Game 154: Win Over Marlins
Mets 6 Marlins 5
If this were 1960, the season would be over — and the Mets would have finished on a high note.
Instead, we have eight more games to muddle through, and can only hope our favorite team can keep the excitement quotient at this level.
Through the first four frames, it looked like the Mets might cruise to a victory. Tim Redding was throwing shutout ball and a three-run homer by Jeff Francoeur in the second gave the Mets a comfy three-run lead.
Then came the fifth, when Redding surrendered a three-run dinger himself — to the NL’s leading hitter Hanley Ramirez.
Redding remained on the mound as the bottom of the seventh began, but didn’t last long thereafter. He walked the leadoff man and was immediately replaced by Perpetual Pedro Feliciano, who got a quick popup but then threw a wild pitch to send the runner to second base. He struck out Nick Johnson, but then intentionally walked Ramirez and yielded to setup man / ROOGY / this year’s Heilman Sean Green. Green promptly allowed a double to Jorge Cantu that put the Fish up by two.
However, the Mets answered with a run in the eighth — scored on a strike three wild pitch to David Wright. Bobby Parnell held the fort in the bottom of the frame, and the Mets went ahead in the top of the ninth, thanks to a pinch-hit, two-run single by Cory Sullivan.
Frankie Fantastik pitched a scoreless ninth to earn his 34th save.
I know Hanley Ramirez is the top hitter in the NL, and had already hit a homerun, but I’ll never, ever, ever understand the “strategy” of intentionally placing a runner on base in a tie ballgame. (In fact, I find very few situations that warrant an intentional walk.) For every time Ramirez hits safely, he’s going to fail at least twice. Further, he was 5 for his last 20 coming into the game. The argument that “you don’t let the big bat beat you” has never and will never make sense to me. How is it better to let the “lesser” bat beat you, after you’ve handed over a free base? The mamby-pamby approach of walking hitters intentionally and creating “favorable matchups” is one of the reasons pitching gets worse every year — pitchers are taught that they can’t get certain hitters out and are not given the chance to learn how to do so. Managers whine and moan that they can’t find any “crossover” pitchers who can get lefties AND righties out, yet they perpetuate their problem every game. A never-ending, vicious cycle that’s about as effective as a dog chasing its own tail.
Here’s a thought: intentional walks are like compound interest — they mysteriously pay immense dividends over the long haul.
But hey, the Mets won this one, so let’s accentuate the positive. Jeff Francoeur, Daniel Murphy, and Angel Pagan all had 2-for-4 days. Bobby Parnell earned his first win out of the bullpen since the summer solstice (actually, a month before then). Tim Redding had another decent outing to raise the bidding for his services in the offseason. Both Jeremy Reed and Cory Sullivan came through as pinch-hitters in the ninth — proving that a) they are NOT the same person and b) they’ll help someone off the bench in 2010.
David Wright has 4 hits in his last 22 at-bats and has seen his batting average plummet 20 points in 22 days.
Next Mets Game
The Mets and Marlins do it again at 7:10 PM on Saturday night. John Maine goes to the mound against Sean West.