Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Game #67: Mets 4, Braves 3

Jose Reyes steals second and goes 3 for 5 with an RBI in the Mets' 4-3 win in Atlanta. (NYDailyNews.com)
Atlanta's Turner Field has historically been a house of horrors for the New York Mets, and tonight was almost no different. The key word? Almost.

Jon Niese continued his hot streak and Jose Reyes turned in another multi-hit game, giving the Mets a 4-3 series-opening win over the Braves.

The Good Stuff:
  • The starting rotation continues to be red-hot. On the hill tonight? Jon Niese, who went 6 1/3 and allowed 2 runs on 5 hits, walking no one and striking out 4. With tonight's W, Niese is 5-1 in his last 7 starts.
  • Jon got into a jam in the 7th, letting home a run on a David Ross one-out double. Niese was yanked in favor of Pedro Beato, who promptly walked Joe Mather on 4 pitches. With the dangerous Brian McCann up, Terry Collins went with lefty specialist Tim Byrdak. Icewater running through the vains, Byrdak struck out both McCann and Diory Hernandez to end the threat. Byrdak will leave the team for a game tomorrow to attend a family funeral; our thoughts are with him, but with that on the back of his mind, it makes tonight's clutch pitching even more impressive.
  • Dan Uggla blasted a Jason Isringhausen pitch in the 8th to bring the Atlanta deficit to one, but Fransisco Rodriguez took care of the Braves 1-2-3 in the 9th, striking out the first two, to earn his 19th consecutive save. While he's struggled in non-save situations, K-Rod has been absolutely lights out when the S was on the line. He may allow a baserunner occasionally (or more than occasionally), but it has to help knowing your closer is as close to a sure thing as you can get.
  • Jose Reyes continues to perform like a tremendous machine. His line tonight: 3-5, 2 runs, 2 stolen bases, and the RBI that turned out to be the difference. Fans outside of Flushing have finally taken notice of Jose's stellar year: once third in the All Star voting, he's leapfrogged Jimmy Rollins for 2nd place amongst NL shortstops. He still trails Troy Tulowitzki by about 600,000, but it looks like the league's top hitter will indeed be an All Star.
  • Carlos Beltran had a good day at the plate as well, going 2-4 with an RBI. Also making a splash was Willie Harris, who made the most of a rare start by getting on base three times (1 hit, 2 walks) and scoring once. Angel Pagan and Lucas Duda each picked up RBIs in the 3rd on a single and a sac fly, respectively.
The Bad Stuff:
  • While it's great to see K-Rod overwhelm the three Braves he faced, it would have been nice to give him a bigger lead to work with. The Mets' pesky RISP problem emerged again, this time with the team going a mere 3-14. New York stranded 13 runners on the island-like bases. 13 runners. Just one more and you could have had Gilligan's Island plus evil twins for each castaway. Those poor people...
Final Analysis:
We should face Jair Jurrjens more often. Twice in the past week and a half, New York beat Atlanta's Cy Young contender. And once again, Jose Reyes was the difference. I'm not sure how to calculate Wins Above Replacement (not a math major), but I'm guessing he's pretty high in that category.

With the win, the Mets improve their record on this road trip to 5-3, and once again jump to once game from the .500 threshold. We'll do this dance again tomorrow, and if history serves correctly, the Mets will win. Dillon Gee is on the mound. New York has yet to lose with Dillon Gee on the mound. Catch my drift? I thought so.


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