Someday managers will use their closers in tie games on the road, but that day has not yet arrived. Conventional wisdom says a baseball team should not use its closer—an arbitrary title that's typically assigned to a team's best relief pitcher—when the team is on the road and the game is tied.
The Mets lost to the Pirates in eleven innings on Friday evening. There's no guarantee they would have won if Bobby Parnell had been a part of the game, of course, but there was a significantly better chance that the game would have gone to at least the twelfth inning if he had appeared.
Jeremy Hefner made another very good start, finishing his first slightly-more-than-half of the season with a 3.33 ERA. He allowed two runs in seven innings with three strikeouts and no walks against Pittsburgh. Both runs scored on a two-run home run off the bat of Pedro Alvarez in the first inning.
It took a while, but the Mets eventually tied the game against Charlie Morton. A David Wright bloop single in the sixth plated the team's first run of the game, and an inning later, Kirk Nieuwenhuis hit a solo home run to tie the game.
Hefner was removed after the bottom of the seventh, though, despite the fact that he had thrown just 78 pitches. Jordany Valdespin hit for him to lead off the eighth and promptly struck out. With that, the Mets had burned Hefner on a night when he probably could have thrown at least another inning and their bullpen was shorthanded because Carlos Torres is starting tomorrow in place of Matt Harvey.
The Mets failed to score in the eighth, but David Aardsma threw a scoreless bottom of the eighth. He recorded an out in the ninth, too, before Terry Collins used Scott Rice, Greg Burke, and Josh Edgin to complete the ninth inning.
Edgin stayed in for the tenth inning, but Collins turned to Gonzalez Germen for the eleventh inning. Making his big league debut, Germen struggled to find the strike zone and wound up serving up a game-winning single to Jordy Mercer to end the game.
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Win Probability Added
Big winners: Josh Edgin, +26.5% WPA, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, +23.1% WPA, Scott Rice, -19.0% WPA
Big losers: Gonzalez Germen, -38.3% WPA, Marlon Byrd, -21.7% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Kirk's home run, +22.8% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Jordy Mercer's game-winning single, -40.0% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: -1.5% WPA
Total batter WPA: -48.5% WPA
GWRBI!: Jordy Mercer