Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Game #19: Mets 7, Dodgers 3 (10)

On a night when Matt Harvey proved to be mortal, it was another New York young gun that got his own shot at a little immortality.

Jordany Valdespin's walk-off grand slam capped a thrilling comeback for the Mets, who battled back to beat the Dodgers 7-3.

The Good Stuff:
  • It all started with a Carl Crawford play (or lack thereof) in the 9th. Down 3-2, Mike Baxter led off with a line drive to left that Crawford bobbled in a similar manner to his drop at the end of the 2011 Red Sox collapse. Baxter was on with a double and was bunted over to third by Ruben Tejada. After Daniel Murphy was the victim of a spectacular foul catch by Jerry Hairston, Jr. at third, David Wright sent a rope into right center on the first pitch he saw from L.A. closer Brandon League. Wright was caught stealing second to end the inning, but the Mets had new life going into extras.

  • After Bobby Parnell got through the top of the 10th, John Buck led off the bottom with slump-busting single to center. After Josh Wall walked Ike Davis on four pitches, Marlon Byrd bunted both runners into scoring position. As Lucas Duda was walked intentionally, Dodgers' manager Don Mattingly caused an extended delay when he sent out a rare five-man infield (center field moves in right behind second base, left and right fielders become left-center and right-center). With Jordany Valdespin coming up, SNY's Keith Hernandez fretted over how to score this infield. He wouldn't need to: 'Spin took a 2-1 fastball and sent a bomb to right field. The only question was whether New York would win by one run or four, but as it landed in the netting over the former Mo-Zone, Jordany had the Mets' first walk-off grand slam since Kevin McReynolds did it on June 25, 1991 (Robin Ventura, of course, never made it to second).
    • As Kevin Burkhardt interview the triumphant #1, it was not Justin Turner but rally-starter John Buck who came out to give him the pie-in-the-face. Maybe "give" is too gentle a word, because Buck could have broke Jordany's nose with the force he put behind that pie. It was so hard and so fast that a majority of the whipped cream missed Valdespin. Buck has done it all for the Mets in April, but some practice work with JT might help the next time a pie must be delivered.
  • As for the rest of the game, Matt Harvey got the scoring going for his team in the bottom of the 5th, leading off with a wallbanging double off Ted Lilly. Tejada's ensuing groundball skipped just over first base, plating Harvey and knotting the game at one run apiece.
  • Justin Turner's pinch-hit sac fly brought the Mets within one, 3-2, in the bottom of the 6th.
  • LaTroy Hawkins, Scott Rice, Scott Atchison, and Bobby Parnell combined for four hitless innings in relief of Harvey.
 The Bad Stuff:
  • Matt Harvey still walked away from this game with a quality start, but compared to the superhuman run he had during his first four starts, this one qualifies as Bad Stuff. Harvey was tagged for three runs on four hits in six innings, walking one and striking out seven on 90 pitches. After giving up his first 1st-inning run and hits, he settled down until the 6th, when he walked Adrian Gonzalez with two outs. Matt Kemp then snuck his first home run of the season barely over the right field corner wall to make it 3-1.
  • In his first major-league start (his first hit was last night), center fielder Juan Lagares went 0-2 with a walk, the only New York starter without at least one of the team's 11 hits.
Final Analysis:
Even with Matt Harvey, they can't all be record-smashing starts. But he still pitched very well in his first "tough" outing, and his teammates were able to bail him out at the last minute.

Terry Collins has talked about Jordany Valdespin in more of a bench role than as a starter. Um...get that man some starts!! Valdespin is one of the most exciting players on the team, the sparkplug that fills the gap Jose Reyes left. If this really is a lost season, why not give this young man the chance to see what he can do leading off and playing center field? Aside from David Wright, Valdespin has the best potential of anyone on this team to produce Amazin' moments. Tonight was an Amazin' moment, and I hope we see more from the 'Spin as the games roll by.


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