Let's play a game. I'm going to show you two numbers and you have to guess their significance to tonight's game. Easy enough. Ready? Here we go.
These numbers could mean a lot of things. The Diamondbacks scored six runs. The Mets left four men on base. Angel Pagan hit his sixth triple of the season. The Mets went through their lineup exactly four times. Are any of these things that to which I refer? No, they are not. I'll give you a hint: brainstorm. Give up? Alright, I'll let you in on the fun.
6 = the total number of pitches Jeff Francoeur saw on Monday night.
4 = the number of plate appearances he had.
We all know one game doesn't mean that much. Hell, David Wright only saw eight pitches! Jeremy Reed saw six pitches in his one pinch-hitting appearance. Of course, the problem isn't just one game for Francoeur. Over the expanse of his entire career he has established himself as Mr. Swing-At-Anything. No pitch is too high, low, or otherwise outside the strike zone. Why? Because Francoeur doesn't have a strike zone. Most players look for strikes between the letters and the knees and between the corners of the plate. They don't necessarily look to swing at all of these pitches, but good hitters will acknowledge that these are the rough dimensions of the strike zone, notwithstanding the odd creative umpire. Francoeur's strike zone has no such measurable limitations. Francoeur's strike zone is limited only by the universe of possible endpoints for a ball thrown by a pitcher. Over his head, it's in the zone. In the dirt, it's in the zone. Behind him, in the zone. Practically into the dugout, in his zone. This is it. He's not going to change. Let's just hope the Mets' front office dream team figures this out and rightly non-tenders him this offseason.
The real story of the game was Nelson Figueroa, who gave up six runs on ten hits (three homeruns) and a walk in 1.2 innings and will be DFA'd tomorrow. It takes a stupendously awful pitching performance to make Tim Redding look downright decent by comparison, but Figueroa made it happen. Redding relieved the Fig-bomb and tossed 3.1 scoreless innings of relief while throwing just 43 pitches in the process. The entire Mets bullpen was actually quite effective, giving their offense an opportunity to creep back into the game against Dan Haren. The Mets bunched some hits together to plate three runs in the fifth and a Daniel Murphy Blue-Collar Blast in the sixth brought the Mets to within 6-5. They had a chance to tie it in the eighth when Gary Sheffield doubled with one out, but Murphy popped out to third and Failcoeur grounded out on the first pitch he saw to bring the inning -- and the Mets' last real scoring chance -- to a crashing halt.
One bright spot for the Mets' offense was Pagan, who reached base three times and makes me eat crow everytime I portend his imminent demise. I still assert that he'll have a sub-.300 on-base percentage before the season closes, assuming he doesn't suffer some arbitrary injury before then.
Funny thing I observed: Pagan has six triples in 128 at-bats this season, which seems like a lot.
Johan Santana takes on Joel Pineiro at 7:10pm Tuesday as the Cardinals roll into town for a two-gamer.
Big winners: Angel Pagan, +11.9% WPA, Bobby Parnell, +9.9% WPA
Big losers: Nelson Figueroa, -37.7% WPA, Jeff Francoeur, -15.4% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Murphy solo homerun in sixth, +13.6% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Sheffield GIDP in fifth, -12.5% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: -13.4% WPA
Total batter WPA: -36.6% WPA
GWRBI!: Mark Reynolds
Nice job by Jadden Hopkins; his effort in the game thread embiggens us all.
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