What an stunning and deflating loss last night. I don’t mind losing, I can handle losing, but it’s the agonizingly, torturous ways we lose that kill me. And last night’s gut-punch was the worst of the season.
You know, I started to get that feeling of impending doom in the bottom of the sixth when Zack Wheeler came up to hit assuring that he was coming out to pitch the seventh. After laboring hard for five innings last night and going to a full count on half of the batters he faced, it might have been a better decision to end his evening on a high note after Wheeler tossed his only 1-2-3 inning of the night. And wouldn’t you know it, Wheeler is greeted with a line drive single to start the seventh and if not for a brilliant running catch by Chris Young snaring a gapper to left-center, it would have been second and third with nobody out. Only then is Wheeler’s night over and within minutes Kevin Burkhardt was pushing a microphone in front of his face. Wheeler looked beat, disgusted, and down.
What a dreadful eighth inning. For the second time this season, Jeurys Familia fielded a come-backer to the mound and flubbed the throw to second. What are you gonna do, he’s young and it’s all part of the growing pains. You can’t blame Eric Campbell either, he’s played third base about 25 times in the last three years, that’s not his gig. Unfortunately, we’ll see Soup two more times as the Mets will be without Wright’s services until Friday and they’re sticking with this six-outfielder alignment come hell or high water. Juan Lagares made his first error of the season overrunning a ball. It was bound to happen sooner or later.
With Terry Collins as the manager I always get the sense that this team is playing not to lose rather than playing to win. What’s the difference? The difference is huge. Playing not to lose envelops every at-bat, pitch and fielding play with a vast amount of pressure. Pressure that they could all do better without. Pressure changes how we react and even slows down your natural instincts. Not by much, but just a split second that can often affect your execution.
This team needs to get back to basics. The hitters need to get all that noise the front office is cramming into their heads and just do the things that got them to the majors in the first place. Pitchers need to trust their stuff more and not be afraid to pitch to contact. Most of all, play loose and have some fun.
Here’s to a better outcome tonight.