Twas a sultry summer night in Queens NY when the New York Metropolitans took on their neighbors from the city of brotherly love, the Phillies Saturday. As Sun changed to rain, the start of the game was delayed by 46 minutes. Was that the reason for the lackluster performances of both starters, Noah Syndergaard of the Mets and Jake Arrieta of the Phillies?
One thing for sure was that both teams came out swinging.
Jeff McNeil continued his major league leading hitting with a 4 -for- 5 night tying his career high of four hits in a game and raising his BA to .356 with his Roberto Clemente style bat. But a two run blast by Jay Bruce, followed by a homer two batters later by Maikel Franco, put the Phillies ahead until all hell broke loose in the bottom of the fifth inning.
With one out and no one on base, Todd Frazier was hit by a Arrieta 86 -mph change-up. After slamming his bat into the ground, he slowly walked to first base and yelled at Arrieta as players and umpires gathered along his way. After he got to first the four umpires gathered and decided to issue a warning to what appeared to be to the Mets dugout and then tossed Frazier who then had to be held back as he went after the umpiring crew.
He was replaced by Adeiny Hachavarria who made two outstanding catches of sure extra base hits in the late innings that Frazier would never have been able to make a play on.
Now here is where it got interesting, after a double by Dominick Smith put runners on second and third, Arrieta plunked the next batter Amed Rosario with another 86-mph change-up to load the bases. With that, Mets manager Mickey Calloway stormed out of the dugout like a defensive end heading for a quarterback where he was immediately ejected by home plate umpire Tripp Gibson.
Well light my pants on fire Batman because the next batter, Tomas Nido smoked a line drive double into the gap in right center to clear the bases and give the Mets a 6-4 lead. So who lit the fire? Frazier with his confrontation? Or was it Callaway getting run two batters later?
Or was it the chair throwing incident at a coaches / GM meeting following Friday nights loss?
Callaway said: “That will remain a private thing for us. We all continue to have a great relationship between all the coaches and our GM.”
After the game, home-plate umpire Tripp Gibson said he deemed the pitch by Arrieta that hit Frazier was unintentional. He then decided he needed to issue warnings because in his judgment it was unintentional. About Frazier’s ejection he said that he left his position to argue the warnings, which is an ejection and on why was Arrieta not ejected after hitting Rosario?
He again deemed the same thing, unintentional.
He also said that Callaway was ejected because he was arguing that there was no ejection of Arrieta, and so he had to be ejected. Why not eject Robert Gsellman after he hit Jean Segura later on? Gibson deemed all of them unintentional tonight.
Calloway said,“I was just trying to protect my players who took two hits from Arrieta within the space of three batters.” Arrieta hit three Mets.
Callaway praised his hitting machine McNeil. He said that he wouldn’t know how to pitch to him. On Syndergaard’s night, he felt the right hander battled and gave a gritty performance when he didn’t have his best stuff.
“He kept us in the game and that’s all we can ask of him.”
The game ended with a very good outing by Edwin Diaz as he retired three out of the four batters he faced from the Phillies meat of the order. He was aided by one of Hechavarria’s spectacular catches on the third base line.
This team has a ton of potential. If they can continue to play the way they did with some fire in their hearts, the Mets could give some of these teams in the NL East fits in the second half. That comes with a big “IF.”
If they try to strengthen their fragile bullpen, or if they have a fire sale and try to look to next year in the second half, only the “Shadow” knows what lies in the future of this club. Stay tuned.