This time, the mistake came in the sixth inning and not the fourth. This time, it was a breaking ball, not a fastball. This time, the ball was pulled, not hit to the opposite field.
But, really, it was the same. One mistake ruined a very strong outing. One poor pitch did in the Mets’ starting pitcher. Friday night, it was Max Scherzer. On Saturday, it was Chris Bassitt.
Manny Machado’s two-run, sixth-inning homer — one pitch after it that he should have been struck out — was the difference as the Padres sent the punchless Mets to their third straight defeat, 2-1, at Citi Field.
“My job here is to eat innings — I’m eating innings. I’ll be pretty upset if I’m losing in the playoffs [like this],” Bassitt said. “Right now, just keep grinding. I know these games are frustrating from all standpoints, but overall it’s OK.”
Bassitt was hardly to blame. The first-year Met was brilliant. He retired the first 12 Padres he faced. He struck out a season-high 11. He gave up just four hits, didn’t walk a batter (though he did hit one with a pitch) and completed seven innings on 89 pitches to lower his ERA to 3.72. In the seventh, he stranded two runners after a Francisco Lindor miscue, keeping the Mets in the game.
The outing was his latest strong performance, following six innings of one-run ball in a win over the Braves. In his last six starts, Bassitt hasn’t given up more than three earned runs while pitching to a 2.43 ERA over 40 ²/₃ innings.
But, unfortunately for Bassitt and the Mets, the sixth inning is where the game was lost. With two outs and a runner on first base, Bassitt appeared to have struck Machado out with a high slider. The pitch, however, was called a ball by home plate umpire Jim Wolf. And on the next pitch, Bassitt hung a slider, and Machado deposited it over the left-field fence.
“It’s part of the game,” Bassitt said. “It’s OK that he missed it. I just got to make a much better pitch the pitch after that. That was a terrible pitch.”
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