MILWAUKEE — Several outs away from a win and a series split against the team with the National League’s best record — a legitimate reason to feel good about themselves amid a rough stretch — the Mets ended up with neither.
The bullpen blew it again Sunday in an 8-7 loss to the Brewers. Robert Gsellman, Jerry Blevins and Paul Sewald were charged with runs in Milwaukee’s four-run seventh, a rally that included Mickey Callaway’s decision to go with Blevins, a lefty specialist who has struggled against lefties this year, in a crucial spot.
The Mets (25-24) have lost five of their past six games.
“It’s rough when you finally start scoring some runs and then you give up runs,” Callaway said. “We need to turn it around. I thought we turned it around about a week ago, we were doing OK . . . We need to play better than we have the last two days.”
Gsellman walked Jesus Aguilar to put two runners on base with two outs and the Mets up by two. Instead of leaving Gsellman in to face lefthanded hitter Travis Shaw, Callaway turned to Blevins, who gave up a soft line-drive single to Shaw.
Sewald entered, and Domingo Santana’s looper down the line landed fair for a two-run double. Jonathan Villar followed with an RBI single.
Gsellman (3.31 ERA) this year has held lefties to 8-for-46 (.174) with three homers, eight walks and eight strikeouts. Against Blevins (5.59), lefties are 8-for-27 (.296). Callaway said this season is a small sample size, which he factored in, as he did with Shaw’s minimal record against Blevins (0-for-2, walk) and Gsellman (3-for-7). Shaw also is much better against righties than lefties.
That’s a lot of information to compress into one potentially game-deciding call.
“The numbers were so drastically in favor of Blevins that I thought it was a solid decision to bring him in,” Callaway said. “It’s just like preparing and doing everything you can, and if things don’t work out, you feel OK about it. I kind of take that same approach.”
Blevins has had 13 one-batter appearances this year. The batter has reached base six times.
“I don’t think I’ve been this angry with baseball in a while,” said Blevins, who left a 1-and-2 fastball over the middle of the plate. “Beyond frustrated. Didn’t do my job. I feel like I’m right there, right on the verge. I think we all are. Just frustration. This will be a tough one for me personally to get through.”
Zack Wheeler (four runs, six innings) threw 110 pitches, his highest total since September 2014. He also drove in two runs.
In the third, Aguilar smacked a three-run homer on a fastball in off the plate that ended up in the second deck in leftfield.
“It was a decent pitch, but I think he made the adjustment because we threw in two or three fastballs and he took a step off the plate,” Wheeler said. “Got to give credit to him, because we didn’t pick that up in time, that he backed off the plate, and he made me pay for it.”
After Devin Mesoraco homer ed in the ninth, Amed Rosario walked and stole second. Asdrubal Cabrera (2-for-5, homer, two RBIs) and Michael Conforto struck out to end it.