The New York Mets endured playoff elimination in a win-or-go-home Game 3 against the San Diego Padres on Sunday.
Mets manager Buck Showalter, skeptical of the nearly spotless pitching performance from Padres starter Joe Musgrove, elected to request a substance check on the 29-year-old veteran. However, this was no regular substance check. As expected, Musgrove’s hands and glove were examined. But crew chief umpire Alfonso Marquez wasn’t done there. Per request of Showalter and the Mets dugout, Musgrove’s ears were also checked with Marquez seen rubbing both in efforts of inspection.
“I love him as a pitcher, always have,” Showalter told reporters, per SNY video. “He’s too good a pitcher. … I get a lot of information in the dugout. We certainly weren’t having much luck the way it was going, that’s for sure. I’m charged with doing what’s best for the New York Mets. However it might make me look, I’m going to do that every time and live with the consequences. I’m not here to not hurt somebody’s feelings.”
Showalter added: “I felt like that was best for us right now. Some pretty obvious reasons why it was necessary.”
Musgrove, who hadn’t made a postseason appearance since 2017 with the Houston Astros, was dominant before and after the ear check. The right-hander tossed seven scoreless innings while the Mets offense only managed to scrap a single hit and walk while striking out five times.
Mets power-hitting first baseman Pete Alonso went 1-for-3, tallying the only base hit (a single) on the night for New York’s lineup during the 6-0 loss.
Showalter called upon seven different pitchers to take the hill while the Padres followed Musgrove’s lead with relievers Robert Suarez and Josh Hader keeping the Mets hitless in the final two innings while combining to strikeout three hitters.
The Padres puched their ticket to the National League Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The first game of that best-of-five battle is scheduled for Tuesday.