Retaliation for a player who is no longer on their roster took an ugly turn on Saturday when the targeted Chase Utley tagged the Mets relief pitchers for five RBI’s.
On his first trip back to Citi Field since his vicious slide broke the leg of Ruben Tejada, Utley has been a marked man who has eluded the fate of a much-anticipated payback.
Friday night, when Jacob deGrom stayed clear of a counterattack, it appeared as if the Mets might have buried the hatchet. Or were they just playing mind games to keep Utley off guard?
On Saturday night it seemed like Utley’s time had come when in the 3rd inning of a scoreless tie, Noah Syndergaard fired a 99 mph fastball behind the much maligned second baseman, then immediately was ejected from the mound.
In Syndergaard’s absence, the Dodgers took sweet revenge on all of his replacements by going on a homerun hitting spree to take game two 9-1.
Utley roped a solo home run against Logan Verrett in the sixth inning, and then one inning later, he launched a grand slam off reliever Hansel Robles. It stunned the 40,000+ at Citi Field into silence after they were chanting, “We want justice. We want justice.”
“I think a loud, energizing environment gets the best out of you,” Utley said after the game, telling reporters that he feeds off how Mets fans react to him. “It kind of gets your adrenaline going a little bit, makes you dig down deep.”
Dodger pitcher Kenta Maeda held the Mets to five shutout innings of two hit ball after taking a line drive off of his pitching hand, stopping his three game losing streak.
In defense of Syndergaard, manager Terry Collins ran out of the dugout in a rage, pleading his case to plate umpire Adam Hamari that there should have been a warning in lieu of an ejection. For all of his screaming and finger pointing in the face of Hamari, Collins was given his walking papers, as well.
“The ruling was that he intentionally threw at the batter,” crew chief Tom Hallion said after the game. “And with that, we have a judgment of whether we thought it was intentional. And if it was, we can either warn or eject. And with what happened in that situation, we felt the ejection was warranted.”
Syndergaard stuck to his story that the ball got away from him, and then added, “I can understand why he did what he did. I still think a warning would have been better.”
“I was just kind of dumbfounded. I’ve never been thrown out of a game before, so it was just kind of a whirlwind of emotions. It kind of rattled me a little bit, the reason I got thrown out. I was kind of at a loss for words.”
Whether or not it was a pitch with a purpose, this is how the game of baseball is played. Syndergaard’s ejection was premature as the bad decision-making by umpires marches on.
It’s unfortunate that this occurred on the night the 1986 World Series Championship team was honored for their Cinderella season, as well as a lost opportunity for NY to take sole possession of first place in the NL East.