The Brewers blew out the Mets 8-0 on Tuesday. But — outside of those concerned with the Mets’ growing runs scored/runs allowed gap — you know, who cares about the game itself. The most interesting moment of the night was the spirited discussion betwixt Terry Collins and David Wright in the Mets’ dugout during the seventh inning.
Here’s the setup if you missed it: In the top half of the seventh, D.J. Carrasco was ejected by home plate umpire (and SNY announcer portnameteau) Gary Darling for plunking Ryan Braun with the first pitch immediately following a home run. The plunking appeared unintentional, for it would have been the most accurate pitch Carrasco has ever thrown in a Mets uniform. Regardless, Collins feared the Brewers might retaliate with similarly errant pitches. He removed his best hitters, Wright and Daniel Murphy, for their protection. Wright was visually displeased, caught on camera speaking emphatically with Collins and reportedly demanding to stay in the game. Collins said “no,” Wright said “what,” Collins said “You can do what you want Dave, but the next time you see me coming you better run.” Jordany Valdespin pinch hit for Wright. The third baseman appeared to speak calmly with Collins later in the same inning, so I assume things are cool now.
Breaking down reactions of the various parties:
1. I liked David Wright’s reaction. He didn’t want anyone else taking a pitch for him, and he made sure his teammates knew as much. Nevermind the baseball side of things — as a human being, that’s pretty cool. If someone you admire refuses to let you to take a punishment intended for him or her, that means something. Leadership is a buzzword now beaten into meaninglessness by politicians, and job and college applications. But I think Wright’s reaction is what leadership is supposed to be. Wright unofficially captains the third-youngest team in the National League. That sort of stuff matters coming from him.
Also he’s hitting .400.
I suppose yelling at your manager on camera may not be the best example for the Padawans, but in this case — Wright showing his teammates he’ll literally fight to take a pitch for any one of them — it can be excused as a necessary display.
Oh, also, Wright is hitting .400.
2. I also liked Terry Collins’ reaction. Wright and Murphy have been the Mets’ best hitters in 2012. (I can’t believe I just wrote that sentence.) Wright is playing with a broken pinkie, and he’s (maybe) just now recovered from being beaned by Matt Cain in 2009. The Mets can’t afford to lose either one to an errant pitch. Collins’ job is to protect his players from opposing pitchers, umpires, and even the player himself. Collins did his job in this case.
3. D.J. Carrasco is the goat here. He had one job last night: soak up innings in a blowout. The only way Carrasco could fail — the only way! — was to get himself ejected. The only way he could get himself ejected was to give up a home run and then plunk the next batter with a first pitch fastball. I guess he could have flipped off the umpire or something. Whatever. Carrasco did the one thing he couldn’t do, and made things even worse by hitting the opposing team’s best player. He gets a double F* for this one.
*A Double F = a Frank Francisco. Like an F-minus, but worse.
4. Collins kinda sorta totally threw Carrasco under the bus during the postgame presser. I’m not sure the long reliever is long for this team. You know how the Knicks originally hired Mike Woodson as a “defensive coordinator” of sorts? The Mets should get a “bullpen coordinator” for Sandy Alderson.
5. The Brewers did not plunk any Mets in retaliation. It seemed Carrasco’s pitch was without intent, and the Brewers may have seen it as such. All may have been for naught. We’ll see how it goes when the Mets meet the Brew Crew again in . . . looks at calender . . . oh, September. That’s a long way off. We’ll probably all have forgotten by then.
6. If any game demanded a pitching appearance by Mike Baxter, this was the game.
The final grades: David Wright get an A+ because he’s hitting .400. Terry Collins is downgraded to a B for refusing to pitch Mike Baxter. D.J. Carrasco has probably flunked out.