained. “He gets one. It just wasn’t his night. He made a good pitch. Some balls uncharacteristically were hit hard off of him, but he’s a good one. I’m glad we’ve got him.”
Setup to fail
For a second consecutive day, the Mets were not setup to succeed in the later innings. Yes, they were without Edwin Díaz who was out on bereavement (he should be available tonight), and with May suddenly a question mark, the bullpen - which is by far the weakest link on this roster - is in more disarray.
And look - at some point, between May, Rodriguez, and Lugo, they need to make a pitch for their manager, and literally none of them were able to do that in that five-run bloodbath courtesy of the Phillies last night. But that doesn’t mean there weren’t better choices to make in an effort to win these two games. In the case of Rodriguez, he was the last pitcher who should’ve replaced May - that he came in cold to face two right-handed hitters in his required sequence of three batters is just setting him up to fail.
That’s on the manager, not the player.
There’s good news?
The Mets having blown two late leads and losing in the last two days with injuries to Walker and May sandwiched in between is hardly encouraging, and that’s putting it nicely.
But the Mets did have another pitcher step up for them in the midst of their pitching crisis on Monday - David Peterson.
Peterson replaced the injured Walker in the third inning and was spotless over four innings, walking just two and striking out three. The walks did force him to make some big pitches, but he was successfully able to get the Phillies to roll over his change-up a couple of times, one of which was a big double play from Rhys Hoskins in the fourth inning.
“If we’d have won that game it would have been on Pete’s shoulders,” Showalter said after the loss.
Peterson relied heavily on that change-up on Monday - 20 of his 58 pitches were of that variety and while he only got one swing-and-miss with that pitch, it effectively off-set his 94 mph fastball with an eight mph differential, keeping the Phillies off-balanced and getting them to chase routinely on balls outside the zone. He got burned in one instance against Nick Castellanos in the fourth when he dunked a single the other way on a ball in the other batters box, but all was well in the world when Hoskins grounded into an inning-ending double play.
“Everything felt good tonight with my stuff,” Peterson explained afterwards. “Being able to execute. Working with [James McCann] back there right away felt like we were just on the same page. Having a great defense like that - it’s easy to pitch to hitters and let the defense take care of it.”
Also - as an aside - I really dig these 6:45 PM starts. Other teams need to get the hint.
Around the League 🚩
Cubs pitcher Keegan Thompson was suspended for three games for intentionally throwing at Brewers OF Andrew McCutchen this past weekend
The Lerner family could explore selling the Washington Nationals (Washington Post)
LHP Blake Snell has abductor tightness, and is likely going on the injured list for the Padres (MLB.com)