In what has become a common event, the New York Mets‘ bullpen blew a lead late in the game, ruining a spectacular performance by a Mets’ starter, despite their eventual win over the Kansas City Royals. This time, the bullpen’s victim was starter Dillon Gee.
Coming into the game, Gee had allowed no runs in two of his previous three starts, including a seven-inning gem against the Atlanta Braves in which he flirted with a no hitter. Once again, Gee threw seven shutout innings before LaTroy Hawkins allowed a runner he inherited from Gee to score in the eighth inning. However, Gee only allowed that one run on three hits and two walks, while striking out four and leaving the game with a chance to win, deservedly so.
Due to an injury to Bobby Parnell, the Mets were forced to use David Aardsma as their closer, and he quickly reminded everyone why he hasn’t recorded a save in a major league game since 2010. The blown save by Aardsma and the Mets’ ineffectiveness in run-scoring opportunities doomed the game to extra innings, another scenario the Mets have become all too familiar with this season.
Of course, the Mets’ offense is also culpable, as they failed to extend the lead and give Gee and the bullpen a bigger cushion to work with. After a first-inning home run by David Wright, the Mets failed to score again until a walk-off home run by Eric Young in the 11th inning.
Despite the win, which snapped Kansas City’s nine-game winning streak, the inability of the Mets’ bullpen to close out tight games and the continued inability of the offense to expand on leads when a starter keeps throwing up zeros are disconcerting to watch time and time again. Despite seven strong innings from their starter, the Mets bullpen is tired and wearing thin, which doesn’t bode well for them the rest of the series against the Royals, who remain one of the hottest teams in baseball.