Opening night was going just as the Mets had planned as Jacob deGrom threw 6 shutout innings and the team had a lead as the bullpen entered the game in the 7th inning. But disaster struck in the 8th inning and the Mets blew the lead and ultimately the game. The question is does this cause concern or was it just a bad night?
The concerning thing is both Trevor May and Aaron Loup faltered not even getting the game to Edwin Diaz to close it out and both these hurlers were viewed as big reasons the Mets thought they had an improved bullpen but the defense also betrayed them behind the pitchers. “We want to win every game”, said Luis Rojas after the contest, “and we are definitely disappointed about that. “
Once deGrom left the game after six innings, Miquel Castro got through the 7th inning but in the next frame both May and Loup made poor pitches and then Luis Guillorme, who was brought into the game for defense committed a costly error padding the lead for the homestanding Phillies which made a ninth rally for the Mets fall short as they plated a run and Pete Alonso drove a ball to the wall which was caught to end the game with the tying runs on base.
This is now the 31st time in the career of Jacob deGrom that the bullpen has blown a deGrom win but Luis Rojas tried to stay positive after the game saying, “We saw more positives than negatives even though we lost the game.” But on opening night the 2 things most felt shaky about this club turned the game-the bullpen and the defense. And in this competitive NL East you just can not afford to blow games like this.
Still it is only one game and you can not think the sky is falling after 1 night. The Mets built this team for a marathon not a sprint race. “That’s definitely not how you draw up your first outing of the season”, said a frustrated Aaron Loup. But Met fans have seen this many times before in the career of Jacob deGrom and it has an almost spooky comparison to past meltdowns.
But there should be concern inside the Met clubhouse because these are the things that can wreck a season and the only fortunate thing is it occurred with so many games still remaining in the season. But this bullpen bears watching as well as the Met defense and Luis Rojas has to instill in his team that success in 2021 will be very intertwined in both those areas which faded like a sunset last night at Citizen Bank Park.