Gut reaction: Braves 4, Mets 3 – 9/21/2016

whaaaaatStrange ball games can be fun, but not when you come out on the losing end. Things started off great. Asdrubal Cabrera got us off to an early lead with a two run-home run in the first inning and Rene Rivera added a solo shot in the fifth to give us a 3-0 lead that seemed secure. The ageless wonder, Bartolo Colon, pitched six dazzling innings before being greeted by former Mets catcher Anthony Recker with a two run-home run in the seventh inning. After Colon surrendered a single to put the tying run on first, Terry Collins made a gutsy move to turn to the back of the bullpen early. Addison Reed came in to get a strike out to end the inning and then came back out to pitch the eighth. He appeared to get Ender Inciarte to ground out but first baseman James Loney made what proved to be a very costly error allowing for a lead-off base runner. After getting the next batter out, Collins replaced Reed with Josh Smoker to pitch to red hot Mets killer Freddie Freeman. A bit of over-managing here if you ask this writer; Reed’s been the most dependable arm on the team all season. Naturally, Freeman got a hit. Told you so. Enter closer Jeurys Familia an inning early to put the fire out.

Collins, sensing the game on the line, wasn’t wrong to make this move, but sadly, it didn’t pan out. Inciarte and Freeman completed a double steal to put runners at second and third and Matt Kemp promptly drove in the tying run with a sacrifice fly. Familia escaped the eighth inning with the score tied 3-3. In the bottom of the eighth, Yoenis Cespedes hit what he thought was a tie-breaking home run, but Matt Kemp dropped it as he nearly caught it at the top of the wall. Cespedes, who should have turned it into a triple was busy admiring his shot and settled for a double. He and Curtis Granderson, who intentionally walked, performed their own double steal setting up second and third with one out. TJ Rivera promptly struck out and, following a series of chess moves with the managers swapping out relievers and pinch hitters (September baseball can be very annoying), and intentionally walking Eric Campbell to load the bases, Kevin Plawecki came up with a chance to be a hero…and went down swinging at bad pitches.

Familia came back out to pitch the ninth and coughed up another run courtesy of a seeing eye single, a sacrifice bunt, a bloop shot and a ground out that drove in the run. Down 4-3 entering the bottom of the ninth, the Mets were still in this. Brandon Nimmo reached first on a lead off single and up came the struggling Jay Bruce who…drum roll…struck out. Travis d’Arnaud walked, Cabrera flied out, and, for the second night in a row Cespedes came up with a chance to win it…and he very nearly did. The Lion King hit what appeared to be a walk-off game winning home run, but Braves center fielder Ender Inciarte had other plans. Enciarte ran like a deer, tracking the ball to the wall, leaped over the wall and robbed Cespedes and Mets fans of what would have been a spectacular win. Instead we again got swept at home by the Braves.

Didn’t the Braves make us cry enough in the late 90s and early 2000s? This is supposed to be our turn. The good news is that the Cardinals lost and, as of this writing, the Giants were down as well. If that holds up we won’t have lost any ground in the wild card chase. Next up we get four games at home against the Phillies.

If you’re reading this that means you’re a Mets fan. You’ve been here before. It’s never easy. Tomorrow is another day. Go get some rest. You’ve earned it.

22 comments for “Gut reaction: Braves 4, Mets 3 – 9/21/2016

  1. Jimmy P
    September 21, 2016 at 11:01 pm

    Great write-up, not an easy game to watch or summarize.

  2. TexasGusCC
    September 21, 2016 at 11:06 pm

    Founding Father of Panic City: Terry Collins. No one can overmanage a lead quite like Terry, and screw up a rally quite like Terry.

    Is everyone in agreement that he deserves another year, because of all the injuries, boo hoo boo hoo boo hoo?

  3. Jimmy P
    September 21, 2016 at 11:12 pm

    TC definitely got the tips by pulling Reed in the 8th. He’s been the team MVP this season, owning the 8th, and TC lifted him to play “mix and match.” Awful. Likewise, weird to go with KP — who sucks and never plays — over Loney, strictly because of the righty-lefty thing.

    I am reminded of Homer Simpson pinch-hitting for Strawberry in the big softball game because the other team brought in a LHP.


  4. MattyMets
    September 21, 2016 at 11:14 pm

    So many pinch hitters to choose from but so few of them can actually hit. It’s hard to fault Collins for the pinch hitters, but pulling Reed for Smoker and over playing the lefty matchup was really poor management. That move alone cost us the game. If Reed stayed in and finished the inning – and given his track record there’s no reason to believe he wouldn’t have- it’s a different ball game.

  5. MattyMets
    September 21, 2016 at 11:16 pm

    TC has made a lot of questionable calls this season and many have oddly worked out. Crazy thing is, if either of Cespy’s missed-by-a-whisker shots had gone out we wouldn’t be talking about Collins right now.

    • Jimmy P
      September 22, 2016 at 8:05 am

      I thinking pulling Reed for Smoker was crazy enough that we’d be talking about it as a footnote.

      Let’s remember that Smoker has 12 career MLB innings and the last time he was in a game he walked a guy with the bases loaded.

      Meanwhile, Reed has been unbelievably great.

      The move made no sense and even in victory (we wish), it would have given us all pause. Really just a horrible, horrible move.

      Let’s put it this way: If the Mets are going to lose a game in the late innings, I want the guy on the mound to be Reed or Familia, not Eric Goeddel or Josh Smoker. Those guys have earned this moment, have carried the team to this moment.

      TC did the same thing in the WS with Familia. Suddenly, at the most crucial point, he withdrew faith.

      This one is on TC. Every manager has a few each year. But, damn.

      Josh Smoker vs. LH hitters: .409 BA!

      Took out the guy with a BA under .200 against the same handedness.


  6. Meticated
    September 21, 2016 at 11:20 pm

    This was matter how you slice it, puree it and serve it…add seasoning…doesn’t change it…Braves simply outplayed us!

  7. Metsense
    September 21, 2016 at 11:23 pm

    Terry Collins overmanaged and lost an important game in a playoff drive.
    Reed should never have been replaced especially by a lesser pitcher. Kelly Johnson should not have been pinch hit for by Campbell and Loney should have remained in the game to bat instead of Plawecki. In these situations the established veteran against a young Brave reliever would have been the preferred matchup. Sensational catch by Inciarte to save the game. Lets exhale and take
    3 of 4 from the Phillies.

  8. TexasGusCC
    September 22, 2016 at 1:13 am

    I wrote this after yesterday’s game, and I said it tonight in the Chatter:

    Tyler Flowers has thrown out One, just One! of 58 base stealers this year.

    That is a 98.2% success rate. Let’s say it together: 98.2%!

    (I don’t just want to capitalize, but I want to use 48 font)
    And yet, the only stolen base the Mets attempted was a back end of a hit and run to stay out of a double play and the runner was Asdrubal Cabrera.

    The same Asdrubal Cabrera that we all know can’t run. And:

    One attempt the whole series! The guy hasn’t thrown out a base runner since April 20th, a mere five months ago, and they ran One Time!

    Pierzynski caught every game possible because of this guy and yet they only run once! And that was by mistake!

    I don’t know how anyone can possibly still defend this idiot!

    • TexasGusCC
      September 22, 2016 at 1:29 am

      I forgot the double steal, so 1/60. I can’t believe this team didn’t go crazy on the bases especially when they had leads and could afford to be aggressive.

    • Jimmy P
      September 22, 2016 at 8:18 am

      Do you have specific moments in mind?

      Which times & players?

      Last night Reyes went a couple of times and the ball was fouled off. A lot of these guys can’t run at all.

      I don’t think you can meaningfully look at a big stat like that and conclude that the Mets should have stole more bases without citing specific moments, circumstances.

      Didn’t De Aza get thrown out?

      • TexasGusCC
        September 22, 2016 at 8:53 am

        You are right, de Aza got thrown out, but it was by Recker. In fact, I forgot in my post game ire that Flowers didn’t start tonight. But, my point was mismanagement as a whole, but it only concerned the two earlier games.

  9. TexasGusCC
    September 22, 2016 at 1:23 am
    • Metsense
      September 22, 2016 at 8:34 am

      Some one should frame this article and send it to TC. If you lose, you want to lose with your best. Addison Reed earned that spot and every Met fan knows that. It was his inning to win or lose. Every Met fan knows how Addison Reed has pitched since he has come here. Why does’t the meddling manager not know this? TC really screwed up.

      • TexasGusCC
        September 22, 2016 at 8:46 am

        From Rubin’s column this morning:

        On inserting Smoker for Reed to face Freeman, Collins said: “I said, ‘This guy is too hot.’ I thought if he’s going to get a hit, face a power lefty. He got the s— jammed out of him and blooped it in.”
        Collins always makes things sound like they were so incidental when he’s defending a decision, but truth is he replaced one of the best relievers in MLB this year.

        • Jimmy P
          September 22, 2016 at 9:25 am

          Again, infuriatingly:

          Josh Smoker, 12 career MLB innings, left-handed batters are 9-22 against him.

          The slash line: .409/.480/.682 for an OPS of 1.162.

          So we put him into a crucial game to face Freddy Freeman.

          And we pull Addison Reed, our 8th-inning guy & best pitcher this season.

          Against LH batters, his slash: .193/.246/.257 for an OPS of .503.

          There’s no defense for that move. None.

  10. Jimmy P
    September 22, 2016 at 8:15 am

    Big picture, I can defend Terry Collins.

    Big picture, I can believe that the next guy Sandy Alderson hires would probably be worse.

    Big picture, I think the Cards & Giants have a better manager than the Mets.

    Fortunately, I think it comes down to the players.

    The problem with last night’s game was that TC over-managed to an insane degree. He thrust himself into the middle of the action. Also, Scott must be a lousy bench coach, right? Does he even have a pulse? Sandy hired him; never was Terry’s guy.

    In the hundreds of low-level, meaningless baseball games I’ve managed, I always tell myself the same thing: “Don’t just do something, stand there.”

    Seriously. When managers want to get their fingerprints all over everything, bad things happen. For the most part, let the players win or lose the game.

  11. Jimmy P
    September 22, 2016 at 9:53 am

    And the way he burned Kelly Johnson . . .

    And the flawed, ill-informed reasoning behind it . . .

    Look at the numbers.

    Johnson has no difference in his splits. He’s the same hitter, the same results, the past two seasons vs. LHP or RHP.

    So he announces Johnson, then pulls him. The team’s best hitter on the bench, burned for nothing. No reason at all.

    Don’t they look at statistics? They claim to look at statistics.

    Sandy Alderson has many flaws, but one thing I never expected was for his teams to make crucial, season-defining moves that are based on . . . air, magic, old-school misinformation.

    Okay, I’ll move on, but we are seriously pulling Kelly Johnson for Eric Campbell?!

    How is that thinkable?

    Then Campbell — who could have been a good option to hold in reserve — is walked.

    Sorry. I’ll stop.

    • Metsense
      September 22, 2016 at 10:30 am

      Burning Kelly Johnson was inexcusable. A smart manager would also have anticipated the IP.
      Loney has better plate discipline than Plawecki who has contributed zero to the offense in 2016. Plawecki swinging at the 2-0 count was a horrible approach. Swinging at the last pitch was even worse.
      Teflon Terry, this loss doesn’t slide off, it is firmly sticking to you.

  12. Polo Grounder
    September 22, 2016 at 10:42 am

    The Braves may have a poor record this year, but I think they will be a dangerous contender next year and for several years, I never heard of this Inciarte guy until recently, looks like he is a handful offensively and defensively, Swanson is very good and will only get better and of course there is Freeman. Last night was a great game to watch, would have been better if that last drive by Cespedes was just a couple of inches higher.

    • DED
      September 22, 2016 at 5:45 pm

      Agreed, the Braves are on their way back. Whether or not they arrive next year.

      • Name
        September 22, 2016 at 7:48 pm

        I guess Mets fans (and Philly and Marlin fans) don’t get to truly see how awful the Braves are.

        Against those 3 the Braves are 27-23 (.540)
        Against everyone else they are 34-68 (.333)

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