After a weekend in Boston, this article was looking like a Monday Shenanigans one. Alas, it got done today and our wonderful editors managed to publish it to end our slate. Thanks to the all-star break, this week also has a broader Sunday Shenanigans window. Last Friday and Saturday are also included in the mix. So, we get a nice range of potential bloopers. And boy, did we get a blooper this week. As the Mets started their second-half against the Pirates in Pittsburgh, Taijuan Walker got the mound.
A Rocky Start
The Mets lost the first two games of the three-game series, so being swept by the Pirates would have been demoralizing to the NL East leaders. Walker didn’t help their odds. Bryan Reynolds hit an RBI single and then John Nogowski drove in two with a double. Gregory Polanco and Michael Perez walked, leaving the bases loaded with just a single out for Kevin Newman. What Newman did was cause chaos.
The middle infielder hit a soft grounder down the third-base line. It was hit perfectly so that by the time Walker got to it, Nogoski was about to score and Newman was guaranteed to be safe. The Mets’ only chance at keeping the score at 3-0 was to touch the ball if it rolled foul. Luckily for him, it did start foul. But, the spin made it go right. Walker tried to whack it into foul territory, but the replay showed that the ball was on the white line when Walker made contact. It was a fair ball.
The Mets were certain that the call by home plate umpire Jeremy Riggs was incorrect. As the ball rolled towards the backstop next to the third-base dugout, Walker, catcher Tomas Nido, and third baseman J.D. Davis just watched and argued. This allowed not only Nogowski to score, but Polanco and Reynolds as well. Walker realized and ran to the ball, but it was too late. Newman was on second-base and the score was 6-0 Pittsburgh in the first.
Mets manager Luis Rojas wasn’t happy, either. When the play was finally dead, he stormed out of the dugout. One angry rant later, and he was ejected. In the first inning, the Mets lost their manager, the tie by six runs, and after he walked pitcher JT Brubaker, their starting pitcher, too. Walker was pulled after 0.1 innings for Drew Smith, who limited the damage. But the main damage was not the unnecessary runs scored, but the humiliation.
There was a silver lining to this mess as Mets fans should know. Smith did his job, allowing just one hit over 2.2 shutout innings. Four other relievers combined for six scoreless. Meanwhile, the Mets’ offense roared back. Travis Blankenhorn hit his first major league homer, a three-run shot. In the ninth inning, Michael Conforto hit a two-run bomb off of closer Richard Rodriguez to complete the comeback and give New York a 7-6 lead. That may be the signing point that these Mets may be different than those of years past: they have their Mets Moments, but they can still battle back.
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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images