Chris Bassitt said he was sorry and the result was his finest and longest outing of the season.
The collapsing starting pitcher admitted he apologized and did a better job of working with and listening to catcher Tomas Nido in the days leading up to his eight innings of shutout in the Mets’ 4-0 win over the Brewers at Citi Field.
Bassitt had expressed frustration after going winless in his last five starts with a 7.62 ERA, and he explained why after conceding three hits and batting seven on 109 pitches before Drew Smith’s last three Outs recorded to complete the shutout.
“Relieved more than anything. I think with the extra time we had I was able to fully break down what was going on,” Bassitt said. “I didn’t make any adjustments to the pitch itself. It was all on me. I thought me and Nido weren’t on the same page at all.
“The more I fought it, the worse it got. So we spent the last week getting to know each other.”
Bassitt, a 2021 All-Star won from Oakland in the offseason, said Mark Canha — a teammate with both the A’s and the Mets — “saw me the most out of everyone here,” and him too said, “You’re just not pitching like yourself.”
Nido admitted the miscommunication, basically about pitch sequencing, “went both ways.” Anyway, Bassitt had a 2.34 ERA as of May 18, but that number increased by more than two full runs to 4.35 overall after his next five appearances.
“In spring it was basically me and [starting catcher James] McCann and when he went down [with a hand injury]I just thought we’re going to be on the same side in a couple of games [with the other catchers], but it just never happened,” Bassitt said. “I totally blame myself and have sincerely apologized to Nido and [catcher Patrick] Mazeika.
“I think that should have gone without saying, but I really regret not having done it a few weeks ago. I made a critical judgment error that lasted a couple of weeks.”
The past couple of weeks have also seen an intensification of the NL East race, but Bassitt’s jewel and two more RBIs from Pete Alonso kept the Mets’ cushion five games over the sizzling Braves, who picked up their 13th straight win Tuesday night in Washington .
The Mets (41-21) led by 10 ¹/₂ on June 1 before posting a 5-5 record in 10 games in western swing. Buck Showalter certainly wasn’t surprised that the Braves fixed their championship hangover after a 23-27 start.
“You’re all going to seek your level in a baseball season,” Showalter said. “Everyone knew they were too good for that [not] come there.”
The Phillies have also won 10-of-11 to climb back above .500 (32-30) after the firing of manager Joe Girardi this month. The Mets won’t see the up-and-coming Braves until July 11 and the Phils until August 12, but Showalter insisted the team just look at the board immediately ahead of him with six more games on that homestand against the Brewers and the marlin.
Bassitt seemed more focused than he had been in weeks and was particularly aggressive with his fastball in the early innings, allowing a hit while facing the at least 12 batters through four.
The Mets had jumped Milwaukee starter Adrian Houser for three runs in the opening frame, with run-scoring hits from Alonso and Jeff McNeil and a sacrificial fly from Eduardo Escobar.
After a heads-up play on bases in Starling Marte’s fifth to move up to second with Francisco Lindor’s flyball to the left, Alonso ripped another RBI single to center for his 12th RBI in nine games and his 59th. of the season and equaled Cleveland’s out Jose Ramirez for the major league lead.
Bassitt was also helped defensively by a couple of brilliant doubles to get through the sixth before the right-hander fanned out twos in each of the next two innings to maintain the four-run advantage through eight.
“We’ve seen the level he can reach and we’ve seen how frustrating it’s been for him lately,” Showalter said. “People like him, you just trust the moxie and want they have and they make the adjustments. … He was the difference tonight.”