Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Game #85: Mets 5, Dodgers 2

Angel Pagan doubles during each of the Mets' rallies on Monday night in Los Angeles, as New York scores three runs in the sixth and two in the eighth to steal a win. (NYDailyNews.com)
On Independence Day, the Mets made some fireworks of their own when the sun went down over Chavez Ravine.

After being no-hit for the first 5 innings, the bats finally woke up in the 6th and 8th, and New York rode four two-out, run-scoring hits all the way to the bank, overcoming the Dodgers for the 5-2 win.

The Good Stuff:
  • Chris Capuano got into his fair share of jams, but settled down when it mattered most, limiting the LA offense to 2 runs on 6 hits over his 6 innings, enough for the win. He walked 2 and struck out 5 on 87 pitches.
  • After barely making a peep for 5 innings, New York got it going against Rubby De La Rosa in the 6th: with one out, Angel Pagan's double down the first base line brought home Ruben Tejada and put the Mets on the board. Then after a Justin Turner groundout, Carlos Beltran showed why he was selected to his 5th All-Star Game as a Met, slicing a double into right field to score Pagan. Daniel Murphy thought that was so great, he decided to hit a double of his own, scoring Beltran and giving the Mets a lead they would not relinquish.
  • The clutch hitting would continue in the 8th: on the first delivery after a pitching change, Jason Bay launched a single into center to score Pagan. Lucas Duda then laced a single into left to score Beltran and make it a 5-2 ballgame. For those of you keeping track at home, that was 4/5 of New York's RBIs that came with two outs; the Mets lead the NL in that particular category.
  • With his blazing fastball never dipping below 96 mph and a slider ranging from 88-90, Bobby Parnell was able to utterly decimate what was left of the Dodger offense, pitching 2 perfect innings in relief of Capuano and fanning a pair, the second coming on a fastball that crossed the plate at 101.
  • Fransisco Rodriguez finished the job in the 9th for his 21st save of the season.
    • According to MetsBlog, the team is shopping K-Rod around to other teams, such as the Yankees or Rays. I have to support this. K-Rod was never the shutdown closer he had been in Anaheim, and that $17.5 million option he could get next year would cripple an already tight payroll. If K-Rod is dealt before the deadline, it would leave the closer role in question. I can see Bobby Parnell as the blistering closer of the future, maybe even this year if he progresses enough, but if he doesn't, setup man Jason Isringhausen could step into the closer shoes, shoes which he filled nicely for 8 years in Oakland and St. Louis (he even lead the league in '04 with 47 on a pennant-winning Cardinal team). Add that in with the other money coming off the payroll (Beltran, Ollie, Castillo), and that's $54 million extra money for the Mets next year. Surely a good slice of that will be enough to keep Jose Reyes in town.
The Bad Stuff:
  • Justin Turner continues to struggle, going 0-3 with a strikeout. His free-falling batting average now rests at a very ordinary .266.
  • The offense did get no hit for more than half the game by Rubby De La Rosa. For a franchise that still hasn't picked up its first no-no (7891 games and counting), getting no-hit by a guy named "Rubby" would have been the ultimate embarrassment.
Final Analysis:
The New York Mets may be a dysfunctional franchise, but compared to the guys we just beat, our situation is a freakin' picnic. Just this year alone, the Los Angeles Dodgers have dealt with the divorce between their owners, a PR nightmare in Giants fan Bryan Stow's beating, a near-seizure by Major League Baseball, the uncertainty of making payroll, and now the bankruptcy of Frank McCourt and an almost imminent takeover by Selig and his men. And oh, by the way, they're now in last place in the NL West. The Mets may have their dysfunction (not to mention all the injuries), but they have not let those distractions get in the way of their performance on the field. Which is why Midwestern Met's heading this week will read "An Outsider's Opinion on the *Second* Most Dysfunctional Franchise in Baseball (...At Least We're Not the Dodgers!)." And to those Dodger fans who happened to stumble upon this page...sorry, bro.

The Mets' win puts them back over the .500 mark, even with Jose Reyes day-to-day. The good news is he was taking groundballs and playing catch at Dodger Stadium today. New York is still uncertain of if/when he'll be back this week, but they need not rush him. With three more games against the Dodgers this week, he can take his sweet time.


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