Gary Cohen said it best: “Just a horrifying loss for the New York Mets.”
If Terry Collins were ever tempted to resign, today would be the day to do it. On a day when Michael Conforto came within a single of hitting for the cycle, on a day when a Mets starter — Jacob deGrom — finally peeked into the seventh inning, Collins could only watch helplessly as the Mets blew a 7-1 lead, surrendering 10 runs in the Brewers’ last three offensive innings. A six run lead became a four run lead, widened back to a five run lead, shrunk to a two run lead, grew back to a three run lead, and ended in a two run deficit. This bullpen is approaching 2008 levels of futility.
This tangled, complicated game looked as if it were going to go much differently. The Mets started off fast. Conforto, batting in the third sport for the first time since last June, launched a solo homer in the top of the first. deGrom gave it right back in the bottom half, though, on an Eric Thames single, a double by Hernan Perez and a groundout by Travis Shaw. deGrom settled in nicely after that, retiring his next seven hitters in a row before allowing a harmless single to Shaw in the fourth. By that time, the Mets had built that 7-1 lead. In the top of the fourth, a leadoff walk to Conforto and a long Neil Walker double set them up with second-and-third with nobody out. Lucas Duda hit a soft liner to second and Curtis Granderson struck out, but red hot Rene Rivera hit a roller up the middle for a clutch base hit and the two runners scored. In the top of the fifth, deGrom reached on an error by Thames at first base, and Jose Reyes and T.J. Rivera both singled to load the bases. Conforto then hit a booming double to left, knocking in two. Walker pulled a double down the right field line and Conforto scored. That’s where most of the good news ended.
In the bottom of the sixth, Milwaukee catcher Manny Pina — more about him later — hit one out double and crossed to third on a grounder by relief pitcher Jhan Marinez. That didn’t really matter, though, because Keon Broxton launched a deGrom slider into the left field stands and the lead was cut to 7-3. The Mets got one of those runs back in the top of the seventh, when Conforto hit an opposite field triple and scored on a base hit by Walker. deGrom came out for the bottom half and gave up a base hit to Domingo Santana. That was enough for Collins, deGrom having thrown 107 pitches. Jerry Blevins came on to face Jonathan Villar and served up a two run homer on his fifth pitch. After he walked Thames, Blevins was replaced by Fernando Salas. Salas walked Perez and gave up an RBI double to Jesus Aguilar. Salas gutted out the rest of the inning, getting Pina on a come-backer and striking out pinch-hitter Jett Bandy and Broxton. Are you following? Mets 8, Brewers 6 as we went to the top of the eighth. Juan Lagares led off with single and after hard lineouts by Wilmer Flores — in the game on a double swith when Salas came in — and Reyes, T.J. Rivera launched a triple into the right field corner and the Mets had some breathing room, leading 9-6. Conforto popped up in his attempt at an RBI single and his cycle to end the inning. That’s where all the good news ended.
Salas came out for the bottom of the eighth and walked Orlando Arcia to lead off. After getting Santana on a fly to center and surrendering a single to Villar, he was removed by Collins in favor of Josh Edgin to face the left-handed power hitter Thames. After getting behind on the count 3-1, Edgin barely clipped Thames on his elbow pad — I didn’t see that it hit him at all, but it was obvious to the ump, to Cohen and to Keith Hernandez — and the Brewers had the bases loaded. That was it for Edgin, as Addison Reed came in to get a five-out save. Presumably.
Reed gave up a single to Perez, making the score 9-8. He got a super-clutch strikeout on Aguilar. On 3-2 to Pina, he hung a slider and Pina hit it way up into the center field stands. The Mets went down without a murmur in the ninth. So in one fell swoop, the bullpen wasted a terrific offensive performance and a rare quality appearance from a starting pitcher.
The Mets now head for Arizona, where Zack Wheeler will face Zack Grienke tomorrow night. It will be a miracle if they come out alive.