Lucas Duda has power.
Lucas Duda has so much power he could run a small town with his bat, for a century. Lucas Duda's power is being investigated for possible practical applications in order to stop our country's dependence on oil. If Lucas Duda's bat hit Lucas Duda's bat in mid-swing, the collision could rip a hole in the space-time continuum. Lucas Duda's power was going to be the main source for the Large Hadron Collider but they were worried it might cause a black hole if they hooked it up to his bat. Lucas Duda was the ferocity behind the Ramones. Lucas Duda has power.
His second-inning home run left a park that has a 59 park factor for lefties and is tougher on hitters during night games. It landed about 35 rows up, allegedly. We prefer to think the ball is still traveling, headed back to Citi Field to land and wait for its rightful owner. The home run put some fright into the padres -- when a single almost dropped for him in the fourth, Aaron Cunningham sold out completely for fear of allowing the Ox onto the basepaths, and faced with two on and two out and first base open in the fifth inning, the team chose to walk El Duderino. When Duda hit a run-scoring single in the seventh, the gods put an umpire in the way to rob him of an RBI and send David Wright all the way back to second. Oh the Mets could have used that run and yet, throughout it all, the dude abode. There might not be a more mild-mannered slugger in the league.
Josh Thole, whose choke-up mentality might make a better match with Duda's demeanor, followed the big man's second-inning donger with a poke of his own. It wasn't quite the no-doubter. His instead found one of the shallowest parts of the park, landing the porch just left of the right-field foul pole. Any home run for Thole is an underdog story, but he was flashing his pull power Monday. His RBI single that plated a run in the fourth was another pitch on the inside corner that he pulled into right field. Any power, any power at all, and his ceiling zooms upwards.
Maybe Aaron Harang just can't get Josh Thole out. When Thole hit a liner to Orland Hudson that the normally sure-handed second baseman couldn't handle, the official scorer gave Thole credit for ferocity and scored it a single. That made Thole six-for-six off of Harang lifetime and chased the Harangutan from the game. In general, Harang didn't have his best stuff and struggled with the Mets lefties, and Thole's liner hitting his hand literally added injury to insult. The big guy will surely have another good start or two in that big park, though.
R.A. Dickey was vintage, though. He deserved a win. Maybe the Mets can manage that in his next outing. On Monday, his slow knuckler dove in what seemed like feet (particularly the one that struck out Cameron Maybin in the first inning), and his fast knuckler was just different enough to keep everyone off-balance. At one point, Dickey followed up a 58 MPH knuckler with an 86 MPH fastball, which was nice. If a couple Padre hitters hadn't leaned into some slow knucklers, he might have had a clean slate. As it was, there were ducks on the pond all night and a few defensive plays helped him along.
Well, at least until disaster struck in the seventh. A hanging knuckler from Dickey gave Will Venable some redemption. The toolsy outfielder crushed the ball to deep right and made it a game again. And yet the Mets looked like they might survive, until Orlando Hudson walked, stole second, and scored on a fisted single from Jesus Guzman. Parnell looked pretty good, but he also gave up a run. No wonder Dan Warthen visited him like eight times on the mound.
All of this was prelude to final innings. In the ninth, Angel Pagan greeted Heath Bell with a single pulled down the line for his second hit of the game. Justin Turner couldn't get the bunt down on a few up and in heaters from Bell and then got tied up inside for a strikeout in a big spot. David Wright put a charge in the ball on a hanging slider but couldn't poke it far enough. What did Lucas Duda do? He hit a single right up the middle to set the scene for Willie Harris... to fail. His role will be played by someone else next year, in all likelihood.
Two more walks opened the tenth (Jason Pridie and Josh Thole) before the team used Ruben Tejada to give away an out. The Scott Hairston hit a screamer that looked like it was going to get past short, but Alberto Gonzalez snagged it and hung Thole up in a pickle from his back. Hairston won't get an RBI in the traditional sense, but he does get the GWRBI in this site. Because we know that his fielder's choice got the job done.
Jason Isringhausen! Cue the articles celebrating his long, strange journey from top Mets prospect to slightly haggard closer hanging on for his 300th save! Two Tommy John surgeries! Home-coming! He dialed it up as far as he could -- about 93 MPH -- and dispatched the Padres to finish the win. It was a vintage 2011 Isringhausen, though. A one-out walk to Orlando Hudson, and then a single to Nick Hundley made things interesting. He used a curveball to get ahead on Gonzalez before coaxing a soft grounder to Ruben Tejada for the second out. Then Ruben Tejada got a screamer that he dropped for a second, then fired to first for the final out. Of course, with the way that Bobby Parnell has been pitching, Izzy could easily be back next year. He could be a bridge at least. Congratulations to the big guy on his night.
Pridie had some pride Monday night. His three walks, a single and a stolen base were crucial to the offense, since he scored on Thole's home run, then again when Thole singled in the fourth and then again in the tenth. But he also had a nice diving catch to rob Will Venable of a hit in shallow left field. Of course, the Padres strung together some hits in the same inning to score anyway. With two outs, Cameron Maybin singled, Kyle Blanks doubled, and Maybin scored, right arm windmilling his way along. But Pridie did his part.
The "Gustavo Molina of Hundleys," Nick Hundley started off the Padres' half of the fourth with a hit. But the Mets had David Wright, who made a leaning bare-handed throw from the third-base line to catch Logan Forsythe to get the second out and Aaron Harang finished off the inning as pitchers do at the plate, with a groundout to Dickey. There were some nice defensive plays on the day. Wright even caught a screaming liner in the fifth to continue the theme.
Jason Bay? He did not have a good game. No hits, no RBI, four empty plate appearances and a bruised ego from tripping over the first base bag after failing to drive in runs in the seventh. Yikes.
Oh, and Brandon Nimmo signed! Here's to the future.
Unintentionally dirty quote of the game: "You're not with him, you're amongst him." - Gary Cohen on Kyle Blanks
Big winners: Josh Thole, +41.7%, Jason Isringhausen +16.5%, Lucas Duda +16.1%
Big losers: Bobby Parnell, -18.7%, Willie Harris -10.3%
Teh aw3s0mest play: Josh Thole homered, Jason Pridie scored, +17.7%
Teh sux0rest play: Jesus Guzman singled, Orlando Hudson scored, -31.3%
Total pitcher WPA: 8.2%
Total batter WPA: 41.8%
GWRBI!: Scott Hairston, fielders choice.
Nice job by MetsFan4Decades; that effort in the game thread embiggens us all.
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