Tonight was Dave Duncan's grand vision come to life, and one of the most dominant pitching performances of 2009. Joel Pineiro struck out just one Met -- David Wright, to no one's surprise -- but he added 22 groundball outs to just three flyball outs. Met after Met pounded the ball into the ground, while Cardinal infielders sat back and gobbled them up. Pineiro needed 100 pitches and just two batters over the minimum to silence the Mets'
potent unimaginably anemic offense. He also improved upon his league-leading groundball rate of 2.52 and maintained his NL-best homerun rate (3.0% before Tuesday's action). He's only 30 years old and will be a free agent after this season, so if he keeps this up he'll be looking at a nice chunk of change on the open market.
This isn't the first time Pineiro has frustrated the Mets. Back on September 27, 2007, the Mets held a one-game lead over the Phillies with four games to play. They had just been swept at home by the Nationals and, instead of a well-deserved off day, had to play a make-up game with the Cardinals at Shea Stadium. Pedro Martinez started for the Mets and pitched seven strong innings, striking out eight while walking one and allowing three runs -- two earned.
It wasn't enough, though, as Pineiro held the Mets to just three hits and a walk over eight innings, striking out six and coaxing 15 groundball outs along the way. The Mets lost the game 3-0, then lost two of their final three games against the Marlins to fall short of the NL East crown.
As for tonight's game, I wish there were more to talk about but the Mets did literally nothing of any consequence. Elmer Dessens tossed two perfect innings of relief, so there's that. By request, I've added a link to a traditional game recap in the "SB Nation Coverage" section below, so if you want a blow-by-blow account of the game instead of whatever it is I do here, you can check that out by clicking below.
Big winners: Jeremy Reed, +2.9% WPA, Elmer Dessens, +2.6% WPA
Big losers: Alex Cora, -11.2% WPA, Fernando Tatis, -10.0% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Ludwick bases-loaded strikeout to end third, +7.1% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Schumaker FC+Err in third, -16.1% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: +4.1% WPA
Total batter WPA: -55.1% WPA
Nice job by Catsmeat Potter-Pirbright; his effort in the game thread embiggens us all.
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