When the starting job at closer became Jose Valverde's responsibility, the Mets did not expect it to be a major concern. Unfortunately, Jose Valverde has allowed four home runs in his last three outings, one of which gave the Braves a 7-3 lead in the top of the ninth inning tonight after the Mets came within one run to make the score 4-3 heading into the inning.
Even though Valverde's job was to keep things close for the bottom of the ninth instead of closing out the game for a win, he still looked as off as ever. Valverde continuously threw ball after ball and finally left a fastball right in Justin Upton's wheelhouse to give Atlanta a four-run lead heading into the bottom half of the ninth.
In the bottom of the inning, the Mets began to rally off of one of the elite closers in baseball, Mr. Craig "Lights Out" Kimbrel. Even though they fell short, the Mets did put up quite the rally.
With one out and nobody on base, Eric Young Jr. went to first after being hit by a pitch. That was then followed by a Daniel Murphy single and an RBI double by David Wright to make the game 7-4.
Curtis Granderson came up to bat as the tying run and struck out on Kimbrel's deadly slider.
Chris B. Young followed with an RBI single up the middle and became the tying run on first. After a walk to Lucas Duda and a pitching change that sent Kimbrel to the dugout and Jordan Walden to the mound, Walden got Travis d'Arnaud to ground out to Andrelton Simmons and leave the bases loaded to end the game with the tying run on second base.
The ball game was close for the majority of the night but Upton's three-run homer off Valverde in the ninth proved to be the difference.
The Mets scored early on Ervin Santana in the first inning before falling behind 4-1 in the eighth and scoring two in the ninth to make the game 7-5.
Bartolo Colon threw seven innings, allowing three earned runs on eight hits and six strikeouts. Colon's ERA on the season is now 5.40 and now has a 1-3 record.
The Met bats did not pick it up until the late innings when they chipped away at Braves relievers David Carpenter and Craig Kimbrel. Although they made a valiant effort to come back and almost tie the game more than once, Jose Valverde's woes were too much for them to get the win.
The Mets are now under .500 once again at 8-9 while the Braves improved to 12-5 and are still in first place in the N.L East.
It will be interesting to see who becomes the Mets' ninth inning man in their next game. I know one thing, Terry Collins won't be choosing Mr. Valverde.