Friday, September 2, 2022

Buck's Breakdown Of Series Finale Win Over Dodgers

Mets Manager Buck Showalter walking back to the dugout after discussing the light situation with the umpires in the third inning. Photo by Jason Schott.


The Mets won their three-game series with the Los Angeles Dodgers at Citi Field with a 5-3 win in the finale on Thursday evening. 

When you take the two of three the Mets (84-48) won in New York, and combine them with the two wins they earned in a four-game series split in Los Angeles in early June, the Mets won the season series with the Dodgers, the best team in baseball with a record of 90-40.

There were a lot of key moments and unique occurrences in this one that Mets Manager Buck Showalter gave his impressions on after the game.

Lights On, Lights Off?: In the top third inning, with the Dodgers batting and  two outs, their Manager, Dave Roberts, came out to chat with the umpires. Since there was nothing that seemed all that controversial about Freddie Freeman's groundout to second base, the logical conclusion was he was complaining that his players couldn't see the ball because of the shadows.

"Basically, I came out there, they were wanting to turn the lights on with two outs, and then they couldn't get on, so they wanted us to hit in the dark in the bottom of the inning," Showalter said. "I said, you couldn't do that, and I said it's a safety factor now. If you're telling me that they're telling you they're aren't seeing real well, then let's wait for the lights to come on.

"We're not gonna hit in the bottom of the inning if you're telling me it's not safe, if you want to turn the lights on; why should we hit when it's not safe? We'll just sit here and wait on the lights.

"I don't know if I'd have done it with nobody out, but with two outs, I mean, why would I do that for us? I don't want our guys hitting in the dark because, generally, you turn them on in the top of the inning, but they signaled for it, the way I understand it, with two outs and they don't instantly come on, and I just didn't think it was in our best interest to hit without lights in the bottom of the inning. 

"If it's dark enough for them to turn them on in the top, why wouldn't it be dark enough to turn them on in the bottom."

Sticking With Ruf: In the top of the sixth, with Los Angeles u 2-1, right-hander Chris Martin came  for Los Angeles out of the bullpen to relieve starter Clayton Kershaw, who stifled the Mets for five innings, in which he allowed just a run on one hit and three walks, with six strikeouts. Starling Marte greeted him with a single, which was followed by a double up the right-center field gap from Francisco Lindor that brought Marte in and tied the game at 2. 

While Pete Alonso was at-bat, Daniel Vogelbach was in the on-deck circle ready to pinch-hit for Darin Ruf. When the Mets first baseman  struck out, Vogbelbach went back in the dugout, and Ruf came out to hit. 

With Ruf at-bat, Lindor stole third base, and then the Mets designated hitter followed that up with a sacrifice fly hit into the left field corner to bring home Lindor and make it 3-2 Mets.

Showalter was asked about pulling Vogelbach from hitting here, and he said, "They were going to bring (Caleb) Ferguson in, left-on-left, also I thought it would give Lindor a better chance to steal third base, but the biggest thing is you got Ruf, who's in the game and hot versus Vogey cold, basically, probably their best relief pitcher, one of their best relief pitchers.

"We've got a right-hand pitcher struggling, I wanted to keep him in the game because I knew he had to face Canha, too." (Canha grounded out to third base to end the inning)

Buck said of what a big at-bat that was for Ruf, who's been struggling of late, "He's pushing so hard, and it's like all these guys have been three- and four-hole hitters, and done great things, he's played in World Series, high-level playoffs, and to have that ability at your fingertips and not being able to get it functioning like you know it can, just to have him go on and make a big contribution. We love the person and the player, the things that he can bring, so you know, I'm hoping that's a start for him, he's already had some big hits for us. He'll be a weapon for us."

Vogelbach Found His Way In: In the bottom of the eighth, with Heath Hembree on for Los Angeles, Vogelbach came up to pinch-hit for Ruf with one out and drew a walk. The Mets turned to speedster Terrance Gore, who they called up on Wednesday, to come in to pinch-run and he promptly stole second base. Canha then popped up to first base before McNeil grounded out to short to end the inning.

"Good to get Terrance out there," said Showalter. "That was, I would say, fun, you got Vogey walks, gets to first and then this guy comes out and takes his place. I could say some things, it would be pretty funny, but I won't."

Before the game, Showalter said of Gore, "He can really run! He had this one skill that you know puts you in the big leagues every year You got to figure he hones the heck out of it, which he does. He's got a program because he knows that if he can keep this foot speed at this elite level, he's going to be in the big leagues every September.

Timmy Trumpet Encore?: Closer Edwin Diaz pitched the eighth inning in this one, as Los Angeles had the heart of their order coming up in that inning. 

That left the ninth to Adam Ottavino, who is rapidly becoming the second option for the Mets to close out games, as he retired the Dodgers in order in the ninth to earn his third save of the season, all of which have come in the past week.

Showalter, referencing Timmy Trumpet, who played Diaz's entrance song, "Narco," live at Citi Field on Wednesday night, said, "Was he here?" Then, when he was informed he was not, that he had to go to Singapore, Buck said, "Come out for Otto, come up with a new song, three-hit wonder, he's got some hits."

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