Monday, April 9, 2012

Game #4: Mets 4, Nationals 3

Daniel Murphy (28), with David Wright (5) and other teammates after driving in the winning run in the ninth with a single. (NYTimes.com)
In New York's previous 3 games, Daniel Murphy was removed in the 9th inning for a defensive replacement. Tonight he wasn't, and he made his presence known...but in a good way!

Murphy's diving play at second base got his team out of the 9th and his RBI single gave the Mets a 4-3 win over the Nationals.

The Good Stuff
  • There was never any doubt that Daniel Murphy had a bat. It was his glove that concerned the Mets going into 2012. But a crash course in second base over the offseason has paid big dividends 4 games into the young season. Murph's been error-free so far, and his diving stop and flip to second on a Ryan Zimmerman groundball in the top of the 9th got the force out and got his team out of a mini-jam.
  • In the bottom of the 9th, Mike Baxter led off with a walk and Ruben Tejada laid down a perfect 2-strike sac bunt to advance him to second. But Washington pitcher Henry Rodriguez was so impressed by Ruben's skill at the plate, he decided Baxter deserved an extra base, so his throw to first got way away and put men on second and third. Up came Big Murph, who slashed a 1-0 fastball into right field for the game-winning RBI single.
  • Daniel Murphy gets hit with a celebratory pie by Justin Turner after his game-winning hit Monday night. (NYDailyNews.com)
    • Murphy finished the day 2-5, bringing his 2012 numbers up to 7-18 with 3 doubles and 3 RBIs.
    • On a related note, as SNY's Kevin Burkhardt was interviewing Daniel after the game, Met fans finally had their most pressing question of the offseason answered. Quick as a fox, a streak of red hair came in to deliver a shaving cream pie to Murph's face. Yes, Justin Turner, Le Grand Orange Junior, is New York's new cream pie boy! I'm sure Daniel will appreciate this long after the stinging in his eyes stops, but right then, all he could do was grab Burkhardt's jacket and clean up his face.
  • In other non-Murph news: "Captain" Kirk Nieuwenhuis launched his first career home run, a 2-run blast in the bottom of the 4th that tied the game at 3-3. I'd be sweating if I were Andres Torres: it appears he may be on the way to being, as some people have referred to it as, "Wally Pipped."
  • David Wright also continued his blistering start, going 1-3 and driving in his 4th run in as many games.
  • On the pitching side, Mike Pelfrey made his season debut on the mound, and while he wasn't spectacular, by Pelfrey standards, he was pretty good: 5.2 innings, 10 hits, 3 runs, 1 walk, 8 Ks. Those aren't the numbers you want out of an ace, but this year Mike Pelfrey doesn't have to be an ace, just a reliable fourth starter. He was that tonight.
  • The Met bullpen continues to be stellar, turning in 3.1 innings of scoreless, hitless relief against the National bats. Miguel Batista got out of the 6th, and Ramon Ramirez got out of a jam in the 7th when Batista walked the first two batters. Jon Rauch then came in for 2 innings and picked up the W.
The Bad Stuff
  • Ike Davis's struggles at the plate continued: Ike went 0-4 and is still looking for his first hit of 2012.
  • The team's hitting with men on base wasn't as good as it could have been: 2-11 with RISP and 10 men stranded on base.
Final Analysis:
Who are these guys? Written off before the season even began, the Mets are 4-0 for the first time since 2007 and have the best record in the National League. How long will this winning streak last? Only the baseball gods know. But the New York Mets are winning, and they're winning the right way. Let's just enjoy the Amazin' ride.

MM

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