A strong seven innings from Chris Mazza put the Syracuse Mets in prime position to beat Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Friday night, but the bullpen wasn’t able to seal the deal, ultimately leading to the 6-5 loss.
When manager Tony DeFrancesco decided Mazza wasn’t going to the mound for the eighth inning, his team had a comfortable 4-1 lead. Sooner rather than later, the Mets were facing a 6-4 deficit courtesy of the RailRiders five-run eighth inning which was highlighted by a grand slam from shortstop Breyvic Valera.
In the home half of the inning, the Mets tried to regain the lead, and were momentarily successful, scoring a run. It ended there, though, and the Mets were faced with their fifth straight defeat.
Reacting to the loss, DeFrancesco said the bullpen is in a transition period. It’s been a difficult few days trying to piece innings together because the team lost a few relievers, but the organization is promoting a couple of guys from Double-A, he said, per Lindsay Kramer of Syracuse.com.
The transition has caused the bullpen to be overworked, he added, and some of the relievers need a day off. However, he said, it’s the same situation for the rest of the roster, and that’s been a root cause of some of the mistakes players have made recently.
Syracuse, as a team, had 12 strikeouts on Friday night. And although it also had 11 base hits, it didn’t matter. Some of the strikeouts came at inopportune times, and looking back, they all overpower and shade over the base hits.
Throughout the game, the Mets left 18 men on base, and the middle of the lineup struggled the most in that regard. The 3-4-5 hitters — Danny Espinosa, Rene Rivera and Dilson Herrera — left a combined 12 men on base.
That said, the solution to Syracuse’s issues on Friday is fairly simple and should leave fans optimistic. Eventually, Espinoza, Rivera and Herrera will see the ball more clearly and find themselves in better positions to score.