Despite the incredible effort by Jeremy Hefner on Tuesday night, the Mets were unable to get just three more outs as a ninth inning meltdown capped off by a Brandon Lyon wild pitch handed the Marlins their second straight walk-off victory against the Amazin’s and their first series win of the season.
Surprisingly enough, the Mets have become quite used to the demoralizing oddity known as the walk-off wild pitch. In fact, last night was the third time in four seasons that Flushing’s Finest have allowed the game-winning run to score on a pitch to the backstop.
On May 14 of the 2010 season, Johan Santana was on the mound in a premiere matchup with then-Marlins ace Josh Johnson. Santana went seven innings allowing just one unearned run on six hits and seven strikeouts. He left for a pinch-hitter with the game tied at one. After pitching a scoreless eighth, reliever Fernando Nieve took the hill to pitch a perfect ninth to send the game into extra innings. After getting Jorge Cantu to fly to left for the first out of the tenth, Nieve walked Cody Ross and quickly allowed a Ronny Paulino single to put Ross at third. Then on the first pitch to Dan Uggla, Nieve bounced it to the plate past Rod Barajas as Ross raced home to win it for the Marlins. The walk-off wild pitch would be the first victory for the Fish in what would be a four game sweep of the Mets.
Fast forward two years to July of 2012… Jon Niese is having a heck of a game against the Nationals Ross Detwiler. They both exit after seven, Niese surrendering one run and punching out eight, Detwiler spotless, giving the Nats a 1-0 advantage. They would go up 2-0 after a Steve Lombardozzi RBI double. Comes the top of the ninth, the Mets put up a three spot to go ahead 3-2. However the lead would be short lived as Bobby Parnell would blow the save, allowing the Nats to tie it and send it to extra innings. Josh Thole doubled to drive in Daniel Murphy and give the Amazin’s their second lead in as many innings. Tim Byrdak came on to close out the tenth and after a game tying, RBI triple to the rookie sensation Bryce Harper, he walked the bases loaded and was lifted for Pedro Beato. Beato, on a 1-2 pitch to Tyler Moore, threw a breaking ball that went right past Josh Thole, allowing Ryan Zimmerman to slide home and win it for the Nats by a score of 5-4.
Then we have last night. A suddenly hot Jeremy Hefner came in to finish off a shutout, and came away with a loss as both the tying and go-ahead runs were charged to the 27-year old despite a meltdown by Brandon Lyon capped off by a wild pitch of his own that bounced off the glove of Anthony Recker and ricocheted towards the home dugout.
Before this recent stretch, the last time the Mets lost a ballgame on a walk-off wild pitch dates back all the way to 1981 when Mike Marshall let one fly at Houston. You have to go all the way back to the beginning of the Reagan administration for that one! Meanwhile all three of these most recent “wild” endings have occurred under the same commander in chief.
Not a theme the Mets would like to continue, however with the quality–or lack there of–of arms they continue to acquire for the ‘pen, what can you expect? Sure Brandon Lyon is supposed to be a solid set-up man, however that hasn’t been the case up to this point. You get what you pay for; you get out of it what you put in. When you don’t go and add significant arms for innings seven through nine and beyond, losses such as those mentioned above are going to happen.