The New York Mets‘ bullpen has been one of their strengths all season long. A poor outing here and there is going to happen over the course of a season, but unfortunately it just can’t be happening right now for the Mets. Today’s game against the Philadelphia Phillies is a perfect example of that.
Starting pitcher Zack Wheeler left the game after six strong innings and turned a three-run lead over to his bullpen. I thought this game was well on its way to being the Mets’ third win in a row. Boy was I wrong, as Vic Black and closer Jenrry Mejia turned in two of their worst outings of the season and cost the Mets today’s game. I know it happens, and I don’t want to be too critical of these guys because they have been so good this season. The Mets just can’t afford to lose games in this fashion; they have too much ground to make up and there just isn’t enough time.
Black entered the game in the seventh and recorded two quick outs; he then gave up a pair of hits to Ben Revere and Jimmy Rollins. The next man up was Chase Utley, and he hit a two run triple to cut the lead to 6-5. That inning really hurt, especially after Black recorded the first two outs of the inning. If the Mets could have gotten out of the inning 1-2-3, the whole dynamic of the game changes.
After that inning the Phillies had the momentum on their side despite the fact that they were trailing in the game. I personally have seen this unfold way too often, especially when the Mets face the Phillies. The Mets would jump out to an early lead, and the Phillies would chip their way back until they eventually pull ahead or in this case win on a walk-off. I just can sense when the Mets are in trouble in certain games whether they are leading or not, and today was one of those days.
As soon as the Phillies got two runners on for Utley I knew the Mets were in trouble. Utley has killed the Mets for years; it’s almost automatic that he was going to come up with a big hit in the seventh. When Mejia entered the game in the ninth and gave up a leadoff double to Cody Asche, I knew at that point the Mets were not going to win this game. Ryan Howard would eventually end it with a walk-off single to deep right field, and a loss like this has to hurt.
Anytime a team blows a lead, especially a five-run lead like the Mets had today after being up 6-1 at one point, it certainly leaves a mark. The Mets cannot dwell on this loss. They have to come out tomorrow afternoon and take this four-game series from the Phillies.
Instead of going into tomorrow’s game looking to sweep, now they are hoping to come away with the series. It isn’t a bad thing of course, but it is not the same as sweeping the Phillies in their own ballpark. A sweep of this series would have been huge going into their three-game set with the Washington Nationals starting on Tuesday.
Black and Mejia need to have a short memory and forget all about today. Those guys are a huge part of this team, and the Mets need them to be solid the rest of the season. I am not worried about this bullpen; I just hope that there aren’t many more of these letdowns as the season continues.