Mets Game 98: Loss to Cardinals
Cardinals 6 Mets 2
Right back to .500.
Mets Game Notes
Jonathon Niese didn’t pitch great, but had the situation under control — until things went awry in the top of the fifth. After getting the leadoff hitter of the inning, Niese allowed a double to Dan Descalso, then walked opposing pitcher Jake Westbrook. Niese then induced a routine double-play grounder from Nick Punto, but first baseman Lucas Duda threw the ball into Westbrook’s shoulder blade, causing the ball to carom into left field and allowing Descalso to score. Moments later, Jon Jay drove a grounder up the middle that ricocheted off the back corner of second base and into no-man’s-land in short right-center field. Angel Pagan picked up the ball, saw Jay taking an aggressive turn around first base, and fired the ball behind him. Unfortunately, the only person in position to catch the throw was Cardinals first-base coach Dave McKay, who scrambled out of the way as the ball continued down the first base line and Punto scored.
In regard to that last play, I’m guessing that Pagan became confused when he saw McKay, who was practically standing on top of first base. Interestingly, though McKay was clearly far out of the first base coaching box, but Rule 4.05 only vaguely addresses the issue, stating:
It is also common practice for a coach who has a play at his base to leave the coach’s box to signal the player to slide, advance or return to a base. This may be allowed if the coach does not interfere with the play in any manner.
I don’t know that an umpire can call McKay’s positioning as “interfering” with the play — after all, Pagan should know that he needs to throw the ball to someone in a Mets uniform. The only penalty described in Rule 4.05 is the removal of the coach from the game — and only if the opposing manager complains.
In any case, it was a bizarre play topping off a bizarre inning. After that frame, the game felt more or less over — maybe it was the heat.
The Mets managed only four hits, a walk, and two runs in eight innings off starter Jake Westbrook, who expended a miserly 90 pitches and might have finished the game had the temperature not been approaching triple digits. He essentially controlled the game, setting the tempo and pounding the strike zone.
Strangely, Jose Reyes had only one hit instead of his usual two or three — but it was his 16th triple.