There might have been a moment in the top of the sixth that summed this game up well. After Lucas Duda struck out and Josh Thole grounded out, Ruben Tejada walked. Then R.A. Dickey hit a "single" which was really a ground-out to Miguel Tejada gone wrong. Really wrong. Tejada fell down and then crawled around on his hands and knees trying to get to the ball. He didn't look young, and it didn't look pretty. The next play had Angel Pagan grounding out to second, and R.A. Dickey taking a face-first digger on the way to second.
Yeah, it wasn't pretty, on both sides of the ball.
R.A. Dickey wasn't at hist best in the early going. A few 80+ MPH knucklers almost found the backstop meaning they were weren't typical in speed or specificity. Josh Thole lost two of them even. It's a tough pitch, but Thole has some room to grow defensively. A few high knucklers were tagged - Eli Whiteside got one in particular in the third inning. But the mantra of "If it's high, let it fly" didn't work for Andres Torres, who swung at a couple knucklers that looked high before they dropped off the table, into the strike zone, and under his bat. His rigid swing was not suited for the knuckler, even if he did manage a hit.
Ryan Vogelsong will get some backing for having a VogelStrong game, but five walks against two strikeouts means the song might not remain the same going forward. He nibbled around the edges of the plate, low and outside and high, and the Mets, for the most part, couldn't string their hits together to make him pay. Wouldn't call that a masterpiece either.
Some rumbling about the strike zone was perhaps in order, but a closer look at the plot says it was consistent ugliness from the umpire, which means the onus is on the players to adjust. The low and outside ball to lefties was a strike all night. Perhaps they did adjust by swinging more often, but since Vogelsong was off the plate, the contact was often week. The Giants' starter coaxed 16 ground balls to five fly balls. Okay, maybe he had a tiny bit of help.
The defense saw better days for both teams. Jason Bay dropped a catchable ball at the wall in the fourth inning and that turned into the first run of the game once Nate Schierholtz sacrifice flied Pablo Sandoval home.In the fifth, Angel Pagan dropped a pop-up after some poor communication with Justin Turner. Hometown scoring turned it into a double, but Pagan recovered and made a great play on the next ball. Lucas Duda fell down and crawled his way to first to get an out to end the inning. Andres Torres dropped a ball in centerfield in the ninth. And bobbled a ball later. And somehow Daniel Murphy ended up with the only error of the game for the Mets.
When the Mets homered, the Giants homered. Angel Pagan livened things up with a big home run that scored Ruben Tejada in the fifth. Nate Schierholtz splash-landed in the sixth. If Pagan's home run was pretty, Schierholtz's took some of the shine off. The game remained tied.
And then, after meandering our way through eight innings of a tie ball game with all the makings of extra innings, Scott Hairston proved the beard was just weird and took Brian Wilson deep to left field. So smooth. After Torres dropped Angel Pagan's deep fly ball, and Justin Turner failed to get the bunt down, Brian Wilson was removed from the game. Pagan stole third and scored on a selfish single by Carlos Beltran, but Daniel Murphy kept the hit parade going with a single off of Jeremy Affeldt. In came Ramon Ramirez. Nick Evans didn't care, plating a run with his first hit of the year.
Francisco Rodriguez stopped the ebb and flow of this game. Of course it took two nice defensive plays by Ruben Tejada and Nick Evans to make it happen. Someone had to put an end to the chicanery. 34 games finished.
Unintentionally sexual quote of the game: "They can really give it to ya in San Francisco." -- Wayne Hagin, Re: the visiting bullpen's location.
Big winners: Scott Hairston, +35.5% WPA, Angel Pagan, +24.9% WPA, Pedro Beato +10% WPA, Carlos Beltran +9.7% WPA, R.A. Dickey, +6.4% WPA
Big losers: Brian Wilson, -37% WPA, Justin Turner - 10.5% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Scott Hairstron homered, +35.5% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Nate Schierholtz homered, +20.9% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: 19.4%
Total batter WPA: 30.6%
GWRBI!: Scott Hairston
Nice job by blueandorange4life; his effort in the game thread embiggens us all.
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