Jon Niese pitched reasonably well (5.1 IP, 6 K, 5 BB, 1 R). Seemingly everything -- fielders, home plate umpire, the sun -- was working against him. David Wright committed an error to start the game. Then home plate umpire Bruce Dreckman called a ball on what looked like strike three on a 3-2 pitch to Yunel Escobar, setting up 1st and 2nd with none out for the Braves. Niese made it through the 1st inning unscathed but Dreckman's wonky strike zone would be an ongoing issue throughout the game. I count twelve or thirteen pitches by Niese within the Brooks Baseball pitchf/x strike zone which Dreckman called a ball. This isn't the authoritative strike zone but even to the naked eye it appeared Niese was getting hosed. Also, Angel Pagan turned a routine Troy Glaus pop-up into a sun-aided double in the 3rd inning. It would have been the third out but instead Niese went on to throw 14 more pitches. Niese wasn't at his sharpest and didn't induce many swinging strikes, but with a competent umpire this could have been a 110 pitch, 7-inning performance.
Jason Bay (3-4, 1 RBI) hit a game-tying RBI double in the 6th and now has an extra base hit in back-to-back games. Jeff Francoeur crushed a double of his own in the 7th, driving in Ike Davis to give the Mets a 2-1 lead. Henry Blanco followed with a sacrifice fly and that was all the offense the Mets needed. Jose Reyes walked twice and is slowly but surely returning to form. His beautiful catch on a Brian McCann liner in the 8th helped put down a Braves rally. He also stole a base.
The Braves committed a massive baserunning blunder in the 5th inning, recapped nicely here. That's two brainfarts in as many days, to go along with five errors. If nothing else it serves as a reminder that the Mets aren't the only team that makes weird mistakes -- it happens to everyone.
Jenrry Mejia is inexplicably being given the Brian Stokes treatment. He has thrown exactly six pitches in one appearance since Tuesday. Meanwhile, Fernando Nieve has appeared in 12 of 18 games this season. And Jerry Manuel was spotted cashing a referral fee check from Dr. James Andrews. Seriously though, if Mejia has to be in the MLB bullpen, at least use him. Burying your top pitching prospect in the 'pen is among the worst personnel decisions an organization can make. On the plus side, Mets relievers tossed 3.2 scoreless innings. Manny Acosta exacted some revenge on his former team, striking out out three in 1.2 innings of work.
Ralph Kiner stopped by the booth and didn't disappoint. A couple great lines from Ralph:
- On Glaus's gift double: "That's Christmastime right there."
- On birthday boy Chipper Jones exiting the game with an injury: "Two strikeouts today and Chipper didn't want to play anymore."
The man is a treasure.
Triple for Frenchy
Brings home Likeable Ike; then
Jose preserves it
Big winners: Jason Bay +19.6%, Manny Acosta +17.8%
Big losers: David Wright -11.2%, Alex Cora -8.1%
Teh aw3s0mest play: Jeff Francoeur RBI double +23.7%
Teh sux0rest play: David Ross RBI single -15.1%
Total pitcher WPA: +39.0%
Total batter WPA: +11.0%
GWRBI!: Jeff Francoeur
Nice job by fxcarden; his effort in the game thread embiggens us all.
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