Mets Game 80: Loss To Pirates
Pirates 3 Mets 2
Mets drop their third straight, holding on to NL East cellar and remaining the third-worst NL team in June.
Mets Game Notes
Jacob deGrom hurled another stellar game, only to walk away with a no-decision. Fellow rookie Brandon Cumpton was equal to the task, and the two righthanders put up nearly exact stat lines. In the end, it was up to the bullpens and the managers to decide the ballgame.
Somehow, Jenrry Mejia found a way out of a massive jam in the bottom of the tenth, with no out and runners on second and third with Andrew McCutchen on double-deck and Neil Walker in the hole. The situation came about in part due to a rundown that went awry. It began with Josh Harrison at second base (after he singled and stole 2B with a fantastic slide). Gregory Polanco ripped a grounder right back to Mejia, and Harrison froze between second and third. Mejia chased Harrison back to second, and just went it looked like he’d tag him out, Mejia instead tossed the ball to Ruben Tejada, and a rundown ensued. After a few more throws that made me think “this looks like what would happen if Curly Neal of the Globetrotters was in a pickle against the Washington Generals,” Harrison wound up sliding safely into third base — with Polanco advancing to second.
There was outrage in the SNY booth, with Gary Cohen and Ron Darling pointing out that Harrison was out of the baseline at the very end of the rundown. However, the “baseline” is not necessarily a direct line between second and third, and in fact, can be dynamic — in effect, a moving target. Here’s the rule, from the MLB rulebook:
Any runner is out when —
(a) (1) He runs more than three feet away from his baseline to avoid being tagged unless his action is to avoid interference with a fielder fielding a batted ball. A runner’s baseline is established when the tag attempt occurs and is a straight line from the runner to the base he is attempting to reach safely; or (2) after touching first base, he leaves the baseline, obviously abandoning his effort to touch the next base;
Emphasis mine. The way it works is this: when a tag is being applied, then the runner is allowed 3 feet on either side of the direct line between the runner and the base they are going toward — and it’s a judgment call. It’s not cut-and-dried based on the ACTUAL baseline, because there is the issue of the runner avoiding interference, and that’s where things can get murky. When Tejada received the ball for the second time — when he was nearest to third base, on the final throw — Harrison may have looked like was positioned close to the infield grass, and it could have been interpreted as him running out of the way of the throw from Eric Campbell. I looked at the play several times, and with the help of slow motion and the pause button, it did look like it may have been the wrong call, but in the heat and speed of the moment, I definitely could see why the umpires made the call they did; Harrison falling down may have created an optical illusion. At full speed, it was plausible to believe that Harrison was out of the baseline BEFORE Tejada caught the ball and attempted to apply the tag — and Harrison’s allowed to do that, because it’s only when the runner runs out of the baseline to avoid a tag that the three-foot rule applies (think about when runners take wide turns around third on their way to home). At the point Harrison fell down, which happened a split-second after Tejada caught the ball, he was inches from the infield grass, and that’s where what I’ll call the “adjusted baseline” was established — which became that point and a direct line to third base. From THERE, he had three feet of leeway. Understand?
In the end, Mets fans shouldn’t have been ticked off at the umpires for a bad call; they should’ve been ticked at the Mets for yet again completely botching a very simple play. In fact, it was handed on a silver platter, and their inability to execute was inexcusable. It wasn’t the umpires who made them throw the ball three times looking like the Keystone Kops chasing a serpentining Harrison. #littlethings
Martin, by the way, reached base on an infield single — a single that should’ve been an out had deGrom covered first base on the liner to Lucas Duda. #littlethings
In the top of the fifth, Jacob deGrom failed an attempt to sacrifice runners with runners on first and second and none out (the bunt was short and immediately pounced on by Martin, who threw out the runner advancing to third easily). #littlethings
By the way, did you notice that Daniel Murphy dropped the relay throw from the outfield on the final hit of the game? Maybe there was no shot to throw out Harrison, but, just sayin’. That sort of thing, I’m fairly certain, doesn’t get counted in advanced statistics — if I’m wrong about that, let me know, but nowhere on Fangraphs nor Baseball-Reference have I ever seen anything about dropped relay throws. Again, just sayin’. #littlethings
Mets were 1-for-6 with RISP, but Pirates were 1-for-10 — for whatever it’s worth.
Jennry Mejia threw 34 pitches in his two-inning stint. That means he requires a minimum of one full day’s rest off the mound. Will he get it?
Are you concerned about David Wright leaving the team to get an MRI in New York for his injured shoulder? You better be. Remember, this is the guy who played much of 2011 with a broken back. If Wright is hurting so bad he pulls himself out of a game and out of a series, it has to be serious. Expect to see Wilmer Flores back very soon. Of course, Flores has been focusing on shortstop and second base, instead of third, where he’d played much of 2012. Or maybe we’ll see Zach Lutz or Josh Satin, who are both hitting over .290 in AAA. Or will the Mets move Daniel Murphy to 3B and Flores to 2B? Hmm … maybe not put anyone at 3B, and play four outfielders, since they have six on the roster.
Next Mets Game
Mets and Pirates play game three at 4:05 PM. Jonathon Niese takes the ball against Gerrit Cole.