A well-pitched game by Pat Misch, who didn't do anything spectacularly well but generally kept the Cubs off the basepaths and the scoreboard. He struck out just two Cubbies (Ted Lilly once), but walked only two and allowed just six hits -- five singles and a double -- over seven innings. He's earned himself at least another start now that Oliver Perez is gone for the season; it's not as if the Mets have better options.
Jerry Manuel made two bad decisions in this game; one worked out, one didn't. In the top of the eighth with Angel Pagan on second and none out, the game tied 1-1, Manuel cued Luis Castillo, his best hitter, to sacrifice Pagan to third. While this is probably a better move in the eighth inning than in the first, it's still a dumb call. Based on 2009 data, the win expectancy for the visiting team in a tied game, top of the eighth inning:
Runner on second, none out: 54.17%
Runner on third, one out: 50.00%
The heart of the Mets' order was coming up, but this isn't exactly Murderer's Row we're talking about here. This is Daniel Murphy, Jeff Francoeur and Fernando Tatis, three replacement-level bats. Bunting with a position player is almost always a bad idea, including this time, though it sort of worked out for the Mets as Murphy walked, Francoeur struck out and Tatis doubled home Pagan. Though we can't assume the events would have unfolded in the same fashion had Castillo swung away, if we could then Pagan would have scored on Tatis's hit anyway so it's not like the bunt really bought the Mets anything.
The other bad decision was Manuel's call to bring the infield in with Milton Bradley on third with one out in the bottom of the eighth. I generally hate bringing the infield in, unless you have to cut the winning run down at the plate. In this case, Bradley was the tying run, and a routine grounder probably doesn't score him from third. Aramis Ramirez hit that routine grounder, but it scuttled past a drawn-in Wilson Valdez to bring in Bradley and knot the game at two. Now we have a tied game and a runner on first with one out; with the infield at regular depth we might still have a tied game (might not, though), but at least there would be two out and no runners on. The rest of the inning unfolded poorly for the Mets, as Brian Stokes walked Jeff Baker and then hung a meatball that Alfonso Soriano crushed for a three-run homerun. Maybe Stokes still coughs up the lead if we go back and reconstruct the inning without the infield in, but maybe it doesn't.
The Mets picked up a game on Arizona, Cincinnati, San Diego and Baltimore and are now just five games behind the Orioles for the third overall pick in next June's draft. I'm not the rah-rah type, but I think the Mets can really do this. Gooooo team!
Bobby Parnell takes on Ryan Dempster at 4:10pm EDT on Saturday.
Mastery by Misch
Momentary; Sori socks
Big winners: Pat Misch, +35.1% WPA, Fernando Tatis, +26.7% WPA
Big losers: Brian Stokes, -65.5% WPA, Cory Sullivan, -16.6% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play:
Teh sux0rest play:
Total pitcher WPA: -29.9% WPA
Total batter WPA: -20.1% WPA
GWRBI!: Alfonso Soriano
Nice job by firejerrynow; his effort in the game thread embiggens us all.
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