Tuesday was Stars Wars night at Citi Field and the sight of people walking around in their Star Wars regalia ended up being the most entertaining part of the evening. The Mets tallied another late season one-run defeat, falling to the Nationals by a 3-2 score. Dillon Gee was good over 5.2 innings, giving the team his third solid outing in his last four. Both sides were scoreless until the fifth inning, when Lucas Duda cracked a two run single to put the Mets on top. Gee immediately gave that lead back in the next inning, but he and Pedro Beato limited the damage until Dale Thayer and Bobby Parnell conspired to allow the go-ahead run in the seventh. That was basically all she wrote, save for a two out, ninth inning rally that was immediately put to rest with a three pitch Duda strikeout to cap it. With the loss, the Mets "tragic number" is down to just a single game. At least it's technically not too late for a magical, playoff spot grabbing win streak, right?
One interesting thing to take from this game particularly and the last couple of weeks has been Terry Collins' suddenly growing affinity for the sacrifice bunt, a tactic that was thought to be at the least minimized with the firing of Jerry Manuel and the subsequent burning of all copies of his book Jerryball found in Citi Field. Forgetting about how often the bunt is a poor play for a moment, the Mets are a team who have repeatedly failed to get bunts down all season (aside from Lucas Duda that one time). Considering how much his position players have struggled to do that and that they've been pretty good at getting on base all year, you have to wonder exactly what Collins is thinking with all of the bunts and whether this is a bad sign for the future. Just something to think about during the long, cold offseason that's about to begin in a couple of weeks.
Game three of this four game set with the Nats take place Wednesday evening at 7:10 PM and will feature Mike Pelfrey up on the hill for the Mets, squaring off against rookie righthander Brad Peacock. The hard-throwing righty will be making his first big league start.
There's are a few injury updates to go over this morning, so naturally we'll jump into the pool with the potentially scary: Jose Reyes' hamstring is still tightening up on him, making it tough for him to go full speed ahead at times. At this point, all I can say is just don't make it worse, Jose. Jason Isringhausen is still a few days away from coming back from his back injury. Jason Bay was out of the lineup on Tuesday due to a banged up shoulder, but should be back in left field on Wednesday. And in some good news, R.A. Dickey will not need offseason surgery on his injured foot. Dickey Be Praised!
As we head towards the offseason, it seems more and more likely that the Mets will make some changes to the dimensions at Citi Field. But what do the players think about it, specifically the pitchers?
For all of you prospectophiles out there, Baseball Instinct released an eight minute mechanics breakdown of Zack Wheeler throwing in a recent game with St. Lucie. Lots of different angles to check out if you're into that sort of thing.
Mike Pelfrey was named the Mets nominee for the 2011 Roberto Clemente Award. The annual award recognizes a Major League Baseball player who best represents the game through positive contributions on and off the field, including sportsmanship and community involvement. It's been a tough year on the mound for Mike, so good for him.
Finally, if you didn't get enough of Cap-Gate over the last few days, here are a few more articles that came out on Tuesday. SNY's Patrick Flood gives his take on the matter and so does New York Magazine. The New York Times reviews Gary Cohen's comments from Monday night. And if you want a more national look, Big League Stew and Hardball Talk wrote about it too.
Around the NL East
The Phillies fell to the Astros by a 5-2 score as J.A. Happ out-dueled Cole Hamels. Philly lost their third consecutive game for the first time early June but their magic number stands at just five, which barring any unforeseen circumstances, they should clinch rather soon.
The Braves won 7-1 over the Marlins behind some solid pitching and a Brian McCann home run that broke things open. Atlanta is still 4.5 games ahead of the Cardinals, who defeated the Pirates 6-4 on Tuesday.
Around the Majors
The AL Wild Card race spread out a little bit as the Red Sox beat up on the Blue Jays 18-6, while the Rays lost to the Orioles 4-2. The Red Sox now hold a four game lead on Tampa. Two milestones were reached in these two games. With a stolen base, Tampa's Johnny Damon joined the exclusive 200 home run, 400 stolen base club on Tuesday. He became only the ninth player in major league history to get there. Meanwhile, with Boston's big victory, Tim Wakefield recorded his 200th career win.
Mariano Rivera picked up his 600th
meaningless stat save. In all seriousness, even if the save stat is hugely flawed, the guy is easily the greatest late game reliever there's ever been and is one of the few Yankees that Mets fans can respect. It pains me to compliment a Yankee, but congratulations to him.
Finally, if you are interested in photography, here's an article about the lives of Getty Images photographers who capture the action in major league stadiums.