DENVER -- Terry Collins’ initial reaction when asked about leaving Jenrry Mejia in to face Nolan Arenado with the bases loaded and one out in the fifth inning after the Colorado Rockies already had plated four runs in the inning?
“I knew that question was going to come,” the not-too-pleased manager said.
New York Mets
Collins then suggested the inning was only partly, at most, Mejia’s fault. The Mets had failed to turn a double play earlier that inning when Lucas Duda did not hold a throw at first base.
Moreover, Collins said, Mejia had gotten Arenado to hit groundballs in his two earlier at-bats.
This time, though, Arenado tattooed Mejia’s offering for a grand slam that gave the Rockies an 8-6 lead and chased Mejia. The Rockies went on to beat the Mets, 11-10, on Charlie Culberson’s walk-off two-run homer in the ninth against Kyle Farnsworth.
“Once in a while they hit them where nobody is playing,” Collins said about Mejia. “I mean, he made good pitches. We got a double play. We should have been out of the inning. We drop a ball and we couldn’t get them out after that. It wasn’t Jenrry’s fault all the time. But the results are what they are.”
Said Anthony Recker: "It did happen really quickly. Honestly, he didn't make a lot of bad pitches."
Mejia gave up eight runs while throwing only 19 pitches and recording one out in the fifth. He started incorporating his breaking ball that inning, but said he was surprised afterward by the quick turn of events. The Mets entered the inning with a 6-0 lead.
“Nothing happened. I just threw strikes, kept my concentration. They got me,” Mejia said. “That’s unbelievable. There’s nothing I can do. I think they hit good pitches. I changed my pitch sequence in the fifth inning. I started throwing two-seamers and changeups. And then in the fifth inning I threw my breaking ball. Everything was down. ... They got me. That’s why I say, it’s unbelievable.”
Opposing batters are now hitting .438 (14-for-32) with five walks and a hit by pitch the third time Mejia faces them in a game this season. And that makes you wonder if ultimately Mejia is better served pitching in relief, with Daisuke Matsuzaka or one of the Triple-A arms stepping into the rotation.
Collins was not asked that postgame, but he was asked how Mejia can improve the third time through the order.
“I wish I had an answer to that,” Collins said. "Obviously we’ve got to try to get him through it somehow, especially when you’ve only got 60-some pitches. You’ve got to be able to get through it and mix your stuff up and maybe pitch them differently than you did the time before. We certainly will take a good look at it and try to come up with an idea of how to get him deeper into games.”