Monday, May 20, 2013

Game #42: Reds 4, Mets 3

Byrd is the Word, but Bruce is the Boss.

Jay Bruce's solo home run reestablished the Reds' lead in the 6th, and the Mets couldn't fight back again, falling 4-3 in the series opener.

The Bad Stuff:
  • The Redlegs got three runs in the top of the 1st off Shaun Marcum, as Brandon Phillips drove in two on a single and was driven in himself by Jay Bruce's double one batter later.
    • Another low-light for Ike Davis came in that inning on what would become Joey Votto's "ground-rule double" - as Votto's base hit popped over the bag, a lackadaisical Ike got in the way of Votto's path, prompting an interference error charged to a man who only seems to make errors (at the plate, in the field, in his head). Not surprisingly, Davis went 0-3 with a couple more strikeouts.

  • Marcum's next and final mistake came on the first pitch of the 6th inning as Bruce continued his own hot streak by blasting a changeup into the right field stands, providing the difference for the visitors.
  • The Mets couldn't figure out the Cincy bullpen, and Cuban Missile Aroldis Chapman sat them down 1-2-3 in the 9th, striking out John Buck and Justin Turner and never seeing his fastball dip below 97 mph.
  • Daniel Murphy went 0-4 in his second straight game batting leadoff.
The Good Stuff:
  • After a rough 1st, Marcum was relatively solid, lasting six innings and allowing the four runs on six hits, walking no one after the first batter and striking out seven.
  • Rick Ankiel singled to lead off the 3rd, then after a David Wright walk and Lucas Duda strikeout, Marlon Byrd socked a line drive over the former Great Wall of Flushing for a game-tying three-run homer.
  • New York forced out Cincinnati ace Johnny Cueto after just five innings.
Final Analysis:
Overall, not a bad ballgame for the team on the losing end. One-run losses sting, but at least they are devoid of the disheartening thud that comes with a blowout. Shaun Marcum took another step forward tonight, while Ike Davis took two more steps back. The only thing that saved him from demotion last year was his fielding skills; now even those are failing him. I really hate to turn on the guy, but he's got to go.

Rick Ankiel has been surprisingly steady since his acquisition; sure, he strikes out a lot, but he's been better than most other outfielders at the plate, and his defense is stellar. Doesn't that seem to be the theme with Mets center fielders? Flashy glove, holes in the bat (see Matt den Dekker, Juan Lagares). At this point I wouldn't care if we got a guy with clay for hands, just as long as he exposed the clay hands of half the outfield fans every other day. I'm all about small ball and doubles, but is it too much to ask for just one quality power bat?


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