Gut Reaction: Cardinals 6 Mets 3 (7/17/17)

If pitching is your thing, then seven-and-a-half out of nine innings were pure delight for you. Adam Wainwright squared off against Zack Wheeler and they matched each other pitch-for-pitch, until they didn’t.

Wainwright started shakily, walking leadoff man Michael Conforto on five pitches and hitting Asdrubal Cabrera on the shin, but the Mets couldn’t cash the runners in. Wheeler absolutely cruised through four innings, the first chink in his armor appearing when he walked three straight Cards with two out in the fifth. He escaped damage when Jedd Gyorko hit a sizzling liner that Cabrera picked, inches off the dirt. The bottom of the fifth started 0-0, but Michael Conforto led off with a bomb into the Mets’ bullpen and Wainwright got the next three hitters easily.

The wheels fell off in the sixth, though. Yadier Molina hit a dribbler just past the mound on which Jose Reyes couldn’t make the barehanded play. New tormentor Paul DeJong then hit his requisite homer to the same spot as Conforto’s and the Cardinals led it 2-1. Kolton Wong followed with single to center. Rookie speedster Magneuris Sierra dropped a too-hard bunt, forcing Wong at second. Wainwright then launched a double into the gap in right center and if you blinked, you missed Sierra streaking around the bases to widen the lead to 3-1. That was it for Wheeler. Josh Edgin was brought on to face the lefty Matt Carpenter. Edgin started him off 0-2, but lost the plate and Carpenter walked. Manager Terry Collins wasted no time in waving in Hansel Robles, newly arrived from Las Vegas. Robles’s second pitch back in the majors was deposited into the second deck in left field by Tommy Pham. Finally, Robles was able to retire the final two batters. There was some wackiness in the bottom half, too. After T. J. Rivera grounded out, Lucas Duda found the Mets bullpen and it was a 6-2 game. Reyes launched a line drive into the right centerfield gap and Sierra cuffed it around and then made a horrid throw to third to try and nail the runner. He missed everybody and Reyes chugged all the way around the bases for a Little League homer. Travis d’Arnaud then sent a shot to left center, into and out of the glove of Dexter Fowler. That’s three outfield errors on two hitters, if you’re scoring at home. Wilmer Flores pinch hit for Robles and grounded out, d’Arnaud moving over to third. Conforto then hit a bullet up the middle that was snagged in self-defense by relief pitcher Tyler Lyons and all that excitement was over.

The pitching took over again in the last third of the game. Paul Sewald pitched a clean seventh for the Mets and former Mets prospect Matt Bowman relieved Lyons and gave up a harmless single to Jay Bruce. Jerry Blevins blew through the eighth with no damage and Kevin Siegrist did him one better for St. Louis, striking out the side on 10 pitches. Erik Goeddel gave up singles to Fowler and Molina in the ninth, but held the Cards off the scoreboard. Curtis Granderson pinch hit for Goeddel in the bottom of the ninth and drew a leadoff walk. Brett Cecil was called in to face Conforto, who lined out to Sierra in right. Cabrera lined a base hit to left and Granderson crossed to third. That brought up sleeping giant Yoenis Cespedes as the tying run. He reached for an outside pitch on 3-0 and grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to end the game.

It’s Michael Wacha vs. Rafael Montero — God help us — tomorrow night.

9 comments for “Gut Reaction: Cardinals 6 Mets 3 (7/17/17)

  1. Eraff
    July 17, 2017 at 11:10 pm

    I hope these young Pitchers give us a late stretch of games to believe that next year can have its anchors on the mound. This will be a team in transition…probably younger in the field.

    Give Me 4 guys who look like they can for the balance of this season.

    • Metsense
      July 18, 2017 at 8:57 am

      The Mets need to find out by seasons end if they have five reliable and durable starters. If not then the priority should be to fill in the holes in the rotation this winter.
      Robles has really hit rock bottom.

  2. MattyMets
    July 18, 2017 at 9:13 am

    That kid Sierra might be faster than Billy Hamilton.

  3. Jimmy P
    July 18, 2017 at 9:32 am

    Sigh.

    Frustrating to watch Wheeler look so good, so impressive, only to have it all fall apart (again) in the 5th/6th innings.

    Makes me wonder, again, if he’s better off as a reliever. I’d be curious to see him in that role when some other starters come back.

    To be clear: He failed to do the job last night.

    But it was frustrating to watch TC manage to a pitch count rather than what he saw with his own eyes — three walks in a row, a pitcher who had lost it. A part of me wanted to see TC make a move after 5 innings, count his lucky stars.

    The other part of me recognizes, once again, the horrible position that TC has been put in all season long. A ramshackle bullpen full of unreliable arsonists. Who was a better option in the 6th inning? So he crossed his fingers and hoped against hope.

    The blame for that goes to Sandy Alderson, the Mets GM.

    On Wheeler, I have not given up hope. But maybe the takeaway is that he’s stayed healthy and is getting in his work in a year of recovery. That it will be better next season. There are times when he looks like a guy who can win playoffs games. Flashes, glimpses.

    I still believe in the talent. Not loving the late-game failures. It makes me wonder: Does Zack believe?

  4. Jimmy P
    July 18, 2017 at 9:41 am

    On the Robles thing, it’s a joke. He finally puts together a few good outings in AAA and the narrative comes out: He’s fixed!

    Pure BS to anybody who’s been watching.

    In 2017 for Mets:

    6.45 ERA, 22 IP, 22 H, 13 BB, 16 ER, 1.57 WHIP, 102 BF

    In 2017 for AAA:

    5.79 ERA, 23 IP, 27 H, 14 BB, 15 ER, 1.75 WHIP, 112 BF

    The cupboard is bare and the Mets GM has reverted back to semi-retired mode. “Oh, let’s try Eric Goeddel again . . . he’s kind of good enough . . . I’m going to take another nap.”

    So I get that the Mets brought back Hansel Robles. Nothing to lose, no other choices. Sad!

    • July 18, 2017 at 10:28 am

      Robles has pitched in the majors 22 times this year. Through 18 appearances in 2017, Robles had a 1.45 ERA, a 1.053 WHIP and had allowed 1 HR in 19 IP. At that point, did you think he was a crappy pitcher?

      • Jimmy P
        July 18, 2017 at 12:24 pm

        No, I didn’t.

        I had a lot of hope for him. And given that the bullpen was shorthanded to begin with — and then lost Familia for the season — my hope became almost desperate.

        But he’s been a weird, confusing pitcher throughout his career. The stuff looks good, the arm is healthy and he can throw 2 IP at a time. I thought he had the potential to make that leap — to overcome the things that have held him back in the past — and become an important cog in the pen this year.

        When he gave up 12 runs in 2 innings I began to believe that something was seriously wrong. Then he went to AAA and stayed bad, except for a very brief sample size of late.

        I find him very difficult to figure.

        My comment was not to review his career, but to underscore the fact that he was bad, got sent down, and essentially stayed bad — then got brought back. That’s how dire the overall situation is, the club is selling this notion that he turned things around in AAA. Statistically, he was the same guy.

        • July 18, 2017 at 1:20 pm

          He was bad because he was giving up homers, both in the majors and the minors. Once he stopped giving up homers (1 HR in his last 12 IP) in the minors, do you keep him there until he gets his HR-fueled ERA back to a good level? If you do that, you’re wasting performances in the minors that could be better used in Queens.

          He gave up a HR in his first outing back. That stinks. Could be indicative that nothing has changed. Could be that it was nothing more than unfortunate timing. It seems unlikely that we can make conclusions after one appearance. Hopefully he gets back out there today or tomorrow and gets another chance.

          From a usage standpoint, he’s been terrible with inherited runners. When he gets back out there again, they should bend over backwards to give him a clean inning.

  5. Pete from NJ
    July 18, 2017 at 12:02 pm

    Strange as it seems today, Robles is/was an important cog in the machine. He’s been our #3 reliever for three years now. With his physical talent everyone here and the FO expected him to grow into a talent.

    If it’s not a physical problem then it shows how sensitive a pitcher’s psyche can be.

    And yes I too loved his first 18 appearances then shocked when his era ballooned to 5.25 in just a seven day period!

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