Wednesday, May 1, 2013
The series in Metrics (Mets at Marlins)
By Mark Simon
The Mets found a way to avoid a third embarrassing loss to the Marlins, salvaging the series finale by a run on Wednesday afternoon.
Jordany Valdespin’s pinch-hit home run was the 10th homer of his career and his sixth as a pinch-hitter. No other player entered Wednesday with more than three pinch-hit home runs since the start of last season.
Dillon Gee somehow got credited with the win, despite allowing four runs and 11 baserunners in five innings, with only one strikeout.
Mets starters have gotten two wins this season from starters with the five-inning, 11-baserunner, four-run, one-strikeout combo.
Those kinds of wins are unusual. Mets starters only had four of them from 1962 to 2012. Two of them also came in 1985- from Ron Darling and Rick Aguilera.
The Mets lost the first two games of this series in walk-off fashion on consecutive days, the first time they’ve done so in 10 years.
The last time they lost via walk-off on consecutive days was also to the Marlins in 2003. And just as happened this time, the 2003 Mets lost the second game by blowing a one-run lead in the ninth inning.
The Mets have now lost eight times via walk-off wild pitch, but three of those have come within the last four seasons, including one such game against the Marlins in 2010.
Rob Brantly got the game-tying hit for the Marlins in the 15th inning, the third-latest into a game that a player got a game-tying hit against the Mets. However in the previous two instances (Yadier Molina’s game-tying hit in the 19th inning in 2010 and Rick Camp’s home run in the 18th inning in 1985), the Mets went on to win the game.
The game-winning sacrifice fly by Nick Green was the first walk-off RBI against the Mets that late into a game since 2004 when Twins backup Mike Ryan got the game-winning hit in the 15th inning against the Mets.
The Elias Sports Bureau had the capper on all of this. It marked the fifth time in Mets history that they lost at least two games in a row by walk-off, with both games being ones in which they led in the ninth inning or later.
It happened previously in 1978 (July 28 and 30 against the Astros), 1982 (August 18-20 -- two games against the Reds, one against the Braves), 1983 (April 12-13 against the Phillies), and 1980 (June 9-10 against the Pirates).
Props to Hefner
Yes, Jeremy Hefner ended up taking the loss and yes it was the Marlins, but it’s worth pointing out a few things about his performance and his last two outings.
Hefner seems to be making a concerted effort to pitch to the lower half of the strike zone more often. His rate of pitches to the lower half or below increased from 56 percent (in his first four appearances) to 64 percent (in his last two starts). That may be why his homers allowed went from dipped from seven to none.
Hefner also had considerably better offspeed stuff in those two games, particularly against a Marlins team that struck out seven times against those pitches, the most offspeed strikeouts he’s had in any major-league appearance.