In a game the Mets absolutely should have won, they allowed four runs in the bottom of the ninth to fall to the Dodgers, 9-8.

It was an outrageously poor use of bullpen personnel. Up five runs in the seventh inning, Mickey Callaway used his three best relievers, each one of them who had been used the previous game. On Monday night we saw Callaway use Tyler Bashlor and Daniel Zamora, arguably the worst relievers on the team right now, in a game with a one-run lead. But he wouldn’t use them up five.

Robert Gsellman gave up a run in the seventh inning, Jeurys Familia gave up a run in the eighth and Edwin Diaz gave up four runs to take the loss. The Mets entered the game 24-0 on the year when they led in the seventh inning. It was completely demoralizing to watch.

And it wiped out a terrific offensive performance and a gutsy outing from Noah Syndergaard.

The Mets tallied four home runs. Pete Alonso belted two 2-run homers while Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith went back-to-back leading off the seventh inning. Both Alonso and Smith finished with three hits apiece in the game.

Syndergaard was bad early, turning a 3-0 lead into a 3-3 tie after three innings. But he settled down to retire 10 of the last 11 batters he faced, with only a walk to the pitcher spoiling the streak.

Callaway did a nice job allowing Syndergaard to pitch the sixth inning, pushing him past the 100-pitch boogeyman. But those bullpen decisions…

21 comments on “Gut Reaction: Dodgers 9, Mets 8 (5/29/19)

  • TexasGusCC

    Well, this is the first recap put up by any website. I can’t blame you for not mentioning that they gave up 4 runs in the ninth without getting an out until the sac fly that ended the meltdown. Not a single inside pitch all ninth inning, only one swing and miss… There is mass speculation that the Dodgers seem to know what pitch is coming and they swing from their heels, and they did in the ninth. Are they stealing pitches or do they study arm angles and steal pitches that way? They won’t tell us. But, knock someone down… throw up and down, not just down, down, down in the strike zone.

    Oh well. Yes, Callaway sucks, but this wasn’t on him. Familia can’t get a swing and miss if his life depended on it. Diaz was just airing them out and the Dodgers just kept dropping the bat and letting the velocity do the work. Look at the bright side, we almost won…

    • Mike Walczak

      It is very clear. The Yankees have half of their team and two best players in the IL. But, look up the stats of their relief pitchers. That is why they are in first place.

      We keep asking why, why, why with Callaway over and over again. Gus, what you are saying makes sense, so why doesnt our manager see it?

      I am still waiting for Syndergaard to be dominant. He is just not doing it.

      Happy for Dom Smith. I honestly think that him finding out that he had sleep apnea and correcting it has a lot to do with his improvement.

      Let’s see if we can salvage a split.

    • Metsense

      DiComo said in his article that Pederson said that Diaz has no life in his fastball like he did the other night. Callaway said Diaz had a good fastball. Someone was wrong. The results tell us who is right.

      • TexasGusCC

        Metsense, I was watching: Diaz had enough life and velocity to be up on the count to Pederson but all the pitches on the outside corner Pederson was flicking away. Up 1-2 in the count, where’s the fastball in tight to move him off the plate? Where’s the slider to his back foot that would have struck him out the way he was diving across the plate? Does anybody have a brain on that team? The only two pitchers that go up and down, and in and out, are DeGrom and Wheeler. Matz is trying, but he lacks the command. But, he’s trying.

  • TJ

    Can’t pin this one on Mickey. He went all In to guarantee a split with Mets having basically no shot on Thursday. I just don’t follow who else he should have brought in.

    The runs allowed by Gsellman and Familia were very big, as was the Met offense leaving ducks on 2nd and 3rd with no outs.

    This was a brutal loss but even rare in Mets world. But, again, this series is showing the long distance between the Mets and the big boys. It is rather sobering.

    • Metsense

      I concur with Brian analysis in the article. Callaway misuses his bullpen. And this isn’t second-guessing because we have wrote about this the past few days. I agree with you that it was a brutal loss but it may have been avoided if the bullpen was used properly the previous days.

    • Brian Joura

      If you have a reliever you won’t use with a five-run lead, said reliever should not be on the team.

      Whoever is pulling the strings – I say Callaway but if you say he’s taking orders from above, I won’t argue with you – is in love with the idea that you use pitcher X in the 7th inning, pitcher Y in the 8th inning and pitcher Z in the 9th – regardless of the situation. And that’s bat guano crazy. Especially when all three of those guys pitched the night before.

      When Gsellman entered the game, there was a Leverage Index of 0.35, which is pretty darn low. It’s situations like that where you use Bashlor, not the 1.58 LI that Callaway put him in for Monday night.

      Then combine upside with leverage. What’s the upside if Gsellman-Familia-Diaz hold the lead? They’re all unavailable Thursday when they’re all likely to be needed if the Mets have a lead after four innings. It’s the equivalent of a sacrifice bunt – you’re playing for one run. The Mets played for one win. And they didn’t get it.

      This was horrible bullpen usage and to claim whoever made the decisions shouldn’t be held accountable is ludicrous.

      • TJ

        I concur on the overall narrative that Callaway manages the pen poorly. I am not defending him. But in a game that his three best pen pitchers blew a 5 run lead, including an implosion by his closer, I can’t blame the manager. The players either perform or they don’t.

        Regarding the indexes and situations, I agree 100% that there shouldn’t be a guy on the roster that the manager isn’t comfortable inserting in the 7th inning with a 5 run lead. But, as was the case in previous seasons, once again there are plenty of these AAAA guys. Injuries or not, that is not the manager’s fault. That is the responsibility of the GM and ownership. Bashlor and Zamora were horrendous when inserted in the DeGrom game. Santiago not capable either. Gagnon? Not a big leaguer. Font? Just not any legit alternatives.

        JD Davis isn’t far from making his pen debut.

        • Brian Joura

          So, relievers don’t require rest? These guys all pitched the night before and none of them looked particularly good on Tuesday. The fact that they all struggled Wednesday was not a particularly tough thing to imagine/forecast ahead of time.

          And if he was too shell-shocked from Bashlor and Zamora’s appearances on Monday, he could have used Hector Santiago, who had three full days off and was well-positioned to go multiple innings.

          This bullpen deployment was either one of panic or ignorance. I can’t decide which one is worse. But this isn’t one to pin on the players who should have never been used in the first place.

          • TexasGusCC

            Watching on the Dodger feed on MLBN, they kept wondering why Santiago wasn’t used. Hershiser said it two nights in a row. They seem to fear him to the all the lefties.

            Brian, I agree completely on your assessment of the bullpen, but to me Diaz has to finish that game at that point. However, he didn’t come inside to anyone, he only threw down in the zone where all these guys like their fastballs, and he never buried a slider. He just became completely unraveled (we have said this before) and no one went to mound to tell him to straighten himself out. Pederson should have been struck out on a low slider or an inside fastball when the count was 1-2. Muncy got a low fast ball down the heart of the plate. Turner was started with a low fastball and he took it! Yesterday they struck him out going up the ladder, today they follow up one low fastball with another: double down the line.

            The Mets deserved that win; Diaz deserves that loss. Whoever the catcher was should be flogged. Horrible game management, but where’s the brain trust? If Diaz is one of those divas that doesn’t like visits to the mound, I’d sign Kimbrel immediately and screw the diva!

            • Brian Joura

              I like the line – The Mets deserved that win; Diaz deserves that loss.

              And I agree completely that mound visit(s) were called for in that situation. It’s getting harder and harder to like Ramos as a defensive guy at all. I don’t claim to know who calls the pitches, whether it’s Ramos or the bench. But even if the bench is calling all of the pitches, Ramos at least should have gone out and told Diaz a joke to try to loosen him up.

              • Metsense

                A good manager puts his players in the best position to succeed. Callaway does not do that. Therefore I conclude Callaway is not a good manager. Yes, gsellman, Familia and Diaz coughed up the runs but in the past several weeks they have been misused most of the time.

  • MattyMets

    Fell asleep with a comfortable 5- run lead in the 7th and woke up to a loss. Devastating. The Dodgers have been feasting on our bullpen. Having half our bullpen on the IL at the same time our starters are running up high pitch counts and giving us 5 and 6 inning starts is a recipe for losses.

  • NYM6986

    When does Lugo return and how many days left to sign Kimbrel without giving up a draft pick? They threw their best relief pitchers out and they sucked. Nice to see Dom Smith keep hitting but he scares me in the outfield. His bat must be attracting some trade interest and there must be a relief arm in the ML that we can snag. The divide between us and good teams is sadly wide.

    • Brian Joura

      During the broadcast last night, Gary said they hoped Lugo would be activated Friday.

    • Bugsy

      If that clueless idiot trades a young talent with a bright future (dom smith) for some bullpen help in a hopeless season, I’m done with this team until the next regime.

  • Metsense

    Gut Reaction: at least I slept sound last night because I turned it off after batted in the top of the seventh inning.
    When a bullpen uses their 2nd tier relievers when it should be the first-tier relievers and when the first-tier relievers are used instead of the second-tier relievers it eventually catches up to you. I believe the Mets bullpen is presentable if it is used properly. This isn’t second-guessing because we at this site have commented on this topic.
    As for the good side, Callaway started his best lineup and he should be commended by it. Dom Smith deserves at least a platoon in left field and Gomez has out played Lagaris. Hech and Frasier have step up also. Noah gave the Mets a much needed extra inning. Alonzo was amazing especially the first flick home run.
    They have to put this loss away and come out fighting tonight. This loss can’t start reeling the Mets in the wrong direction and ruin their season.

  • TJ

    Just curious, for all those that did not like Calkaway’s choice of pitchers for the 7th, 8th, and 9th gicmven the 5 run lead, who should have pitched each inning 1. Assuming the Dodgers did not score in the 7th and then the 8th, and 2. Assuming the Dodgers did score in the 7th and then the 8th?

    • Brian Joura

      With a five-run lead there should be two thoughts in the front of your mind:

      1. Who needs work?
      2. Assuming there are not multiple guys who need work, which alignment is going to result in the fewest number of pitchers being used?

      No one needed work. Santiago was the most-rested guy, having three full days of rest. Santiago also pitched two or more innings in nine of his 10 appearances this year.

      The ideal situation would be to have Santiago close the game out, giving your three “A” relievers a break while also leaving Font and Gagnon two full days of rest for Thursday when they’re likely needed to give innings with Vargas starting.

      There are too many variables in your situation to discuss what would happen if Santiago gave up runs. How many runs? When did they occur? Were they able to get a man up in time to come in at a specific point? How many pitches did Santiago throw? Were they booming hits or bloops and bleeders?

      It’s entirely possible that the end result would have been the same no matter who Callaway used. Or that he would have needed to use two of the three guys that he ultimately did, anyway. But even in that scenario, you still have one guy with closing experience with a day of rest available for today.

      When you’re managing a game in May, you have to think of the big picture. The hyper focus on the Wednesday game left the Mets at a severe disadvantage for Thursday. And they didn’t even win Wednesday.

  • Metsense

    Callaway should not have used gsellman Familia and Diaz 2 days ago. He shouldn’t have used Bachlor and Gagnon on Monday. ( and they were used because the first tier relievers were used in the previous day’s). Can you sense a pattern here?
    To answer your question, in a non-save situation you should start with a tier 2 reliever and then if you get in trouble you switch gear and put in the appropriate Tier 1 reliever this pending I need inning and situation. Bullpen management is difficult and it isn’t cookie cutter perfect. A good manager runs the bullpen correctly a bad manager loses five runs leads.

  • TJ

    Interesting. I agree with most of what you guys suggest.

    Regarding Metsense’s sequence, it makes sense (haha). But, Callawy only has 1 tier 1 guy – Diaz. Familia and Gsellman are tier 2 guys, so Callaway did as you said. The rest are tier 3 guys – AAAA players with high WHIPS and little chance against a Dodger-like lineup.

    Certainly the pen needs adequate rest. But, the Mets are in the middle of playing like 16 straight days, and in a league where starters get kudos for going 6, everyone in the Met pen is overused and tired to some degree. Looking at Vargas against the Dodgers on Thursday, against a red hot starter, that to me is the day for the minor leaguers to back up Vargas, and maybe drop a 15-4 game, get out of LA with a split, and hope for a blowout win in Zona to rest the pen a bit further.

    So, we disagree on this one game, but agree overall on the handling of the pen. Maybe Vargas can put up a complete game win today, shock the world, and push this brutal loss into the background.

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