It was a nail-biter today in Miami, ultimately ending with a Martin Prado sacrifice fly following a thirteen-pitch at-bat.
Steven Matz, in his first outing back from the Disabled List, pitched 5 1/3 innings and allowed two earned runs with six strikeouts. He departed with the lead, after Wilmer Flores took the lead with a two-run shot in the top half of the sixth. Hansel Robles and Addison Reed each pitched effectively out of the bullpen, but Tyler Clippard could not hold onto the lead in the eighth, giving up a game-tying pinch-hit homer to Justin Bour.
Come the top of the ninth, the Mets had the bases loaded with Kevin Plawecki due up. Wanting some more punch off the bench, Terry Collins wisely pinch-hit Travis d’Arnaud, the regular starting catcher. Following an inning ending double play that sent the game to the bottom of the ninth, Collins, determined to give d’Arnaud a day off, replaced him with backup catcher Anthony Recker. This, combined with leaving Tyler Clippard in to throw over 40 pitches in relief, was the last of many, many mistakes Collins has made in the series. For one, replacing d’Arnaud with Recker diminishes the bench greatly, leaving David Wright and Kirk Nieuwenhuis the lone available players. Secondly, Recker is a much worse defensive catcher than Plawecki or d’Arnaud; which paid dividends on a strike out-passed ball to lead off the inning, making way for Prado’s heroics.
This is the last straw for me. Although I like Collins as a clubhouse guy, he just makes awful in-game decisions. Whether it is putting the most questionable of relievers in in the most clutch situations (Reed, O’Flaherty) or the boneheaded catchers decision-I want him gone at the end of the season.
The Mets will take on the Nationals in D.C. for perhaps the biggest series of the season tomorrow at 1:05pm. Jon Niese will take on Max Scherzer in the matinee. Bad news for Mets fans, as the Nationals have notoriously beaten up Niese- in the last five years, notable batting averages read as follows:
Wilson Ramos- .429
Danny Espinosa- .429
Jayson Werth- .313
Ryan Zimmerman- .400
What seemed like a sure playoff-bound team a week ago, sure seems questionable now.