We all make mistakes. It happens. We misread things, we sign on the wrong dotted line, we go out into traffic or change lanes when we probably shouldn’t, whatever it is. We all mess things up. One time, I accidentally checked off the “I am a convicted felon” box on a job application. I am not a convicted felon. And I did not get that job.
But a major league team, run by major league coaches and a major league manager, handing the umpire a lineup card that was different from what they intended is something that has maybe never happened in 100+ years of Major League Baseball, and may never happen again — especially because, you know, we live in a world now that has copy machines and technology that is specifically used to avoid making those mistakes. And batting out of order, in general, is something you almost never see in MLB anyway; the last occurence of it happened two years ago.
That’s why the first inning of yesterday’s game was one of the finest in-game examples of LOLMets in quite a long time. I could explain what happened in detail, but it took SNY just about three full innings to explain it themselves, so I’ll give you the Sparknotes version. Basically, the Mets gave the Reds and the umpires a lineup card that listed Asdrubal Cabrera batting second and Wilmer Flores batting third on the lineup, which was the reverse of what the Mets actually wanted. So in the first inning, Flores came up in front of Cabrera and struck out, and then Cabrera came up after and doubled. Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman came out to protest, and the umpires recognized the problem and ruled Cabrera out. However, the next batter, Jay Bruce, was the charged with the out (on a 2U putout) despite having nothing to do with the affair, and Cabrera’s double was wiped from the record books because baseball rules are weird. Either way, that was how the Mets blew their first RISP chance of the day.
From there, Zack Wheeler continued to be a complete enigma, following up his eight earned run performance on Friday night with a splendid outing this time around, going six innings in a one-run effort, striking out seven and only walking three.
Going into the sixth, Wheeler had not allowed a run and had retired his last 12 batters. He was in control, and efficient in the process. But he ran into trouble in the sixth, by allowing a walk, a bunt hit and an RBI single to Joey Votto to bring in the Reds’ first run. He walked the bases loaded two batters later, but showed confidence and poise — something he’s not been known for — and induced a pop out and then fanned Tony Cruz to end the inning, stranding the runners and finishing his afternoon with a flourish.
And now for the bad stuff, which is the the entire offense. The Mets mustered just four hits all game (that were counted, at least) and their one and only run scored on a groundout by Cabrera in the third. They were shut out by the worst pitching staff in baseball for the rest of the game, and have scored only three runs the last two games against said pitching staff.
The game was tied 1-1 as Wheeler exited, and the tandem of Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman was able to keep it tied through nine. But when the offense can’t score runs, the bullpen, naturally, will have to blow it eventually. A.J. Ramos came on in the 10th and surrendered a walk-off home run to Adam Duvall to end the game, giving the Reds a 2-1 victory.
The Mets just dropped a series they absolutely needed to take against the worst team in baseball. By losing to the Reds twice this series, the Mets have now contributed 20% of their wins on the season. The Mets are now 18-17 after getting off to an 11-1 start on the season.
These past few weeks for this team are eerily reminiscent of May 2017, when they fell apart and tanked their season in the course of about a week. They’ve also had a knack for ruining good starts in recent years, like in 2016 when they ruined a 15-7 start, or in 2015 when they ruined a 13-3 start. What I’m trying to say is: we’ve seen this movie before. This is the same team it’s always been. Hopefully it can end better this year than it did last year. But I’m not optimistic. Changes need to start happening.
In the mean time, nobody look at what’s happening in the Bronx, please.
OTHER NEWS OF THE DAY:
Jay Bruce will not be with the team over the weekend in Philadelphia, as he will be attending the birth of his second child, further cementing his status as the biggest dad on the team.
The Mets can’t lose today, because they aren’t playing, but they’ll be visiting the surprisingly-good Phillies over the weekend. The three-game tilt kicks off tomorrow night, with Steven Matz squaring off with Jake Arrieta at 7:10 p.m. ET.
Photo credit: David Kohl – USA Today Sports