Fate, fielding, and failed umpiring
Over the last week and a half this Phillies team has been 9-9. 10-10. 11-11. 12-12. and 13-13, following each win or loss with its alternate outcome. The Phillies won last night. Take that knowledge and add to it that this was the year-to-date offensive production of today’s starting lineup entering tonight’s game:
The fates were not in the Phillies favor this evening.
But that’s why you play the games.
The stat line shows that Zack Wheeler had a rough first inning, which strictly speaking is true, though his basic stat line on the night (7 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 6 SO) would look far better had his defense not turned two potential fly ball outs to centerfield and left field, respectively, into doubles, resulting in the 2nd through 4th Mets runs scoring. To be fair, both the ball hit to center and the ball lined directly at McCutchen in left were among the hardest hit balls of the evening, but you’d like to see those plays made, particularly Conforto’s two-run double directly at McCutchen. That play has to be made.
Staked to a four run lead, with Taijuan Walker facing the aforementioned lineup, you might think that’s the ballgame and, say, turn over to watch the Flyers game or some such thing, though I’m not sure why, as that’s like jumping from the fire into the frying pan at this point.
Had you turned away, however, you would have missed two notable things. The first, the Phillies anemic lineup actually managed to claw back to even, led by the seemingly now unstoppable Nick Maton and a looks-to-maybe-be-turning-the-corner Alec Bohm.
In the second, Bohm led off with a sharp single, followed by a Maton double, leaving second and third with no outs. Knapp grounded out, scoring Bohm, the centerfielder who should not be on the team fouled out to third, but then Zack Wheeler helped his own cause with a single, plating Maton. 4-2
In the sixth, as Wheeler cruised through the Mets lineup after the first, Rhys Hoskins singled to center. Gregorious flied out, bringing Alec Bohm to the plate. Then this happened:
we deserve Alec Bohm. tie game. pic.twitter.com/ihtwVBSAN4
— Absolutely Hammered (@AH_Pod) May 2, 2021
After Wheeler retired the Mets in the top half of the 7th, we come across the second reason why turning away after the top of the first would have been a mistake.
Kingery struck out to begin the inning, followed by McCutchen working a walk. Matt Joyce stepped to the plate, which is where things got magical. We were witness to history, tonight, in that this very well may be the worst call in the history of umpiring.
Thoughts on this controversial double-play call?
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) May 2, 2021
Laughable. From a one-out, first and second situation, or, alternatively (and correctly) a man on second with two outs, you end the inning. Credit where due, the SNY announcers called the play straight and acknowledged how bad a call it was despite it going to the Mets benefit.
The game was sealed when Neris allowed a Conforto home run in the top of the ninth and Edwin Diaz came in and shut down the Murderer’s Row that is Knapp, Herrera, and Miller in the 9th.
They’re back at it again tomorrow evening, with Zach Eflin facing off against David Peterson, though I’m not sure the pitchers matter. David Peterson, Jordan Peterson, whoever, its a game after a loss so the inexorable magnetic pull of violent mediocrity may well once again dominate.