By: Paul DiSclafani
Manager Terry Collins just didn’t think it was fair.
In the third inning, with the bases loaded and one out, Mets starter Logan Verrett got Rockies catcher Tony Wolters swinging for the second out and with the pitcher coming up, Verrett and the Mets could see light at the end of the tunnel. In home-run happy Coors Field, a 3-1 deficit for the team leading the Major Leagues in home runs is certainly not daunting.
But home plate umpire Carlos Torres saw it differently and called it a foul tip, negating the strikeout and giving Wolters another life. Well actually, he heard it differently. Even Wolters didn’t think twice as he headed for the dugout as any other strikeout victim would.
That brought Collins out of the dugout to find out what happened, eventually leading to his ejection. “He (Torres) said he heard it (the foul tip), so you can’t challenge it. There is nothing left to argue. It’s unfair, there’s no reason for it. The hitter turned around and walked back to the dugout, pretty much giving you the answers.”
Wolters promptly took advantage of his gift from Torres and launched the next pitch off the wall in right center driving home two runs and making it 5-1 game. Granted, Verrett was responsible for creating the mess that lead up to the Wolters at bat, even walking in a run, but he wasn’t able to refocus himself on the task at hand – getting out of the jam.
“He still gotta get outs, he still has to refocus. That’s part about being here (in the majors)”, Collins said. “It was tough for him because he hasn’t pitched in a few days. He’s better than the way he pitched tonight. His command was off given the fact that he hasn’t been in there in a while.”
Now with a 5-1 lead and the pitcher up, the Mets got a break when Eddie Butler bunted the ball too hard to first on a safety squeeze and the runner on third, DJ LeMahieu, was unable to score. But Verrett (L, 3-1) was unable to close out the inning. He got ahead of Charlie Blackmon 0-2, but Blackmon singled to center scoring two more for a five run inning and a 7-1 lead.
The loss was the third in a row for the Mets (21-15) and they have now lost four of their last five on this road trip. The frustration was apparent after the game when Collins was asked about his conversation with umpire Torres that led to his ejection.
“If the hitter fouls the ball off, he’s going to point to the ground or he’s gonna say something. Torres walked out and said ‘I heard it’ and I said ‘You couldn’t have heard it because he didn’t foul it off.’”
Even catcher Kevin Plawecki, who was two feet closer to the play that Torres, didn’t hear it hit the bat. “I was really shocked. Obviously it wasn’t a foul ball. It was pretty clear to me. I didn’t hear it hit the bat, nobody in the ballpark heard it hit the bat. The only guy that heard it was the guy behind me.”
The Mets still had six innings to try to get back in the game, but they couldn’t take advantage of the bullpen’s stellar job the rest of the way, shutting out the Rockies over the final 5.1 innings on just two hits. Neil Walker hit his 10th home run leading off the fourth (a 426 foot blast to right center) and they added two more in the 6th to make it 7-4, but they had just two more hits the rest of the way.
“It doesn’t matter what I said, it doesn’t matter what he heard,” Collins said after the game. “The call stood. Replay dictated. I mean you can’t challenge it. It cost us a game, end of story”
Jacob deGrom (3-1, 2.12 ERA) tried to stop the bleeding as the Mets end their longest road trip of the season. DeGrom is 2-0 lifetime against the Rockies with 15 scoreless innings. Mets are 4-6 on this 11-game West Coast trip that started on 5/5 with no days off. Mets have played games on 17 consecutive days, dating back to 4/29.
And after a day off on Monday, the first place Washington Nationals come into Citi Field with Noah Syndergaard (3-2) against Matt Scherzer (4-2) to get things started.
POSITIVES: Plawecki is showing signs of breaking out with two hits and two RBI in Colorado. Since taking over for Travis d’Arnaud on this west coast trip, Plawecki has a hit in 7 of 8 games and raised his average from .176 to .226 … P-Sean Gilmartin pitched two more scoreless innings and has allowed just two hits in five shutout innings with 5K since replacing Wilmer Flores on the active roster … Walker had three hits while Daivd Wright, Yoenis Cespedes and Lucas Duda had two hits each, including a double for all of them.
NEGATIVES: Verrett hasn’t started a game since April 19, but he’s pitched only three times (four total innings) over in the last two weeks. His line was brutal: 2.2innings, 10 hits, three walks, 7 earned runs …
Thanks for reading! You can read additional stories by me on the baseball website “A View From The Bench“