Despite ultimately allowing four runs in seven-plus innings of work, Tim Redding got things back on track a bit tonight in only allowing one walk and six total baserunners while fanning four. He pounded the strike zone in the early innings but struggled as the game wore on, allowing a two-run homerun to Ryan Ludwick in the sixth and a solo shot to Brendan Ryan before departing with none out in the eighth and a slim 5-4 lead.
John Switzer relieved Redding and struck out Skip Schumaker before a Tyler Greene single drove Jerry Manuel from the dugout again, this time for Brian Stokes. Stokes, as surprised as anyone by the call, hurriedly put his uniform on and dashed out from the bullpen to coax a double-play grounder out of mediocre ballplayer Albert Pujols to end the top of the eighth.
The Mets managed to plate a rare tack-on run in their half of the eighth and Francisco Rodriguez made short work of the Cardinals in the ninth for his nineteenth "save" of the year. Despite the rudiments of a decent start tonight I'm still plenty concerned about the long-term viability of Redding in this rotation, but the Mets happen to be long on games remaining and short on better options right now, so Redding will be given every opportunity to sink or swim. He was adequate against a mostly-mediocre St. Louis lineup -- Pujols was the only starter with an on-base percentage north of .350 -- but you can't control who you pitch against, and Redding gets $10 Joe Morgan bucks for "Keeping His Team In The Game"™ and "Pitching To The Score"™.
Omir Santos had an Omir Santos-like night, seeing just eight pitches while going 4-for-4. His .321 on-base percentage is still terrible even by catcher standards, but his .471 slugging percentage is good for third-best in the National League behind Chris Iannetta (who plays in Colorado and has wicked home/road splits) and Brian McCann (who is awesome). I rag on Santos all the time, and I'll likely continue to do so because I think time will expose his many flaws and because he's emblematic of Omar Minaya's crippling short-sighted vision for this franchise, but his .792 OPS is fourth among NL catchers, so right now it's hard to argue with the results.
Big winners: Luis Castillo, +18.5% WPA, Omir Santos, +13.0% WPA
Big losers: Jeremy Reed, -8.2% WPA, Fernando Tatis, -6.8% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Pujols GIDP to end eighth (Socks!), +12.9% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Ludwick two-run homerun in sixth, -16.0% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: +21.8% WPA
Total batter WPA: +28.2% WPA
GWRBI!: Alex Cora
Nice job by meigs1414; his effort in the game thread embiggens us all.
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