It's confession time: raise your hand if you thought Marlon Byrd would be the Mets' best outfielder on June 27th. Raise your hand if you thought Marlon Byrd (.260/.312/.495, 12 home runs) would stack up with the likes of Justin Upton (.241/.352/.452, 14 home runs) on June 27th. Anybody? Raise your hand if coming into the season, you assumed Marlon Byrd was most likely to be cut by the team some time in May. I'd bet that one would have a lot of hands raised. I know mine would be. Well, sometimes we're right and sometimes we're all wrong. And on June 27th, we can probably say with confidence that we were wrong. Marlon Byrd was the star of the Mets' 3-2 victory today over the Rockies as he ripped a go-ahead two run home run in the eighth inning and then threw out a runner at second in the ninth, just another fine day in the surprisingly effective season of 35-year-old Marlon Byrd.
The Mets and Rockies met up this evening to make up a game that was snowed out way back in April and the game conditions couldn't have been more different today. There was no snow in Denver and the temperature sat in the mid-90's at the start of the game. Jeremy Hefner got the ball for the Mets and coming into the start, the righty had been pitching very well. In his last eleven outings, spread over 67 innings, Hefner had thrown to a very strong 3.22 ERA. Hefner got off to a quick start, striking out two of the three batters he faced in the first inning. It was the second inning where Hefner found some trouble, as he allowed Michael Cuddyer to single leading off the frame. The hit extended his hitting streak to 24 games, surpassing Dante Bichette who previously held the franchise record. Wilin Rosario followed up Cuddyer's hit with a double, putting runners at second and third with nobody out for Todd Helton who would hit a sacrifice fly to score the first run of the game. The Rockies got their second run thanks to some bad defense. Nolan Arenado hit an easy groundball to Zach Lutz, who was starting in place of David Wright at third base. Lutz didn't give Rosario much of a look at second base, so when Lutz tossed the ball to first for the out, Rosario took off for third. After Josh Satin recorded the out at first, he rifled the ball back in the general direction of third base but it was off line and got past Lutz, rolling down the line and allowing Rosario to easily score.
Down 2-0, Tyler Chatwood went about setting the Mets down pretty easily over six innings, as they didn't even manage a hit until the fifth inning when Lutz dunked a single into right field. The hit put two runners on base, as Satin had walked to lead off the inning and the Mets loaded the bags when Juan Lagares dropped down a bunt single. With nobody out and the bases loaded, they had what appeared to be a prime opportunity to get some runs back but with the bottom of the order up, they only managed to get one run on Jeremy Hefner's fielder's choice. The Mets would manage to load up the bases once again in the sixth inning with two outs against Chatwood but Lagares would strike out on what looked to be a questionable called third strike. Overall, the Rockies' starter was great over his six innings.
On the other side of the ledger, Hefner matched Chatwood with six very strong innings of his own, allowing just the two runs on five hits. He walked one and struck out three overall. Fast forward to the top of the eighth inning, when Daniel Murphy led things off with a single to center field. The slumping second baseman, who managed a pair of hits on the day, then stole second base to get into scoring position with nobody out. That really wouldn't matter, though, as Marlon Byrd crushed a ball over the wall in left center field for a two-run home run, giving the Mets their first lead of the day at 3-2.
With two innings to go, the Mets turned to Scott Rice to throw the eighth and he immediately got into trouble, as he allowed a leadoff hit to D.J. LeMahieu who came in as a pinch hitter. Rice managed to erase LeMahieu when he picked him off of first base for out number one. After striking out Chris Dickerson, Rice allowed a single to Josh Rutledge who moved to second base on a wild pitch. With Carlos Gonzalez up at the plate, Rice faced a huge challenge but he was able to get the Rockies' slugger to swing and miss at strike three to strand the tying run at second.
Bobby Parnell took the mound in the ninth and the inning started off similarly to the eighth, as Michael Cuddyer ripped a ball to first base that scooted under the glove of Josh Satin at first base and into right field for a single. Trying to be aggressive, Cuddyer took a hard turn at first and decided to go for two. Marlon Byrd was playing deep in right field but considering how hard the ball was hit and how good Byrd's arm is in the outfield, the decision to risk it was a poor one, as Byrd threw a perfect strike to second to nail Cuddyer for a huge first out. With the first out taken care of, Parnell settled in and was able to strike out Wilin Rosario and get Todd Helton to weakly ground out to second base, wrapping up a 3-2 victory in the Mets' quick trip into Colorado.
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Win Probability Added
Big winners: Marlon Byrd (34.8%), Bobby Parnell (26.7%)
Big losers: Eric Young (-20.3%), Anthony Recker (-18.0%)
Teh aw3s0mest play: Marlon Byrd's home run in the eighth! (34.3%)
Teh sux0rest play: Juan Lagares' strikeout in the sixth inning (-11.6%)
Total pitcher WPA: 65.4%
Total batter WPA: -15.4%
GWRBI!: Marlon Byrd