It has been a rough week or so for the New York Mets faithful, including the trades of David Robertson and Max Scherzer — and then, on the day of the trade deadline, losing to the Kansas City Royals on a walk-off balk.
In the top of the 10th inning, the Mets took a 6-4 lead following a two-run home run by Francisco Alvarez, but that didn't last long.
The Royals tied the game 6-6 in the bottom of the 10th and, with the bases loaded, Michael Massey stepped to the plate. Entering the game for the Mets was lefty reliever Josh Walker, who was about to deliver his first pitch, but instead made a gesture toward home plate in an attempt to catch the attention of Alvarez because, as he says, he didn't have a PitchCom device in his ear.
With that gesture, the game stopped, and the umpires ruled a balk occurred.
The umps called a balk to score the walkoff run in extras despite the Mets arguing that they were having pitch on issues pic.twitter.com/mJvCHmrIjp
— Talkin? Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) August 2, 2023
As you'll see in the clip above, Walker seems to gesture with his wrist, indicating that he's referencing something to do with time or, in the context of baseball, the pitch clock.
This wasn't the problem, though. As you can see, when Walker makes this gesture with his wrist, he also moves his back foot on the mound.
Why Did The Mets Get Hit With a Balk?
MLB.com defines a balk this way: "A balk occurs when a pitcher makes an illegal motion on the mound that the umpire deems to be deceitful to the runner(s). As a result, any men on base are awarded the next base, and the pitch (if it was thrown in the first place) is waved off for a dead ball."
So, because Walker picked up that back foot — albeit slightly — the umpires deemed it to be an illegal motion that was deceitful toward the runners. In this situation, we could've seen an attempt to steal home, and this movement could have instigated it.
"You get lost in the moment just thinking about the hitter and attacking him, and a mistake was made, plain and simple," Walker said.
Mets trade Verlander to Astros.
Astros throw a no-hitter.
Mets lose on walk-off balk to 2nd worst team in baseball.
ONLY THE METS!
— Jake Brown (@JakeBrownRadio) August 2, 2023
Manager Buck Showalter also had some thoughts on the incident.
"You always feel bad when games are not decided by the players," Showalter said. "But you could say that it was, because he balked. It's very technical. You have got to step off there."
Losing that way was magnified by the loss of several players to trades: Robertson, Scherzer, Justin Verlander, Tommy Pham and Dominic Leone. In addition, the Mets' starting pitcher, Jose Quintana, had some interest at the deadline but was ultimately not dealt. He went 6?..." innings, allowing three earned runs.
Following that horrible loss and their fire sale, the Mets will look to rebound Wednesday against the Royals at 8:10 p.m. ET, with Kodai Senga on the hill against Cole Ragans.
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