Chris Bassitt said he was sorry, and the result was his best and longest outing of the season.
The sagging starting pitcher admitted to apologizing and making an increased effort to work and listen to receiver Tomas Nido in the days leading up to his eight shutout innings in the Mets’ 4-0 win Tuesday night over the Brewers at the CitiField.
Bassitt had expressed his frustration after going winless with a 7.62 ERA in his previous five starts, and he explained why after allowing three hits and striking out seven of 109 pitches before Drew Smith records the last three outs to complete the shutout.
“Relieved more than anything. I think with the extra time we had, I was able to completely break down what was going on,” Bassitt said. “Getting started, I didn’t make any adjustments. It was all on me. I thought me and Nido weren’t on the same page at all.
“The more I fought, the worse I did. So we spent the last week getting to know each other.
Bassitt, a 2021 All-Star who was obtained from Oakland in the offseason, said Mark Canha — a teammate with the A’s and the Mets — “saw me the farthest here” and also told him “You are not throwing like you.
Nido admitted that the miscommunication, essentially over pitch sequencing, “went both ways.” Either way, Bassitt had posted a 2.34 ERA through May 18, but that figure increased by more than two full races to 4.35 overall after his next five outings.
“In the spring it was basically me and [starting catcher James] McCann and when he fell [with a hand injury]i just thought that in a few games we would be on the same page [with the other catchers], but that never happened,” Bassitt said. “I totally blame myself, and I sincerely apologized to Nido and [catcher Patrick] Mazeika.
“I feel like it should have been an obvious thing to do, but I really regret not doing it a few weeks ago. I made a key misjudgment that lasted a few weeks.
The past two weeks have also included a tighter NL East run, but Bassitt’s gem and two more RBIs from Pete Alonso kept the Mets cushion to five games against the sizzling Braves, who earned their 13th straight win on Tuesday. evening in Washington.
The Mets (41-21) held a 10 ¹/₂ game lead on June 1 before posting a 5-5 record on a 10-game Western swing. Buck Showalter certainly wasn’t surprised the Braves remedied their hangover after a 23-27 start.
“You’re all going to get your level in a baseball season,” Showalter said. “Everyone knew they were too good for [not] Go for it.
The Phillies also won 10 of 11 to climb back above .500 (32-30) after manager Joe Girardi was fired this month. The Mets won’t see the rising Braves again until July 11 or the Phils until August 12, but Showalter insisted the team was only looking at the slate right in front of them, with six more games to play on that homestand against the Brewers and the Marlins.
Bassitt certainly appeared more focused than he has in weeks, and particularly aggressive with his fastball in the early innings by allowing a hit while facing the minimum 12-of-four batters.
The Mets had pounced on Milwaukee starter Adrian Houser for three runs in the opening frame, with hits from Alonso and Jeff McNeil and a sacrificial fly from Eduardo Escobar.
After a one-on-one play on the bases in the fifth by Starling Marte to advance to second on the fly ball from Francisco Lindor on the left, Alonso ripped another RBI single down the center for his 12th RBI in nine games and his 59th of the season, tying Cleveland. Jose Ramirez for the major league lead.
Bassitt was also helped defensively with a few sparkling double plays to get through the sixth, before the right-hander stoked two in each of the next two innings to maintain the four-run advantage in eight.
“We’ve seen the level he’s capable of throwing, and we’ve seen how frustrating it’s been for him lately,” Showalter said. “Guys like him, you just trust the moxie and the desire that they have, and they make the adjustments. … He was the difference tonight.