Mets 4, Rockies 5; Final
In the end, even the arrival of Amed Rosario was too much good to be enjoyed. A lost season? Once-in-a-generation pitching on the shelf? All that was needed was a slapstick end to this road trip to make sure no one mistook this team for contenders any time soon. As Hansel Robles’ last pitch of the day left his hand and set sail for the Rockies post-haste, we got the mainline adrenaline shot of misery we needed. That’s the stuff. Put it right in my veins.
The Mets wrapped up their 10-game road trip with an ugly, see-saw loss in Colorado. Despite pretty good individual performances over the course of the week (nothing loosens you up like a concession by the front office that your season is over and starting a fire sale), and the much-anticipated arrival of Amed Rosario, there was ample evidence that the 2017 Mets are a bad team. Yesterday’s result was the inevitable product of when a bad team faces a better one.
The Mets weren’t the only team showing off new players; the Rockies’ new catcher, Jonathan Lucroy, made his first start for the team and would be a deciding factor in the win.
Rafael Montero struggled off the blocks — surrendering two hits to start the game — but escaped lasting damage. Montero would steady the ship, retiring the next seven hitters in a row. In the bottom of the third, he got two outs on consecutive strikeouts before surrendering four hits in a row at the top of the order and putting the Mets down 2-0. The bleeding stopped on a nifty play by Rosario (he would be in the middle of a few of them this afternoon) on an infield dribbler by Mark Reynolds.
Yoenis Cespedes halved the Rockies’ lead in the fourth with a powerful home run, his 11th of the season.
Rosario led off the fifth with his second major league triple in his week-long career. Rene Rivera walked, and Montero tied the game with a hard-hit single to right field, the second hit of his career. While the Mets would threaten and load the bases, the best they could manage was tying the game.
The tie was short-lived: Charlie Blackmon had a day, leading off the bottom of the fifth with a solo home run.
The Mets would claw back to a tie in the sixth behind a Rene Rivera RBI single tied the game again with a single. Before Rivera’s game-tying hit, Brandon Nimmo was standing in the on-deck circle, but after Curtis Granderson scored, Montero scrambled back into the box for a hurried strikeout that nevertheless kept his start going.
In the bottom of the frame, Mark Reynolds shredded that idea, giving the Rockies the lead again with a leadoff home run, his 23rd of the season (and a fine way to celebrate his 34th birthday). Montero managed two more outs before Jonathan Lucroy reached on a misplay on a chopper by Asdrubal Cabrera at third, and Terry Collins gave the ball to Josh Smoker, who struck out pinch-hitting Alexi Amarista.
Under a gentle rain that must have felt quite familiar to the native of the Pacific Northwest, Michael Conforto extended his hitting streak to seven games with a leadoff single off Rockies reliever Pat Neshek. He scored on Cabrera’s RBI double, as the Mets tied the game after falling behind for the third time in the afternoon.
Smoker started the seventh, and was replaced after one out by Erik Goeddel, who coughed up a leadoff double to DJ LeMahieu, but the reigning NL batting champion got greedy, tried to stretch the hit into a triple, and was cut down, Cespdes-to-Rosario-to-Cabrera. Goeddel immediately gave up a ground-rule double to Nolan Arenado, and Collins had seen enough, calling upon Jerry Blevins, who coaxed a fly out from Gerardo Parra.
Adam Ottavino walked Jose Reyes to lead off the eighth, and while Reyes was called safe stealing second, it was reversed on review, and Rosario then struck out. Rivera went ahead 3-0, and then got drilled to take first. He was replaced by pinch runner Steven Matz; Rockies Manager Bud Black replaced Ottavino with Mike Dunn, who retired a pinch-hitting Neil Walker.
Hansel Robles raised hopes by pitching a scoreless eighth before immediate cratering Mets fans’ hopes by hitting Lucroy to start the ninth. Pinch hitter Pat Valaika bunted Lucroy over, and the Mets then put Charlie Blackmon on first (without a pitch being thrown, they’re not intentional walks anymore, we need a new term).
Robles then got wild: he walked LeMahieu with five pitches, loading the bases for Arenado — who had already hit a walkoff against Robles and the Mets in the opening game of the series. After getting ahead 0-2, Robles went to a full count. It seemed by all appearances, a perfect dramatic showdown, the stuff of film. But these are the Mets. The next pitch sailed out of Robles’ hand, almost over Arenado’s head, hitting the backstop on the fly. If there was a film analogue, it would be the Keystone Cops. The Rockies had a walkoff win with nothing but walks.
Photo credit: Isaiah J. Downing – USA Today Sports