Hansel Robles wasted a fine Steven Matz start. Diamondbacks 5, Mets 3.
Discussion and Analysis
There was a time (let’s call it June 1 to August 1) when Hansel Robles posted a 1.61 ERA, overcoming a Mets-typical .347 BABIP by striking out 32 in 28 innings. Over his last three appearances, however, Robles has faced 21 batters and retired only 10 of them. He’s given up six runs in just 3.1 innings, jeopardizing both his role as the seventh-inning setup guy and the Mets’ previously-solid bullpen leading up to Jeurys Familia. Last night, Robles provided no relief, coughing up three hits, two walks, and the Mets’ 3-2 lead; Familia never entered the game.
It’s fair to wonder whether Robles is hitting a wall. He’s already thrown more innings in 2016 than he did all last season, even as he’s appeared in nine fewer games in nearly two months less of a season. Not that Terry Collins is worried about his pitchers’ well being. Steven Matz was allowed to throw a career-high 120 pitches over six innings despite his bone spur. Matz struggled with his command all game, going to full counts on seven of the first 13 batters he faced. He allowed only four hits over six innings, but two of those were solo home runs to Brandon Drury in the second and Paul Goldschmidt in the sixth. Matz struck out a career-high nine, hopefully not at the expense of future health and effectiveness.
Matz’s night was made no easier by his catcher’s inability to prevent baserunners from stealing. Travis d’Arnaud allowed five thefts, none of which were closely contested. It seemed that every time the Diamondbacks reached first base, it was only a matter of time before they ran on the Matz/d’Arnaud battery. There have been 11 games this season in which a National League team has stolen five or more bases. Three of those have come against the Mets. With d’Arnaud hitting .234/.278/.323 and unable to control the running game, he’s looking less and less like a major leaguer, let alone the starting catcher on a World Series contender. Indeed, Terry Collins pinch-hit the immortal Ty Kelly for d’Arnaud with two out and a runner on second in the ninth inning. If Collins begins to give d’Arnaud the same yo-yo treatment that’s messed up Michael Conforto, this season will be a multifaceted failure.
The Mets’ lone bright spot last night was Neil Walker. He singled in the first, and smartly advanced to third on a Jay Bruce single, allowing Bruce to reach second on the throw. Walker scored the first run of the game on the subsequent James Loney groundout. He again gave the Mets a lead in the sixth inning. Curtis Granderson led off with a double to right, then Walker hit his 20th dinger of the year, a no-doubter to right field. Walker was the subject of rumors earlier today, that the Mets are negotiating a contract extension. Walker’s been a great acquisition (don’t picture the Jon Niese alternative), but extending him now, when he’s had eight multi-hit games in his last 13 starts — and when the Mets just jettisoned Dilson Herrera, their erstwhile second baseman of the future — would be buying at the top of the market with the least amount of leverage. Better to wait until the offseason to figure out who’s going to play second for the 2017 team.
Neil Walker is the first Mets second baseman to reach 20 homers in a season since Edgardo Alfonzo in 2000.
— D.J. Short (@djshort) August 10, 2016
“The only thing that doesn’t get you through these kind of games is hubris. You feel like because you have a better record, you’re gonna throw your glove out there and the other team’s gonna not try. That’s not the case.” — Ron
“You’re a pitcher. Go sit down. Right turn back to the dugout.” — Keith, after Zack Greinke struck out looking on a pitch six inches inside.
“When you allow these kind of stolen bases, you’re just playing with fire. At some point, somebody’s going to come up with a knock.” — Ron, after Arizona stole their fifth base of the night.
The Marlins just shut out the Giants. The Wild Card deficit is now at two games. Bartolo Colon tries to stop the Mets’ skid tonight against Robbie Ray.
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