Final Score: Mets 5, Marlins 3
Player of the Game: Kelly Shoppach- 1-for-1, 2 RBI
Goat of the Game: eh, who cares?
Tonight’s game was all about the little things. It was a tight one. Jeremy Hefner was solid and Josh Johnson was dominant for the Marlins. The little things were going to determine this game. But we’ll get to that in a minute.
The Marlins started off the night with the first run of the game in the third, when Brian Peterson doubled home Donovan Solano for the first run of the game off Jeremy Hefner, giving the Fish a one-run lead. The ball was hit a long way and was just out of the reach of a diving Andres Torres. If they were playing in another ballpark, that could’ve been a home run. Then in the fifth, the Mets knotted the game up at one apiece when Josh Thole grounded out to shortstop, scoring Mike Baxter.
In the sixth, things got a little “fishy” (pun intended) on defense. The situation was this: men on first and second with one out and Giancarlo Stanton at the plate. Lee hits a very soft groundball towards Ike Davis who charges the ball and looks home, seeing that he has no chance to throw out the speedy Jose Reyes. He turns to first and flips the ball to Jeremy Hefner, who had slowed down thinking the ball was going home and couln’t make it to first in time. Everybody was safe. This was bad instincts by Hefner, who should’ve been sprinting to first base regardless of whether or not he thought Ike was going to throw the ball home. While the Mets may have the physical ability to make good plays and be a decent team defensively, but sometimes the insticts just aren’t there like they are with other teams. Luckily, Hefner got out of the inning. That play could’ve cost them big-time.
In the bottom of the eighth, with Manny Acosta on the mound, the Marlins scored again, this time on an RBI-single by Carlos Lee. The ball was a weak popup into shallow right-center field. Neither Andres Torres nor Mike Baxter could get to the ball, giving the Marlins a 3-1 advantage. As the SNY crew was pointing out, outfielders are positioned towards the gap in the Marlins’ new ballpark, protecting triples. However, that hurts them on plays like these, where they have to run in so far. If they were playing in another ballpark, Torres and Baxter would probably be playing farther in and one would be able to get to the ball.
In the ninth, the Mets went up against Steve Cishek, trying to win the game. Since taking over as closer for Miami, Cishek has been dominant, but he sure wasn’t tonight. He gave up a couple of hits, including an RBI-single by Lucas Duda to make it 3-2 Marlins. Two batters later, with runners on first and thierd, the Mets were on the ropes. Andres Torres was at the plate with two strikes. Cishek threw a good pitch — at the knees and catching a good portion of the plate. However, the umpire Jerry Meals called it a ball, giving the Mets a huge break. Torres remained patient and eventually drew a walk, loading the bases for Kelly Shoppach. Shoppach came through, lining a base-hit up the middle driving in two. Then, Justin Ruggiano misplayed the ball. It went past him, allowing Torres to score from first and giving the Mets a 5-3 lead.
The Mets would win this one by a final of 5-3. Tonight was about the little things. For a second, it looked like the Marlins were going to pull ahead when Jeremy Hefner couldn’t make it to first. Then in the ninth, the Mets capitalized on the opportunity they got when the umpire missed the third-strike call that would’ve put the Mets away. Torres didn’t try to do too much. He just got on base, leading the way for the new guy, Kelly Shoppach to get it done.
- Shoppach got here only a few weeks ago, but it seems like he already has more big hits than all Met catchers combined this season. Let’s hope they can re-sign him this winter.
- Frank Francisco recorded the save in the bottom of the ninth, his 23rd of the year. He has only blown three saves this year but his ERA is still an abysmal 5.79.
- Josh Thole got a hit! Yes, it actually happened. Thole snapped an 0-for-30 streak with a single in the top of the eighth.
- Hefner has actually been much better than people give him credit for. Sure, he isn’t an ace. He’s just a solid fourth or fifth starter. His numbers don’t look great because he has had two or three bad starts, but that’s just about it. Tonight he threw 61 of 92 pitches for strikes.