MILWAUKEE — The numbers failed Mickey Callaway Sunday. The Mets manager leaned on small track records Sunday in managing his bullpen and it backfired on him again as the Mets lost their third straight game, falling to the Brewers 8-7 at Miller Park.
In the seventh inning, Robert Gsellman had two outs with a runner on and got squeezed on ball four to walk Jesus Aguilar. With a two-run lead and lefty-hitting Travis Shaw coming to the plate, Callaway had a decision to make.
“I think that when you have a guy that the numbers really are drastically in favor of and you have a guy, Shaw, who is 3-for-7 off of Gsellman and 0-for-2 off of Blevins, you have to take into account those are all small sample sizes,” Callaway tried to explain. “When things are like that, you have to kind of lean towards the numbers a little bit.
“But the numbers were so drastically in favor of Blevins tonight. I thought it was a solid decision to bring him in,” Callaway said.
While Callaway admitted that it was a pretty small sample size to base the decision on, he went with Blevins to face Shaw, who was 0-for-2 with a walk lifetime off him. He discounted the fact that Blevins has struggled to get lefties out this season.
Shaw singled to left-center to score a run and begin the Brewers’ four-run rally as the bullpen continued to unravel. Paul Sewald gave up back-to-back doubles to bring in three more runs before he could get out of the inning.
“I get ahead 1-2 and want to put a fastball on the plate over and away, it ends up back in the middle. He didn’t hit it that hard, but it found a spot,” said an admittedly angry Blevins. “That’s how its been going. I feel really good physically. That’s the frustrating part. It was mechanical issues early (in the season), but now I feel great.
“It’s just execution man, it’s beyond, I can’t say frustration it’s more anger,” Blevins said at how he is feeling about his season. “It’s not for lack of effort, it’s not for lack of care. It’s really hard to contain it sometimes, but that’s our job. I am trying to be a professional right now.”
The numbers failed Callaway again when he defended his decision. The only numbers favorable to Blevins are a significantly smaller sample size than his track record against lefties this season. They are hitting 7-for-26 off Blevins this season.
That is enough to seriously think about giving Gsellman a shot there. After all, if we are strictly going by the numbers, lefties are hitting 8-for-45 with eight walks and 12 strikeouts off him.
Gsellman was furious with home plate umpire Rob Drake for the 3-1 pitch he called low to walk Aguilar, arguing with him as he walked off the field. He slammed his glove on the dugout bench twice after Blevins gave up the hit.
But he was calm in the clubhouse.
“Jerry’s our lefty guy,” Gsellman said when asked if he would have liked the chance to get out of the inning. “We’re playing matchups, didn’t go our way this series. New series tomorrow, we’ll keep our heads up.”
That can not be easy right now.
Friday night, AJ Ramos walked back-to-back hitters to force in the game-winning run in the 10th inning. Saturday, lefty Jason Vargas could only get through three innings and the bullpen faltered in the 17-6 embarrassing loss. Sunday, the Mets offense rallied twice and Zack Wheeler battled through six innings to hand off a lead to the bullpen only to watch it implode again.
For a team that has spiraled out of control since their 11-1 start when Callaway seemed to make all the right calls, it’s starting to be a really rough ride.
“It’s a little hard for me to speak on behalf of the bullpen right now. I don’t think I’ve been this angry with baseball in a while,” Blevins said. “Mickey puts me in a situation that is tailor-made for me, that’s what I have been doing my whole career. It would have been really nice to help the team out and show Mickey the faith in me was not for naught.
“Our offense battled back and did such a great job. Zack battled through an early rough start and pitched six great innings, I am beyond frustrated. I didn’t do my job.”