“Let me finish it,” Noah Syndergaard said to Mickey Callaway on the mound at Citi Field, as captured by SNY’s cameras on Tuesday night.
Syndergaard wasn’t talking about the game. He was talking about the seventh inning. He had thrown 103 pitches and had allowed one base hit to his last 12 batters, a single to the Giants’ Pablo Sandoval to start the seventh. There were two outs and a man on first and the Mets were up by a run.
Problem was Syndergaard was already out of the game as Callaway had first visited the plate umpire to make a double switch.
You can guess what happened next. The Mets, who had a one-run lead, saw that advantage coughed up when Seth Lugo allowed a single and a double to tie the game.
The Mets went on to lose in 10 innings, 9-3, as Robert Gsellman allowed a two-run double to Stephen Vogt that started a six-run inning. Gsellman, who recorded one out, was charged with five runs.
After it was over, Callaway pulled the entire team together and, according to Pete Alonso, “apologized” for pulling Syndergaard too early.
“I’d like to have that one back,” Callaway said more than once in his postgame news conference. “I think in the long run, looking back — of course, hindsight is 20-20 — that’s one I’d like to have back. Maybe let him face one more hitter. You can’t do that. You have to deal with the moment. But that’s one I’d like to have back.”
This whole sorry situation may be one of the last mistakes Callaway gets to make as Mets manager. General manager Brodie Van Wagenen’s lukewarm vote of confidence from two weeks ago isn’t going to last forever if the losses keep mounting.
The Mets were leading 3-2 on the strength of a solo home run by Pete Alonso and a go-ahead two-run shot by Wilson Ramos in the sixth against Madison Bumgarner.
Mike Yastrzemski (Carl’s grandson) had replaced Sandoval at first base on a forceout when Callaway came out to get Syndergaard with Evan Longoria due up.
“We were worried about the runner at first with two outs being able to steal,” Callaway said. “Lugo gives us a better chance to hold him there. I thought the matchups were about the same, maybe Lugo a little better in the long run because he can elevate a fastball. History tells us that (Evan) Longoria is a lowball hitter. He’s had a little success off Noah coming in (3-for-10 before the game, 0-for-2 with a walk in it). But looking back on it, I’d like to have that one back.”
Lugo allowed a single to Longoria and an RBI double to Brandon Belt to tie the score at 3. Longoria was thrown out at the plate on a Michael Conforto to Jeff McNeil to Ramos relay that ended the inning. It was McNeil’s first game off the injured list.
It stayed tied until the 10th, when the Giants scored six times against Gsellman (1-1) and Hector Santiago.
The final ignominy in the top of the 10th was when Conforto pulled a Clint Frazier and allowed Yastrzemski’s two-out, RBI single to skip past him for a two-base error. It didn’t affect the outcome, but it looked ugly and led to a cascade of boos from what was left of the crowd of 24,878. And a lot of calls for Callaway to be fired.
The Giants sent 10 men to the plate in the inning. But the seeds of defeat were planted in the seventh. Callaway’s decision will open up fresh debate about his ability to manage his bullpen after the Mets suffered a pair of crushing late-inning defeats on their recent 2-5 road trip.
Syndergaard said the managerial mea culpa counts for something in his eyes.
“A man that is knowledgeable about the mistakes he makes is something that sparks more respect in our eyes,” Syndergaard said. “I commend him for that.”
So at least Callaway has that going for him.