Jon Niese tossed four shutout innings, then – with two outs in the fifth – surrendered three runs and the Brewers beat the Mets, 5-2, late Saturday night in Milwaukee.
In the top of the sixth inning, with two outs and the tying run at third, Terry Collins pinch hit Bobby Abreu for Niese, which resulted in the Brewers bringing in a left-handed reliever. Collins called Abreu back and went with right-handed hitter Eric Campbell, who struck out to end the inning.
“He certainly deserved to go back out, but we’ve been having a tough time scoring,” said Collins, who had Niese batting eighth in the lineup. “So I thought he had to hit for him in the sixth.”
Niese is 0-2 with a 5.73 ERA in 11 innings and two starts since the All Star break and returning from the disabled list.
In Niese’s final frame, with two outs and the Brewers having yet to score a run, Chris Young let a ball drop in to center field, which he may or may not have been able to dive and catch. Naturally, a run scored…
“Them getting those runs with two outs is frustrating, they hit them where we weren’t,” Niese said.
Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer
Look, had Juan Lagares been in center field – and not Young – that ball is likely caught and Niese may have escaped having let up no runs through five innings… In Young’s defense, if he dives – and the ball goes by him – who knows how things play out. Niese also didn’t have to lose 5 mph on his fastball and leave balls up in the zone. It was just a messy inning, including a pass ball. Niese looked annoyed on the mound after the run scored, and even seemed to throw a stink eye toward Young. His quote in this post could read as a snarky comment as well, but he may also be being genuine and obvious, it’s hard to tell…
Anyway, I’m confused by Niese’s arm. I really am? Is he hurt? If not, why the dramatic and sudden dip in velocity during the fifth inning? Why does that happen so quickly, after looking so good the first four frames? Did he lose focus after that first run? Maybe his arm strength is weak after missing a few starts while on the DL through the All Star bream? Or, maybe it’s some larger, chronic issue, which is why he was on the DL in the first place? I don’t know. I’m hoping Saturday was just…
By the way, had Niese been batting ninth and not eighth, he may not have had to be pinch hit for and maybe he gets a chance to go back and do well in the sixth inning, and the fifth is just a bad inning instead of a bad ending. For what it’s worth, this is why I don’t like hitting the pitcher eighth, because of situations like this. Because of it, Terry ended up burning three players in one spot where he may not have had to, not to mention it pulls Niese and fires up the bullpen earlier than it may have had to be used.