Not-yet-burnt Rice Ks CarGo in key spot

June, 27, 2013
6/27/13
10:56
PM ET
DENVER -- Scott Rice has received more rest recently. In fact, he now is on pace for 91 appearances -- which would be one shy of Pedro Feliciano’s franchise record -- after being on track for triple digits only a few weeks ago.

A little extra oomph on his fastball from having four days without an appearance may have helped Rice in a critical matchup with Carlos Gonzalez in the bottom of the eighth inning Thursday, Terry Collins suggested.

With the Mets clinging to a 3-2 lead, Josh Rutledge on second base and two outs, Rice struck out the dangerous Gonzalez swinging to get the one-run lead to Bobby Parnell for the ninth.

“He’s their best hitter,” Rice said. “I’m not going to let him beat me. I’m going to try to attack him with my best stuff. In that situation, I’m not scared of a walk. I know he wants to swing. I know he wants to drive him in. So I’m going to throw aggressive pitches and throw them places where I don’t think he can put too much damage on the ball.”

Said Collins with a faint laugh: “You saw a little zip on his fastball today that he hasn’t had in a while because we were killing him.”

Rice, a 31-year-old rookie, insists he does not mind the workload. He now has 42 appearances this season. He made only 54 appearances all of last season with Triple-A Albuquerque in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization.

“It’s always nice to have a few days off and recharge your batteries, but I want to come every day and help the team,” Rice said. “And if I can help them every day of the season, then I’ll do that.”

Rice’s eighth-inning work Thursday actually began with a single by pinch hitter DJ LeMahieu. Rice’s pickoff move then resulted in catching LeMahieu breaking for second.

“I kind of had a hunch,” Rice said. “It’s funny, as a lefty you can usually look into a [runner’s] eyes. And a lot of times their eyes will tell you. They have a little more focus when they’re about to steal. I don’t know what it was, but something about his expression told me he might go on that pitch, so I had an inkling.”
Adam Rubin has covered the Mets since 2003. He's a graduate of Mepham High School on Long Island and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He joined ESPNNewYork after spending 10 years at the New York Daily News.
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