How the Mets/Dodgers Series Might Have Been Different
The Dodgers swept the Mets in a three-game set in Chavez Ravine. But they didn’t blow the Mets away.
This isn’t meant to be a sugar-coating – the Mets don’t have the talent to match up with the Dodgers. But a lucky break here or there combined with a healthy David Wright or Wilmer Flores in the lineup could have resulted in a win or two.
In game one, the Mets were down 3-2 in the seventh. They had the bases loaded and Juan Lagares at the plate. On a 2-0 pitch, Lagares clearly held his swing, but was ruled to have gone around by first base umpire Jeff Kellogg. Later in the at-bat, Lagares took a pitch that appeared to be outside, but was rung up by home plate umpire Chad Fairchild. Instead of walking in the tying run, Lagares was struck out, and the bases remained loaded with two outs. Daniel Murphy hit the ball hard in the gap, but right fielder Yasiel Puig ran it down for the third out.
If Lagares walks, Murphy’s long fly gives the Mets the lead. Of course, he may have been pitched to differently in that situation, so he may have never hit that long fly ball. Nick Punto may or may not have hit a home run to tie the game in the subsequent half-inning, and the Nazis may have overrun Europe and Abraham Lincoln may never have been assassinated. Now we’re starting to get into quantum mechanics and string theory.
Game two was simply a matter of Hyun-Jin Ryu out-dueling Matt Harvey, who didn’t have his best command.
Game three was a heartbreaker. I stayed with the MLB At Bat app until there was one out and one on in the bottom of the ninth, then I fell asleep (this was even a late series for those of us in the mountain time zone). When I woke up, I had a nagging feeling that the Mets had blown it. And they did. The bullpen has been very good since May, but without their closer, the injured Bobby Parnell, they’re bound to blow a few games in the ninth, especially to a team like Los Angeles.
They might have scored another run, which would have kept the Mets in front in the ninth (again, we’re talking alternate timelines here) had Marlon Byrd not been thrown out by Puig in the first.
As a fan of an opposing team, I’m really starting to hate Yasiel Puig. He’s arrogant and flashy, but what I hate the most about him is that he can back it up.
Byrd got a good read on the soft liner to right. He would have been safe against anyone else. But Puig, while on the run and slightly off-balance, fired a seed to third base on a fly and nailed Marlon. It was beyond impressive.
The Mets stayed with the Dodgers in each game, but just didn’t have enough talent, particularly in their lineup, to finish the job. Without Wright, the Mets lineup is very thin. They even missed the injured Flores, who’s already been a key contributor in his first week and a half in the big leagues.
The point is, the Mets were in every game against a team that has a $220 million dollar payroll and has only lost 8 times since mid-June.
This series doesn’t change my observation that the Mets are evolving toward something positive. If they get swept by the Padres, then I’ll be worried.