Kyle Finnegan fell behind 2-0 on Pete Alonso and tried to come up and in on the New York Mets’ slugger, with a 95 MPH sinker, but Alonso hit it out to left, for a walk-off homer and a sweep of the three-game set with the Washington Nationals in Citi Field. A half-inning after the Nationals rallied to tie the second game of their doubleheader with the Mets, the team lost their fourth straight and ninth in the last ten games.
For Finnegan, it was the second blown save since taking over the closer’s role following the trade deadline moves that shipped Brad Hand and Daniel Hudson out of the nation’s capital.
“I mean, I’m happy with the pitch there,” Finnegan said after the 5-4 loss in New York.
“Was trying to go up and in on him, I think it got there, maybe not quite enough, but I mean, he’s a big guy, swings hard, he got just enough on it.
“I know I clipped it pretty good when I got it,” Alonso said of the home run pitch, though he wondered if the wind and weather that stirred up late in the game would affect its flight.
“I know I hit it really well, but I didn’t know if it would go just because of the environment today, but really happy it went over the wall.”
“We got five extra feet of fence there and maybe it’s a flyout,” Finnegan said. “So just — he made a good play for his team, I was happy with the pitch, and he made a good play.”
Finnegan’s manager, Davey Martinez, said more than that one pitch that went out, it was the two pitches that preceded it that put the closer in a tough spot.
“I thought he wanted to throw the ball up there and in, but like I always say, when you’re 2-0 on a hitter like that, he’s going try to cheat and do what he did. And that’s the bottom line. If he goes 0-2 that pitch is pretty effective. He just has to work on getting ahead of hitters.”
What was his message for the closer after Finnegan’s second blown save since taking over in the closer’s role?
“Just keep your head up and keep battling. He’s done this before in the sixth, the seventh inning, the eighth inning sometimes, and now he’s getting an opportunity to pitch at the back end of the bullpen and it’s going to be a learning process for him, but I think he’s going to learn, he’s got great stuff and he’s got the potential to be a good closer, he really does, but once again, like I said, when you go out there you’ve got to throw strikes, and you can’t fall behind, especially to a good hitter like Alonso, who can hit the ball a long way.”
“The result is what it is,” Finnegan said. “I wish I could change it, but I can’t — that’s part of it. Like I said, I was kind of happy with that pitch, but I’ve got to learn from what happened and continue on to the next one.”
“I mean, you definitely want to get beat with your best stuff there,” Finnegan continued, “... your No. 1 pitch, your go-to stuff. Which I feel like I threw my best bullet there and he got it.
“That’s part of the game, Made a great play for his team, and I mean, I’ll be ready to go tomorrow.”