Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Nationals overcome six-run deficit in ninth inning as Mets’ bullpen melts down

7 Comments

The Mets and Nationals played one of the wildest games you’ll see this season. It was fairly normal through seven innings, with the Mets leading 4-2. It was even higher scoring than expected, considering Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer started.

In the top of the eighth, the Mets tacked on an insurance run thanks to a Jeff McNeil solo homer, making it a 5-2 game. The Nationals answered back in the bottom half of the eighth, closing the gap to one run when Juan Soto went yard with a runner on base.

Seemingly putting the game out of reach, the Mets hung a five-spot in the top of the ninth. Lefty Roenis Elías served up a leadoff homer to Brandon Nimmo, then gave up a single to Joe Panik — both left-handed hitters. Daniel Hudson replaced Elías, but proceded to walk Todd Frazier, then gave up a two-run single to Jeff McNeil followed by a two-run home run to Pete Alonso. The Nats went into the bottom half of the ninth trailing 10-4. FanGraphs listed their win probability at 0.3 percent.

Paul Sewald began the inning, allowing a leadoff single to Victor Robles. Robles scored on a one-out double from Trea Turner. Turner moved to third on an Asdrúbal Cabrera single. Sewald would face one more hitter, serving up an RBI single to Anthony Rendon to make it 10-6. Lefty Luis Avilán entered, yielding a single to Juan Soto, the only batter he faced, to load the bases. With the game back in high-leverage mode, manager Mickey Callaway brought in Edwin Díaz, who has had a forgettable 2019. He proceeded to fork over a two-run double to Ryan Zimmerman to make it 10-8. The game then ended when Kurt Suzuki did this:

Suzuki’s walk-off three-run homer was not only a big swing in the game, it was huge in the standings. The Nationals were in danger of losing more ground to the Braves, who beat the Blue Jays on Tuesday. They would have fallen to 7.5 games back in the division. The Nats also would have given up some ground in the NL Wild Card race, entering the night holding the first Wild Card by 3.5 games over the Cubs, who lead the Mariners 5-0 as of this writing. The Mets, meanwhile, entered Tuesday trailing the Cubs by four games in the Wild Card. That will likely be five games shortly. They are fighting for the second Wild Card with the Phillies (who won on Tuesday), Diamondbacks (leading), and Brewers (won).

On a night full of letdowns, Yankees’ defense let them down the most

Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images
3 Comments

Game 4 of the ALCS was a gigantic letdown for the Yankees for myriad reasons. They lost, first and foremost, 8-3 to the Astros to fall behind three games to one. Their fans continued to act boorishly. CC Sabathia exited with an injury, likely the final time he’ll pitch in his career. The offense went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position.

The biggest letdown of the night, though, was the Yankees’ defense. They committed four errors, their highest total in a postseason game since committing five errors in Game 2 of the 1976 ALCS.

Make no mistake: the two three-run home runs hit by George Springer and Carlos Correa, given up by Masahiro and Chad Green respectively, were the big blows in the game. But the errors contributed to the loss and were downright demoralizing.

The first error came at the start of the top of the sixth inning, when Alex Bregman hit a cue shot to first baseman DJ LeMahieu. LeMahieu couldn’t read the bounce and the ball clanked off of his knee, allowing Bregman to reach safely. He would score later in the inning on Correa’s blast.

The Yankees committed two errors in the top of the eighth, leading to a run. Yuli Gurriel hit another grounder to LeMahieu, which he couldn’t handle. That not only allowed Gurriel to reach safely, but Bregman — who led off with a double — moved to third base. He would score when second baseman Gleyber Torres couldn’t handle a Yordan Álvarez grounder.

Error number four occurred when Altuve hit a grounder to Torres to lead off the top of the ninth. The ball skipped right under his glove. Facing Michael Brantley, Jonathan Loaisiga uncorked a wild pitch which advanced Altuve to second base. Brantley followed up with a line drive single to left field, plating Altuve for another run. Loaisiga would throw another wild pitch facing Bregman but that one didn’t come back to haunt him.

The Yankees can’t control injuries, the behavior of their fans, or how good the Astros’ pitching is on any given night. They can control the quality of their defense. On Thursday, it was a farce, and now they’re staring down the barrel of having to win three consecutive games against the Astros to stave off elimination.