Thursday, June 30, 2011

Game #81: Tigers 5, Mets 2

Daniel Murphy connects on his solo home run in the second inning. (Paul Sancya/AP)
Baseball is a pitcher's game, and when a buzzsaw offense meets a buzzsaw pitcher, the man on the mound usually wins out. Advantage: Detroit.

Mike Pelfrey struggled early, and Justin Verlander kept the red-hot Mets offense in check for 7 innings, giving the Tigers a 5-2 win and denying New York a sweep.

The Bad Stuff:
  • Mike Pelfrey got out of a bases-loaded jam in the 1st, but wasn't so lucky in the 3rd. With the score tied 1-1, Alex Avila plated one run on a sac fly, and Ramon Santiago singled home two more, digging the Mets in a 3-run hole they couldn't get out of. Pelf gave up one more run, a solo bomb to Andy Dirks, in the 5th, and was taken out after 109 pitches in 4 2/3 (credit that to a career-high 5 walks).
  • The best pitcher in the American League lived up to his title: Verlander gave up just a solo home run and scattered 7 hits over 7 innings, walking 2 and striking out 6.
  • New York had its chances, however. A leadoff double by (who else) Jose Reyes started the game with a bang, but Jason Pridie lined out and Reyes was doubled off, and like a flash the brief threat was just that: brief. Reyes walked his next time up in the 3rd, but was caught stealing for only the 6th time all season.
  • The Mets' next-best chance came in the 7th when Lucas Duda hit his first triple of the year. Josh Thole flew out to left and Big Dude was sent home, but Brennan Boesch's throw home was right on the money, nailing Duda at the plate. Right decision, but it just didn't work out.
  • In the 9th, Jose Valverde came on and notched his 19th save in 19 chances.
The Good Stuff:
  • Daniel Murphy and Carlos Beltran put the only Met runs on the board with solo home runs, Murph's in the 2nd off Verlander and Beltran's with 2 out in the 8th.
  • The bullpen managed to keep Detroit at 5 runs for the game, with Tim Byrdak, DJ Carrasco, Manny Acosta, and Fransisco Rodriguez combining for 3 1/3 scoreless innings in relief.
Final Analysis:
So we lost to Justin Verlander. No biggie. We still won the series and made the Tigers look awfully silly in the process.

With the conclusion of this, the 81st game, we've reached the midpoint of the 2011 season. With half the games played, the Mets are a winning ballclub at 41-40. If you had told me at the beginning of the season New York would be 41-40 after 81 games, I would've taken it. If you had told me New York would be 41-40 without David Wright and Ike Davis after a 5-13 start, I would have been really excited. So I'm really excited. And I'll be more excited if we restart this offensive steamroller, ride it back home, and run the Yankees over with it.


P.S. Our condolences go out to Willie Harris and his wife, Trey, for their loss.

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