Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Game #129: Mets 9, Phillies 5 (10)

In a 7-game homestand last week, the Mets scored 11 runs. Tonight, they almost equaled that in 10 innings.

Kelly Shoppach tied the game with a double in the 8th inning and his monster home run capped a 4-run 10th as the Mets won their third straight ballgame, defeating the Phillies 9-5.

The Good Stuff:
  • A 1st inning grand slam put New York in an early 4-1 hole, but Mike Baxter hit his first home run of the season in the 4th to score two, and David Wright's second RBI of the game (on a sac fly) tied the game in the 5th. After Chase Utley hit a quick home run in the bottom half of the inning, it appeared their comeback was all for naught. But with Wright on second and two out in the 8th, Kelly Shoppach took a full count fastball and lined a double to left to tie the game at 5.
  • After surviving a scary bottom of the 8th, the game went into extra innings. David Wright punched a 1-out single and Ike Davis, fresh off his 2-homer explosion on Sunday, hit a powerful double to center to put the Good Guys out in front to stay. Lucas Duda followed with his first big hit since being recalled, slashing an RBI single to make it 7-5. On the very next pitch, Shoppach put the nail in the coffin for BJ Rosenberg and Philly, launching a home run to left to give the game a Dolly Parton feel: 9-to-5.
    • Shoppach certainly provided more offense than the previous threesome of Thole/Nickeas/Johnson could in a month's time. With nights like tonight, don't be surprised if he ends up on the Opening Day roster in 2013. It'll be a good thing to have his bat and veteran presence in the dugout amongst what will still be a young team.
  • On a night when the Mets raked out 14 hits, these men stood out in the boxscore:
    • Ruben Tejada (2-5, 2B, 2 R)
    • David Wright (2-3, BB, 2 R, 2 RBI)
    • Lucas Duda (2-5, 2 R, RBI)
    • Kelly Shoppach (3-5, 2B, HR, 3 RBI)
  • Chris Young didn't make it out of the 5th inning, but a surprisingly effective New York bullpen bailed him out to the tune of 5 2/3 scoreless innings. Robert Carson, Ramon Ramirez, Josh Edgin, Jon Rauch, and Bobby Parnell gave up just 2 hits and a couple walks between them, with Parnell picking up the victory by pitching a scoreless 9th and 10th.
The Bad Stuff:
  • How about "Chris Young didn't make it out of the 5th inning"? Young was rocked by a Ryan Howard grand slam in the 1st inning, and Chase Utley lived up to his first name, knocking Young out after 4 1/3 with a solo home run of his own. Young was worked to 89 pitches and his ERA now stands at an ugly 4.64.
  • Andres Torres, hitting in the 8-hole, was the only Met starter excluding the pitcher to go hitless on the night, striking out twice in an 0-3 performance that knocked his batting average down to .228.
Final Analysis:

More than 4 runs in a game? It's about time! The team's first 3-game winning streak since the end of June tastes especially good coming against the beaten-down Philadelphia Phillies, who are certain to lose their NL East Division crown this year. The Mets won't take it from them, but with offensive showings like tonight and solid work from at least one end of pitching, there's a good chance the Amazin's can still finish in 3rd place. It's all about the context, and while it's not the one Met fans would've preferred, it still provides a chance to root for something over the final 33 games of 2012.


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