|New York Mets shortstop Jose Reyes hit two home runs during Tuesday night's game against the Cincinnati Reds. (NYTimes.com)|
Once one strike away from victory, the Mets blew it in the 9th and couldn't get a run across in extras, falling to the Reds 5-4 in the 13th.
The Bad Stuff:
- Manny Acosta was one strike away from getting the win when he allowed a single to put 2 men on with 2 out in the 9th. Terry Collins brought Bobby Parnell in to face Juan Francisco. Parnell's struggles in the 9th continued, as he promptly allowed a game-tying double. It's a good thing Sandy Alderson has said next year's closer isn't in the organization, cause we sure don't have one now.
- In the bottom of the 9th, Jose Reyes got on with a single (his 3rd hit of the night; more on that later) and went to second on an error. Then he stole third to put the winning run 90 feet from the plate. After Ruben Tejada drew a clutch walk, Willie Harris was due up. Collins had the option of pinch-hitting with Ronny Paulino to face the lefty Aroldis Chapman, but instead elected to keep Harris (already 0-4 on the night) in the game. He lined out to left field, ending the inning and keeping Jose from scoring.
- Not much happened until the 13th, when the same Francisco hit a 1-out triple. Drew Stubbs dropped down the perfect squeeze bunt to give Cincy the go-ahead run. In New York's half of the 13th, Nick Evans led off with a walk against Francisco Cordero. Evans, not known for his speed, was caught stealing. Cordero then walked the next three batters to load the bases (had Evans stayed put, he would've scored), bringing Justin Turner to the plate. Turner got good wood on it, but slammed it right into the glove of a waiting Todd Frazier, who stepped on second to end the game in a heartbeat.
- You have to question the decision to send the sluggish Evans down a run in the 13th. When you saw who was standing in the box as first base coach, though, you'd understand why he went: Wally Backman was filling in for Mookie Wilson, who was away due to a death in his family. Wallyball was alive in that 13th inning. And even if it worked, I'm not sure how I'd like 162 games worth of that. Terry may have made his mistakes tonight, but I still feel much better with him as manager. Apparently the front office agrees: they exercised his option for 2013 this afternoon.
- There was a playoff-like atmosphere at Citi Field every time #7 stepped up tonight, and he did not disappoint. Jose Reyes blasted a game-tying solo home run in the 3rd inning. For an encore, he did the same thing in the 5th (his 7th of the year), earning himself a certain call. After that third hit in the 9th, Jose finished the night 3-6. His batting average now stands at .335821. After a 1-2 night in Milwaukee, Ryan Braun sits second at .334526. There's one game to go. Says Jose about what's at stake tomorrow, "I don't even know if I'm going to sleep tonight." Rest up, Jose. We could be seeing history tomorrow.
- Chris Capuano should have gotten his 12th win of the year, pitching 6 decent innings of 3-run, 5-hit ball, giving up his runs only on the longball. Instead, he'll finish 11-12 in 2011.
Man, this would have been a good one to win. The last night game of the year, a W would have been the perfect ending to this latest Jose Reyes Show. Unfortunately, the bane of the Met lineup for so long, the bullpen, managed to keep Win #77 from coming for the third straight day.
Unbelievably, tomorrow is the Grand Finale of the 2011 season. New York will send out Miguel Batista, looking to end this roller coaster of a year on a high note. Now, the Mets play a day game and the Brewers don't play until the evening, so we won't officially know until around 11:00 tomorrow night who wins the NL batting title. But if Jose Reyes can get another 2 or 3 hits tomorrow afternoon, we'll have a good idea whose head that crown will fit on when the clock strikes midnight.
P.S. Great news for Gary Carter: soon after doctors discovered new spots of his brain cancer, they were able to determine they were benign. He's also due to complete his second high-dosage round of chemotherapy. Wonderful news, Gary. Get well as soon as you can!