Flushing-- At the twilight of the season, the New York Mets inability to close games is rearing its ugly head. Six outs from surviving the Dodgers and leaving Citi Field on Sunday night with a critical series win, the bullpen reverted to its old tricks.
Jedd Gyorko was the hero for the Dodgers as he hit a go-ahead, two-out single off Seth Lugo in the ninth inning in a nail bitting 3-2 victory in New York.
The Dodgers possibly have put the final nail in the Mets coffin and sett the Mets season on life support before New York heads to Denver for a must-win to keep apace in the wild card standings.
The front office of the Mets are pointing fingers at each other, but the one they should be pointing at is Brodie Van Wagenen. Van Wagenen is in his first year as GM after a previous successful stint as an agent at Creative Artists Agency (CAA).
He negotiated a three-year, $75 million contract for Yoenis Cespedes with the Mets that included an opt-out after the first season (2016). The $25 million average annual value of the deal matched the highest average annual value ever for an outfielder.
Van Wagenen knows how to make his players rich, to say the least. But his failure to build a bullpen is quite alarming for New York fans, because the team seems to have the same issue year after year.
Van Wagenen orchestrated the trade for All-Star closer Edwin Diaz from the Seattle Mariners during the winter. But Diaz has been a complete flop this season, owning a 5.77 ERA.
Starting pitcher Zack Wheeler looked great all night against the Dodgers, allowing just one earned run and striking out nine in seven innings of work.
Walker Buehler, on the other hand, struggled to put away hitters all night. After a rough 32-pitch second inning where Mets hitters fouled off 11 pitches, Buehler didn’t allow another baserunner. The right-hander retired the final 11 batters he faced through the fifth inning.
Buehler was scheduled to have a short start according to Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, because Roberts wanted to give a few relievers some work. Buehler was not a fan of this decision, but he understands the process. “Since we clinched, we can afford to do some things like that,” Buehler said. “Not my favorite thing in the world to do, but good to see bullpen come in and throw the ball really well.”
The bullpen did an excellent job picking up from Buehler, including Kenley Jansen, who is beginning to look in form. For one of the few times all season, Jansen overpowered Juan Lagares, Jeff McNeil, and Pete Alonso, striking Alonso out on three pitches.
The win improves the Dodgers to 97-54. They lead the Atlanta Braves by 4 games in the National League. After a 4-2 road trip and a day off, the Dodgers return home for a two-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday.