NEW YORK -- New York Mets manager Terry Collins had zero interest in allowing his best player to risk injury during a rout and no problem explaining the reason.
Third baseman David Wright -- the player Collins removed to avoid possible retaliation from the Milwaukee Brewers after their star, Ryan Braun, was hit by a pitch -- initially had a little tougher time accepting Collins' decision.
It all added up to an emotion-filled ending to a lackluster 8-0 loss by the Mets on Tuesday night, as Collins later said Wright argued with him that if a player was going to get hit, the third baseman wanted it to be him.
The situation started when Mets reliever D.J. Carrasco followed Rickie Weeks' home run in the seventh, which capped the scoring, by hitting Braun with the next pitch.
Carrasco was immediately ejected by plate umpire Gary Darling.
Weeks' homer finished off a Milwaukee blowout that included Travis Ishikawa's first multi-homer, five-RBI game and winning pitcher Zack Greinke's seven shutout innings.
Collins then made his own ejection in the bottom of the inning, when Wright was the first batter due up, citing the game's unwritten rules that if one team's star gets hit by a pitch, the other team's star should be prepared to go down.
Wright offered a rare display of anger, trying to "plead my case" with Collins to stay in the game, as he said later.
"Why I took him out of the game -- he wasn't getting hit," an emotional Collins said after the game. "I'm not accusing anybody of retaliation, but ... in this game, there's unwritten rules. ...
"(Wright) said, 'If somebody gets hit, it should be me.' I said, 'It's not gonna be you. We've got enough problems now. You're not hitting.' ...
"He's not going to get hurt in this game, in this situation."
The Mets have been plagued by injuries through most of Collins' tenure as manager, last year and through the first month and a half of this season. He nodded affirmatively when asked if concern of retaliation was also why he removed Daniel Murphy, who had earlier extended his hitting streak to a career-high 11 games.
Wright acknowledged after the game he might have been able to pick a better spot to express his displeasure with coming out, but he said none of his anger was directed at Collins.
"I wasn't upset at Terry at all," he said.
Collins said he didn't think Carrasco hit Braun with the pitch on purpose, but he said he understood why the reliever was ejected and that if the situation was reversed and his star had gotten hit, he would have wanted the same thing to happen.
Carrasco said the pitch was not intentional. Wright seemed concerned about whether it was a purpose pitch, saying, "I'm not sure why Braun got hit. That's one of those things we have to discuss."
Braun, who had jawed at Carrasco as he walked down to first, was matter-of-fact after the game, saying he didn't know whether the pitch was intentional or not, but that it "looks questionable" coming right after the home run.
Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said Collins' decision to take out his stars in the next inning "was interesting. What that shows is interesting."
But the strategy might have worked out for Collins as he mentioned, to laughter, that "we don't play them tomorrow. That's the best part."
The rare two-game series means the Brewers will not play the Mets again until Sept. 14.
Even Braun acknowledged that, by that time, the matter could be considered closed.
"David's one of my favorite players in the league. I respect that he wanted to stay in the game," Braun said, adding he also respected what Collins did in trying to protect his star. Asked if the incident would linger, Braun said, "I don't even know when we play them again. By the time we play them again, unless it's soon, it's a long season, I doubt anybody will remember."
The late dramatics overshadowed an impressive win for the Brewers, who were led by home runs by Ishikawa in the fifth and sixth innings against Dillon Gee.
Gee (2-3) allowed seven runs on five hits in 5 1/3 innings, while Greinke (4-1) masterfully shut down the Mets on five hits while striking out seven.
"He had great stuff; amazing," Wright said of Greinke. "He shut us down."
NOTES: Weeks had missed the past three starts after getting hit by a pitch on the left hand. "The biggest thing is we need Rickie to swing the bat for our offense," Roenicke said before the game. ... Wright said he hasn't discussed with his agents whether he would have contract extension talks with the Mets during the season. Wright is under contract through this year with a team option for next season. "Honest to goodness, I haven't thought about it," Wright told reporters. ... Mets catcher Josh Thole said he hopes to begin baseball activities soon, as he has been symptom-free since sustaining a concussion last week against the Phillies. Manager Terry Collins said Thole likely will need a minor league rehab stint before returning. ... Brewers center fielder Carlos Gomez (right hamstring strain) is expected to return from the disabled list Sunday, Roenicke said.
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!
|Best of Yardbarker||NFL News||MLB News||NBA News||NHL News|
Today's Best Stuff