Gut Reaction: Reds 2, Mets1 (10 innings — 5/9/18)

A game that started with high comedy ended with dark drama for the Mets, who lost two-out-of-three to arguably the worst team in baseball. And of course, they wasted another terrific starting pitching performance in the process.

The comedy took place in the first three hitters of the game. After Brandon Nimmo led off by taking a called third strike from Reds starter Sal Romano — a Connecticut native who you think would be delivering pizzas in North Jersey — Wilmer Flores struck out and Asdrubal Cabrera bounced a ground rule double over the left centerfield wall. Not so fast, said Reds manager Jim Riggleman. According to the lineup card given to the umps, Cabrera was supposed to hit second and Flores third. So the third out came because the Mets batted out of order. As a bizarre consequence, Jay Bruce, the undisputed cleanup hitter and an innocent bystander, was charged with a time at bat and a groundout to the catcher.

Zack Wheeler was able to shake that off, and set about being brilliant. He worked around a single and a walk to escape the first inning scoreless. He gave up a leadoff single to Alex Blandino in the second. That was it for the next four innings. For their part, the Mets grabbed a quick run in the third when Nimmo banged out a triple behind center fielder Billy Hamilton and Cabrera — in his proper spot — grounded out to first baseman Joey Votto. There the score stayed until the bottom of the sixth. Jesse Winker worked out a walk leading off and Jose Peraza dropped a bunt single in front of Flores at third. Votto then smoked a liner in front of Bruce and the game was tied. Wheeler then settled, striking out two to end the threat. He was pinch-hit for in the seventh. His final line: six innings, four hits, one run, three walks — two of them in that sixth — and seven strikeouts. After that third inning uprising, the Mets’ bats went largely silent. They left two on in the fifth and one on in the eighth. That was it. Robert Gsellman came in and continued Wheeler’s brilliance, breezing through the Reds’ lineup in the seventh and eighth. Seth Lugo did the same in the ninth and was pinch hit for in the futile top of the tenth. AJ Ramos came on for the bottom half and after getting behind 2-1 on Adam Duvall, left a 92 MPH fastball over the plate. Duvall cracked it over the left field fence for the game and the series. The Mets have fallen victim to that classic conundrum for a mediocre-to-bad team: when the pitchers pitch, the hitters don’t hit and vice-versa.

A much needed day off tomorrow before a three-game weekend set in Philadelphia. It’ll be Steven Matz vs. Jake Arrieta on Friday night from Citizens Bank Ballpark.

18 comments for “Gut Reaction: Reds 2, Mets1 (10 innings — 5/9/18)

  1. Eraff
    May 9, 2018 at 5:17 pm

    Stop hitting Me!!!!!!!

  2. Pete In Iowa
    May 9, 2018 at 5:18 pm

    I hate to say it, but we are looking at 2017 all over again. The only hope that I can see is if the last starts by Matz and Wheeler are no mirage and can be duplicated consistently by these two the rest of the way. If that happens (and that is one gigantic if), we could be a .500 club with a chance to make a run if the hitters start hitting. Note: could be a .500 club.
    Unfortunately, we have only one consistent hitter thus far in Cabrerra, everyone else goes well for a couple of games (if at all) and then fall into a prolonged funk. Like I say, even if Wheeler and Matz do indeed perform well, I just don’t see us being much more than a .500 club, at best. The hitting is just too weak to sustain any kind of momentum, even with good pitching.
    If these two guys don’t pitch well, then it will be 2017 all over again. Honestly, I don’t know if I can stomach that brutality again.
    Batting out of order in the top of the first? No double switches or anything like it. Now that is a new low…… Apparently every single person in the dugout or in the coaching boxes was completely asleep. Inexcusable!!!
    What a colossal mess……..

    • Mike Walczak
      May 9, 2018 at 5:24 pm

      I can only imagine what the Daily News will write tomorrow. This team is just not that good. To win, the expectation has to be that a significant number of players trend up and play better than expected. So far, that is one, Cabrera.

      This is a .500 team at best, with a good chance of losing 85-90 games. Question is, if it is 17 all over again, what do they do this off-season?

      • Pete in Iowa
        May 9, 2018 at 11:08 pm

        Mike, if it devolves into 2017, the only thing to do in the off season will be to blow it up and trade off anything of worth. Sounds harsh, but does anyone really think ownership would spend the huge amount of money which would be needed to fix all the gaping holes?

  3. Steevy
    May 9, 2018 at 6:01 pm

    My phone blew up with texts from every Yankees fan I know this afternoon.Way to go Mickey Mouse!

  4. Metsense
    May 9, 2018 at 8:29 pm

    Wheeler pitcher at good game and look impressive in the sixth inning when he struck out the last two batters with they go ahead runs on base. Once again the offence failed.
    Flores should get the majority of the starts at third while Frazier is hurt. Nimmo also should be a the mix but he also has cooled off. The offense needs to start hitting.

    • Pete in Iowa
      May 9, 2018 at 11:10 pm

      While I agree that Nimmo has cooled off some, today he tripled, scored the only run and walked twice. He seems to be one of the few players on this club who brings energy everyday and never gives away an at-bat.

      • May 10, 2018 at 8:20 am

        Exactly.

        And while there’s no way he was going to keep up his earlier pace – how much of the cooling down came from PH appearances?

  5. TexasGusCC
    May 9, 2018 at 9:39 pm

    Today wasn’t a bad loss, it was a loss. Slumps will happen, but I was encouraged by Wheeler’s outing. Matz and Wheeler getting straightened out would be huge going forward.

    Unfortunately, the reality is the lineup today had two #6 hitters (Flores and Bruce, but Frazier is the same type of hitter), a #7 hitter (Gonzalez), and two #8 hitters (Rosario and Mesoraco). That’s five out of eight hitters being substandard. We can’t blame the players for being what they are, but we can blame management for expecting them to be something else other than what their history labels their production.

    Bruce being on paternity leave this weekend will leave the Mets weakened in the outfield at a time when Cespedes is hurt, but let’s see what Lagares can do with a few consecutive days of PT.

    • Mike Walczak
      May 9, 2018 at 10:47 pm

      Well said Gus.

    • MattyMets
      May 10, 2018 at 7:34 am

      I agree with everything Gus said. More in my post tomorrow. Also, I see a glimmer of encouragement- if Wheeler and Matz can stay healthy and keep this up, it will turn around. The single biggest problem in this lineup right now is Conforto. When he gets going the dynamic changes. Bruce being out this weekend will be a blessing – let him rest his foot and get Nimmo and Lagares some ABs.

    • TJ
      May 10, 2018 at 1:02 pm

      Gus,
      Your point is well taken, but for my two cents, this was a terrible loss, not just a loss. Even putting aside the batting out of order, which was both embarrassing and costly, and the Met depleted lineup, this was a game against a lousy team fielding a very shaky starting pitcher. I give Wheeler and OK, not a gold star, since he failed to protect a lead and only went 6 innings against one of the worst teams in baseball. And the hitters, albeit subs, were not only inept against the shaky starter, but the vanished against one of the weakest bullpens in the league.

      I agree that this is 1/162 of the season, and fans (including me) tend to overreact, but the only worse loss this season was probably the game that they blew the 6-1 vs the Nats. Really really bad.

      • May 10, 2018 at 1:10 pm

        Form that moment — the time when people on the air and off assumed a W in the sixth inning and fans in the stands serenaded Bryce Harper with sing-song chants — this team hasn’t been worth beans. It’s been almost a month, now.

        Karma is indeed a female dog.

  6. Mike Walczak
    May 9, 2018 at 11:15 pm

    Maybe the Mets can trade Vargas to the Reds for Matt Harvey. Lol lol. I have to laugh at the whole thing.

    • Steve S.
      May 10, 2018 at 1:48 pm

      One has to question the Mets not leaving Vargas in the minors longer to make sure he was ready!

  7. Eraff
    May 10, 2018 at 11:27 am

    Tell Me that the 2 aces will be aces, and that Matz and Wheeler will pitch competitively….. otherwise, there is no “Fix”

    • May 10, 2018 at 1:05 pm

      It’d be nice if someone started hitting, too.

    • Steve S.
      May 10, 2018 at 1:50 pm

      The two aces will be aces, and Matz and Wheeler will be fine. Vargas? Who knows about him?

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