When this game started Luis Rojas told us it would be a bullpen game and for the second straight night the bullpen implodes giving up a ton of runs as the Rays beat the Mets 12-5. In this one, Drew Smith opened the game giving up 1 unearned run in 2 innings but Joey Lucchesi could not hold a 4-1 lead the Mets had compiled on homers from Jose Peraza and Pete Alonso.
In the fourth inning Lucchesi gave up 5 runs as time and time again his fastball was driven all over the park. He had no command of his Churve pitch and Luis Rojas admitted after the game that he is a 2 pitch pitcher-fast ball and churve– and that makes him hittable when one is not working. Later, Lucchesi begged to differ on that saying he has a third pitch and perhaps Rojas and Lucchesi should discuss that difference of opinion. I can tell you in my opinion he is at best–a 2 pitch pitcher–so I have to agree with the Met manager on this one.
But this game was not fully decided till later in the contest when Francisco Lindor belted a homer to cut the Rays lead to 6-5 but in the very next half inning the Mets bullpen imploded again giving up 6 runs that ended any hopes of a Met comeback. This time it was Jacob Barnes but I have to wonder why Rojas did not counter with either Aaron Loup or Jeurys Familia knowing it was now a one run game as we headed to the bottom of the 8th inning.
For the second straight game it was a curious 8th inning move by Rojas who left David Peterson in the game on Friday Night only turning to Trevor May as the Rays threatened. Today’s relievers need to start innings as they are much more comfortable in that scenario and 2 straight games relievers were not put in that situation. As a manager you must put your players in situations where you arm them (no pun intended) with the best shot at a successful appearance and hopefully the Met manager learned that from these last 2 games.
Marcus Stroman takes the hill on Sunday trying to avert a sweep which is a key early season game for the Mets. The last thing you want after a 7 game winning streak is to start a losing streak as you head to Atlanta and Miami for 6 road divisional games to end this trip.