By now, most of you know what happened last night/this morning. The Mets came out on top of a 16 inning battle, a game the Marlins had many chances to win. The end result is known, and since we’re but a few hours from the next game at this point, I wont regale you with a mighty tale of a cosmic back and forth battle for the ages. Instead, I’d like to highlight some important bullet points.
- Marcell Ozuna: Still hot. .389/.452/.722, league leading 16 RBIs after the first inning grand slam. He also had a long final out to centerfield to end the game, which, had it gone out or over Juan Lagares’ head, would’ve gone down as one of the biggest managerial blunders in MLB history by Terry Collins, as pitcher Adam Conley was standing in the on-deck circle destined to hit for himself. Whether Collins found it cowardly to walk Ozuna to get to Conley after such an epic struggle of a game, we’ll never know, because he lucked out that the scorching hot O-zone came up jusssssssssst short. Dave Schoefield wrote a piece today saying that he thinks Ozuna is the next Yoenis Cespedes. Uh, let’s hope so.
- Speaking of managerial blunders, Don Mattingly took a lot of flak for his managerial decisions yesterday. Some people were upset that he pitched Phelps in the eighth ahead of Ziegler (where Phelps would allow the Mets to tie). Some people were upset that AJ Ellis was batting second (and thus potentially getting more PAs then some of the team’s better hitters). Some people were upset that guys like Ziegler, Tazawa and McGowan didn’t pitch longer. None of those things bothered me so much as Mattingly’s refusal to go to AJ Ramos, going as far as to turn to the next day’s starter, Adam Conley, to continue the game. Granted, it would’ve gone down that road in another inning or two if the game had continued forward, but there was still a chance that it didn’t need to happen, and now the whole rotation has to get pushed up. Edinson Volquez will start today, and Conley, a guy who seemingly needs a steady rhythm to be effective, has been thrown off his routine.
- Nick Wittgren was stellar last night, pitching three scoreless innings, issuing no hits or walks and striking out three. As a reward, the Marlins optioned him to the Babycakes after the game to make room for Jarlin Garcia. It makes sense as Wittgren is one of the few non-veteran arms in the pen and there’s no doubt he’ll be back up again in short order but still, kind of sucks for him.
- Christian Yelich picked up the mantle of Captain America from where David Wright left it off during the World Baseball Classic, but his heroics there have not translated to the season thus far (.244/.311/.317). Justin Bour has been even worse at .129/.282/.194. To be fair to both, each contributed a run batted in yesterday, and early season numbers will fluctuate with great regularity, but you’d like to see these two very important lineup cogs pick things up soon-ish.
- So you want to put this loss squarely on someone’s shoulders, do you? Mattingly may be showing a pattern of bullpen mismanagement depending upon your perspective, but it’s hard to blame a guy who doesn’t actually take the field. The offense was silenced by the Met’s bullpen, true, but the eight runs they piled on Robert Gsellman should’ve been enough to win the game. The pen was largely solid, giving up only two runs in 13 innings. No, this loss belonged to Wei-Yin Chen, who’s now sitting at a 5.10 ERA/4.49 FIP for his Marlins career after being knocked around for six runs in three innings. I’ve never thought that Chen has “ace potential,” but he can be better than this, and he should be. Be better, Chen.
There are moments in the season that feel like they have turned the tide. If the Marlins could’ve won this game, it may have been one of those events for them. Instead, the Mets got to extend their winning streak and presumably are the benefactors of the morale boost, instead.
One of the marks of a good team is the ability to bounce back after a tough loss. The Marlins are giving themselves an early test in that regard, it would seem.
Swordfish: Travis D’Arnaud (.535)
Flounder: Wei-Yin Chen (-.451)
Play of the game: Travis D’Arnaud 16th inning solo shot (.384)