What Happened, In Two Sentences
The Mets could have pounced early and turned this game in to a laugher. By the end, Mark Teixiera was laughing at them as the Yankees won 9-5.
Mets Make Three Quick Runs Feel Bad
If you missed the start to last night’s game, you might think the Mets excelled to get three runs in the first two innings. Based on how they started, the Mets should have gotten a lot more. Curtis Granderson led off with a home run just over the short right field fence in Yankee Stadium. The next four hitters reached base, making it 2-0 with the bases loaded and no outs. This year MLB teams average tacking on another 2.26 runs in this situation. Yankees’ starter Chad Green had struggled in his previous three starts and had thrown more balls than strikes. However, Michael Conforto struck out and Wilmer Flores grounded in to a double play to let Green off the hook.
Green got back in to trouble in the second when Mark Teixeira ran past a grounder, then twisted around to try and grab it. I will admit to making this mistake in video games, but I’ve never seen a professional do this in real life. Since Teixiera never touched the ball, the umpires gave Kelly Johnson a double. Rene Rivera drove him in with a single for the Mets third run, and then Granderson walked. The average MLB team would tack on an additional 1.46 runs in this situation, but the Mets got a Neil Walker double play and a Yoenis Cespedes groundout instead — way better, right? In the third, the Mets worked to first and second with one out. Instead of the expected 0.91 runs scored, the Mets got another Flores double play. Green settled down with two outs in the fourth, then allowed two runners. Joe Girardi decided not to press his luck any further and Green was gone after allowing 12 baserunners in lass than four innings. Luis Severino came in to strike out Cespedes and end another threat.
Matz Mashed Early
Steven Matz fooled Jacoby Ellsbury with a curveball that broke down the middle of the plate to start the game. It was an omen for his complete lack of command early on. A soft single, a walk and a double and the Yankees tied the game in the first. Didi Gregorious hit a liner over James Loney with two outs to give the Yankees a 3-2 lead. After the Mets tied it up in the top of the second, Matz got two outs. Teams average 0.1 outs once they get to two outs and no one on. Ellsbury and Rob Refsnyder singled past Flores and then Teixiera muscled a ball just over the wall in right center to make it 6-3. The Mets got a lot more opportunities but it was their crosstown rivals who capitalized.
Matz settled down after the home run, retiring 12 of the last 13 hitters he faced. The only batter to reach was Teixiera – and the Yankees veteran was the most upset about it. Matz hit Teixiera with a fastball just above the shin guard. The Yankees bench cleared, but Teixiera eventually walked to first base. Then he slid past second to try and break up an easy double play. Matz finished with a line you’d expect from a death metal band: 6 innings, 6 runs, 6 hits, and 6 strikeouts.
Seventh Inning Follies
No one was going to mistake this for a well-played game, but the Mets made sure to emphasize the point in the seventh. Granderson walked and Walker bunted against a severe shift for a single. Cespedes grounded to third for a fairly routine double play, but Chase Headley missed the catch. The Mets were only able to get one run from the bases loaded, no out situation as Jay Bruce and Conforto both struck out. Hansel Robles came in for the bottom of the seventh and promptly surrendered a single to newly called up prospect Gary Sanchez (his first MLB hit) and a double to Aaron Hicks. After a strikeout and a sacrifice fly it looked like Robles would limit the damage, but then he walked Teixiera and Headley to load the bases.
When Robles looked back to check on Teixiera, he started moving. It’s not clear whether Teixiera was stealing signs, staying loose or just trying to mess with the Mets’ pitcher. After a few pitches, Robles called Rivera in for a mound meeting. He threw a pitch to Starlin Castro, didn’t end the at bat, and called for another mound meeting. And then another! Mets fans were groaning, while Teixiera started laughing the next time Robles looked back. He jammed Castro, but Flores was playing back and couldn’t throw Castro out on the slow roller. Robles was removed from the game and started jawing at Teixiera until the ump broke them up. Josh Edgin came in for his first Major League appearance since Tommy John surgery. He threw four straight balls to put the cherry on top of the Mets terrible inning. Erik Goeddel came in to finish the game.
Offense Over Defense?
Terry Collins said he was going to play his best offensive lineup and make defense a secondary concern. Mets fans have been rightly concerned about the outfield defense, but they didn’t have much to do last night. Granderson was able to run down a fly ball over his head in the eighth on his only difficult play in center. The infield defense was a different story. Flores didn’t have enough mobility to make the play in the seventh and lollipopped a routine grounder in the eighth. Then again, the Yankees infielders also made several mistakes.
Yoenis Cespedes is going on the disabled list. He went 1-5 as the designated hitter and reached for his ailing quad after swinging the bat in the 9th. Its yet another example of the Mets asking someone to take a few days but then play through a minor injury, the player aggravating the injury and going to the DL anyway. Brandon Nimmo is heading back to the majors.
Sandy Alderson announced before the game that the Mets were going to shut down Lucas Duda for a month after his back flared up during routine drills. Anthony DiComo reports Duda is unlikely to return this season.
Curtis Granderson is now the Mets franchise leader with 18 home runs to lead off a ballgame. Jose Reyes has 17.
Teixiera’s home run was his first as a right handed hitter this year (102 PA).
Clutching the beer, ice cream, etc. you need to get through this string of bad play and bad injuries. The Mets will look to split the Subway Series tomorrow night.
Photo credit: Brad Penner – USA Today Sports