The New York Mets fall in embarrassing fashion after Drew Gagnon’s bullpen implosion leads to a benches-clearing altercation.
The New York Mets have given fans no shortage of anxiety-inducing losses lately. The Metropolitans have been plagued by bullpen blowups, managerial miscues, and everything in between. On Friday, Drew Gagnon imploded in the eighth inning.
With the Mets down by one run and clinging to any shred of hope for a comeback, Gagnon gave up a two-run bomb to David Dahl. Later in the inning, the right-hander would serve up a belt-high fastball to Daniel Murphy. The former Met knew exactly what to do with it.
— Colorado Rockies (@Rockies) June 8, 2019
Daniel Murphy goes deep to add some more insurance! pic.twitter.com/0CtFlx59Z4
— Colorado Rockies (@Rockies) June 8, 2019
Before the Mets could blink, the Rockies had effectively put the game out of reach. Four runs is a sizeable lead to overcome in the eighth inning. But instead of trying to scratch and claw for the third out in the inning, Gagnon drilled Ian Desmond square in the back. To no one’s surprise, Desmond took offense to the purpose pitch.
The Mets and Rockies just cleared the benches after Ian Desmond was hit by a pitch. pic.twitter.com/z1h4XBsdUb
— SNY (@SNYtv) June 8, 2019
Ultimately, nothing escalated past some chatter back and forth. No punches were thrown, there were no ejections, and cooler heads prevailed.
“I see where they’re coming from, but I wasn’t throwing strikes all day,” Gagnon said after the game, per SNY. “The ball slipped. It was a two-seamer, so complete accident.
“I wasn’t making pitches all night … When you give up two home runs and you hit a guy, it looks bad, but that wasn’t my intention at all.”
It’s hard to buy this response from Gagnon considering the response from Murphy out of Colorado’s dugout. Moreover, the SNY crew immediately acknowledged that Desmond’s anger may have been justified. Even with Gagnon’s denial, it’s impossible to blame the Rockies for their reaction to the pitch.
To his credit, Mets manager Mickey Callaway backed up his pitcher. He understands the situation and tried to play the role of peacemaker.
“Obviously Gagnon wasn’t hitting anybody on purpose,” Callaway said. “He’s trying to get outs right there and trying to keep the game as close as possible. Hopefully they’ll realize that, but you want to protect your players.”
There’s no need to give Callaway any medals for covering for his player. In fact, he made some concerning postgame comments that directly contrasted with something Jacob deGrom told reporters.
Mickey Callaway: "Nobody's been frustrated. I don't think this group of guys, you really have to worry about that."
Jacob deGrom: "The goal is to win baseball games and when we don't, everyone's frustrated."
— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) June 8, 2019
I understand that Callaway isn’t the type to overreact or explode in a postgame press conference. He’s more reserved and that’s fine. But it’s clear that there is some level of disconnect between him and the team.
The reigning Cy Young winner has a reason to be frustrated and his manager should know exactly why. The righty hurler turned in a gutsy performance, striking out 10 batters in just six innings. He lowered his ERA to 3.45 and he’s starting to look more like the dominant pitcher who pitched to a 1.70 ERA in 2018.
It didn’t matter because Antonio Senzatela shut down the Mets for one run in six innings. Colorado’s bullpen made short work of the Mets in the final three frames. It was another wasted start for deGrom in what feels like the umpteenth time that’s happened to him in Flushing.
While Callaway wasn’t the one struggling in the batter’s box, the second-year manager isn’t exactly free from blame. His handling of the bullpen is questionable at best, and his in-game decision-making has been less than stellar in recent weeks. He even admitted that his call to pull Noah Syndergaard on Tuesday was a decision that he wanted back.
It’s another ugly loss in a Mets season chock full of them. Even worse, Friday was another night that raised more questions than answers. How many more dreadful losses can the Mets take before there is a major change?
Firing a manager midseason is far from ideal, but it feels like the clock is ticking on Mickey Callaway—and the Mets’ season.