A 33:6 K/BB ratio with a 2.00 ERA in 27 innings as a group. Pretty, pretty, pretty good. Not nearly as good was the Mets' offensive showing during the series. Zero home runs. Six extra-base hits (all doubles). 3-for-26 with runners in scoring position. Four caught stealings vs two stolen bases. Just five runs scored in toto. All against a Rockies pitching staff that is last in the National League in both ERA and FIP. It's tough to win ballgames with that kind of performance at the plate, no matter the quality of your pitching. It's also tough to continue watching a team in the middle of an 11-28 second-half swoon.
Let's talk about the lone positive from this game: McHugh's memorable debut. He got off to an inauspicious start, allowing a leadoff double to Charlie Blackmon. However, after Jonathan Herrera bunted Blackmon to third base, McHugh buckled down and struck out the next two batters, Jordan Pacheco and Carlos Gonzalez. From that point forward, McHugh allowed just two more baserunners, and one, DJ LeMahieu, was thrown out by Josh Thole trying to steal second base. He never threw more than 16 pitches in an inning. It was an effortless outing for McHugh, who used his big, sweeping curveball to control the Rockies' lineup. McHugh doesn't project as a front-line starter, but he did enjoy some success in the high levels of the minor leagues before his call-up. It will be fun to watch him over the last month of the season and dream of a surplus of starting pitching options at spring training 2013.
Okay, maybe there was one other positive from this game: Jordany Valdespin drew an unintentional walk. And he did it from the leadoff spot, where he and his .276 OBP were bizarrely penciled in by Terry Collins. It was Valdespin's sixth walk of the season and it raised his season walk-rate to 3.5% (the league average walk rate is 8.0%). He also stole second base after drawing the walk, but was stranded by Daniel Murphy, David Wright, and Ike Davis. This stranding of runners foreshadowed the rest of the game, during which the Mets collectively went 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position. The Mets put two runners on base in four different innings but just couldn't break through with a big hit.
The Rockies scored their lone run in the eighth inning off Bobby Parnell. Valdespin misplayed a relatively routine fly ball off the bat of Tyler Colvin into a triple and the next batter Chris Nelson drove him in with a single. The Mets showed some fight in the final two innings. Ruben Tejada doubled with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning but Thole (.248/.309/.305, ick) struck out to end the mini threat. Justin Turner led off the ninth inning with a single and made it to second base after a Valdespin sacrifice. However, Murphy and Wright both flew out to secure the sweep for the Rockies.
The Mets are 57-68, a half game behind the Phillies in the NL East and 11.5 games out of the Wild Card, for anyone still paying attention to that. The sad sack Astros come to town for a weekend series starting Friday. Here are the pitching matchups:
Big winners: Collin McHugh +43.3% (as pitcher), Justin Turner +13.3%
Big losers: Bobby Parnell -20.6%, Scott Hairston -18.9%
Teh aw3s0mest play: Justin Turner single in the ninth inning +13.3%
Teh sux0rest play: Tyler Colvin triple in the eighth inning -21.8%
Total pitcher WPA: +26.2%
Total batter WPA: -76.2%
GWRBI!: Chris Nelson RBI single in the eighth inning