Mets' Seth Lugo recaps 'frustrating' ninth inning of walk-off loss to Braves

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Seth Lugo tries to make tumbling throw vs. Braves
Seth Lugo tries to make tumbling throw vs. Braves

After the Mets fought back to tie the game in the top of the ninth inning, the Atlanta Braves were able to walk off with a 4-3 win in the bottom half of the inning.

And if the loss itself wasn’t frustrating enough, the Braves also scored the game-winning run without having a ball leave the infield in that deciding bottom half.

The inning started in unceremonious fashion, as Guillermo Heredia tapped a perfectly placed swinging bunt. Seth Lugo did everything he could to get to the ball, but his attempt to make an off-balanced throw while falling down proved fateful, as his throw sailed, putting Heredia at second with no outs.

“I thought if I made a slide and kind of sidearm throw I might have had a chance, but I caught a pretty big divot there and took a big chunk of the grass out,” Lugo explained afterwards. “Obviously, I wish I would have held the ball, but it’s hard not to give it everything you’ve got there in the ninth inning like that."

Later in the inning, after Lugo had gotten a key strikeout, the Mets intentionally walked Ronald Acuna Jr. before Lugo walked Ender Inciarte, which loaded the bases with two away for Freddie Freeman.

Freeman, who was 0-for-4 with four strikeouts to that point, slapped a grounder off of Lugo’s foot that deflected to Luis Guillorme at third.

Guillorme made an all-out effort to try to make the play at first, but Freeman beat it out to end the game. A look at the replay showed that Guillorme likely would have been able to beat Acuna (who wasn’t running well) to the third base bag, but Luis Rojas explained afterwards how tough of an adjustment that would have been for Guillorme.

“I was one of the few that was yelling from the dugout about having a chance at third base, but looking at it from our angle, you can see Acuna’s distance and how he was running,” Rojas said. “But from Guillorme’s angle and his commitment to make a play like that, he’s a special player when it comes down to playing defense, right? He’s committing in to make a do-or-die play. He’s not aware of where Acuna is, he’s not aware of where the baseline is since he’s committing to the ball, so that’s where it’s just a tough read for Luis when he commits to the ball.

“Can he get the out at third? Yeah, there’s a chance there, but when you commit to make that do-or-die play and the ball ricocheting off the pitcher, your mindset just goes all in for it. It’s just a tough adjustment at that point.”

So, on a night where Jacob deGrom struck out 14 Braves after bouncing back from a three-run first inning, the Mets couldn’t find a way to come away with a win. And while the loss is frustrating, the only thing they can do is move forward, as Lugo explained.

“It’s pretty frustrating, but that’s this sport for you,” Lugo said. “You can make all the pitches, but sometimes it just doesn’t go your way and you’ve got to move on and get ‘em next time.”