Saturday, April 28, 2012

Game #21: Mets 7, Rockies 5

Shortstop Ruben Tejada attempts to tag out former Met Marco Scutaro on the basepath. (
The pitching must've been delayed a day's flight. The offense was back in Denver tonight, and fortunately the bats wouldn't be expected to score 19 in this one.

Lucas Duda led a banner offensive day and Dillon Gee picked up a W on his 26th birthday as the Mets held on to beat the Rockies, 7-5.

The Good Stuff:
  • How's this for a birthday present? Dillon Gee became the first Met to win on his birthday since Dave Mlicki on June 8, 1995, tossing a career-high 116 pitches in 7 innings while allowing 4 runs (3 earned) on 7 hits, 2 walks, and 7 strikeouts. On paper, those numbers are only average-looking, but when you consider Gee the Goatee did that in the Rocky Mountain air of Coors Field, that's pretty darn good.
  • With the Colorado bats finally being kept at bay, all the New York offense needed to do was pick off where they left last night. Lucas Duda was quick to oblige, blasting a 2-run homer in the top of the 2nd that gave the Mets the lead (watch the replay of that blast and listen to the crack of the bat; the most beautiful sound you could possibly hear in a ballpark).
    • In the 5th, Big Dude was up again after David Wright's game-tying single one batter earlier, this time bouncing a groundball through the infield, driving in 2 more runs, and giving the Mets a lead they would not relinquish.
    • Duda finished the night with a tremendous line: 2-4, 1 HR, 4 RBIs, his most runs driven in since he first became Big Dude last June in Texas. He probably should have had 6 in the game, but was robbed of a 2-run single in the 3rd by a diving Dexter Fowler in center field.
  • Other notable New York offensive lines include:
    • Ruben Tejada, who went 3-5 with 2 runs. Tejada has now gone 7-9 in his past two games, skyrocketing his batting average up to .295.
    • Daniel Murphy, who went 3-5 with a run to bring his batting average above .300.
    • David Wright, who went 3-4 with a double, stolen base (!), 2 runs, and 2 RBIs. He's now hitting .385.
    • In total, the 2-5 hitters for the Mets tonight went 11-18 with 2 XBH, 6 runs, and 6 RBIs. I guess that'll do.
    • Mike Baxter picked up a pinch-hit double in the 9th, and after advancing to third on a Kirk Nieuwenhuis groundout, came home on a wild pitch from Edgmer Escalona. That run would become crucial in the bottom half of that inning (see below).
  • Also encouraging at the plate was Ike Davis, who went 1-3 with a walk. Even his two outs looked good: the first was a 400-foot flyout to Fowler in the 4th and a screaming line drive right to Marco Scutaro at second.
  • Tim Byrdak did a spectacular job after taking the ball from Gee in the 8th, retiring the heart of the Rockies' order on 9 pitches, including a strikeout of Todd Helton to get to the dugout.
  • Frank Francisco got 2 quick outs before getting into trouble, allowing a solo home run to Fowler and pinch-hit triple to Tyler Colvin. Up came pinch-hitting Jason Giambi (why yes, he's still playing), who Frank-Frank got to fly out deep to Captain Kirk to end the ballgame.
    • The seventh run in the 9th was key because it provided not just a cushion for Francisco, but piece of mind for Met fans everywhere. At Coors Field, a 2-run lead feels like just a 1-run lead, while a 3-run lead feels like a 2-runner. That additional run kept about 9% of the viewing population in New York from a coronary when Giambi came up to bat. And absence coronaries definitely equals Good Stuff.
The Bad Stuff:
  • Kirk Nieuwenhuis continues to struggle in his homecoming series, going 0-5 with 2 Ks, including a tough-luck hard groundout to boyhood hero Todd Helton in the 9th.
  • Scott Hairston earned a start against a right-handed bat after hitting for the cycle last night, but couldn't follow up against a nemesis arm, going 0-4 with 2 Ks.
  • Gee's only bad inning came when he allowed 3 runs in the 4th. But hey, everyone does that at Coors Field, so it's hard to fault him too much for that.
Final Analysis:
There's the bounceback for you. After getting throttled last night, the Mets were able to limit the self esteem-damager to one game, turning in what would probably be a typical Met 4-2 win (plus Coors inflation) with solid hitting and good pitching. Couldn't ask for much better than that.

New York will go for the series clincher tomorrow afternoon as Johan Santana goes up against the ageless wonder (or: freak of nature) Jamie Moyer. Ever seen a baseball need a walker to get to the plate? You may very well tomorrow. Tune in, it should be worth it.


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