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Mets 2, Cardinals 1: Twenty Is Plenty

There was a lot to dislike about the Mets' ridiculous 20-inning win over the Cardinals yesterday afternoon last night, and the fact that the Mets managed to win the game despite some questionable managerial decision-making, underwhelming offensive production, and a bullpen that spent the better part of 13 innings getting in and out of trouble. On the bright side, we set some kind of record by logging more than 4,000 comments in the gamethread. So since a regular recap would probably mean the death of me for any number of reasons, here are twenty notes, nuggets, and observations about this agonizingly long ballgame.

  1. What must seem like weeks ago at this point Johan Santana pitched a terrific game, striking out nine Cardinals and walking just one in seven innings. Little did he know that the game was barely a third of the way through when he was pinch hit for by Frank Catalanotto in the top of the eighth.
  2. Yadier Molina caught all twenty innings for the Cardinals. He also went 3-for-9 at the plate and drove in the tying run in the bottom of the 19th.
  3. The two teams combined to use 17 relievers, including one starter and two position players.
  4. The Mets and Cardinals combined to go 1-for-25 with runners in scoring position. The Mets, unsurprisingly, were 0-for-7.
  5. This was the fourth-longest game, by innings, in Mets history, and their longest since a 4-3 loss to the Cardinals in 25 innings on 9/11/1974.
  6. This was the first twenty-plus inning game the Mets have won. Apart from the 25-inning loss in 1974, they also lost a 1-0 game in the 24th inning against the Astros on 4/15/1968 and a 8-6, 23-inning game against the Giants on 5/31/1964. The latter was the second game of a double-header, with Gaylord Perry tossing ten innings of relief for the victory. Galen Cisco took the loss for the Mets after pitching nine relief innings of his own.
  7. Raul Valdes was the only Mets pitcher who didn't allow a walk.
  8. Valdes did manage to pick up an infield single in two trips to the plate, but he was also thrown out--standing up--trying to take second when shortstop Brendan Ryan's throw to first sailed wide.
  9. The Bad: Jose Reyes, Jason Bay, and Jeff Francoeur combined to go 0-for-21 with a walk.
  10. The Semi-Good: Francoeur and Reyes drove in the Mets' only runs with sacrifice flies in the 19th and 20th innings, respectively.
  11. It takes a special kind of ineptitude to be substantially outmanaged by Jerry Manuel, but Tony La Russa did just that. He took Matt Holliday out of the game in the 12th inning, allowed his relievers to bat with the bases loaded and two outs in the 12th and 14th innings, allowing position players to pitch the final three innings, and so on.
  12. Why is it that big league managers stubbornly insist on only using their closers in the nin(eteen)th inning?
  13. Nevertheless, at least a nominal cap-tip to Manuel for bringing Mike Pelfrey in to close the game out in the 20th. If you put any money down before the season on Pelfrey collecting a save before Francisco Rodriguez, you're probably looking at a nice chunk of change right now.
  14. While it seemingly worked out for the Mets that Rodriguez came on for the save after the offense eked out a run in the top of the 19th, Manuel should be taken to task for waiting so long to get him into the game. Nobody knew that the game would go as long as it did, and the Mets' best reliever should have been in there far sooner.
  15. Rodriguez warmed up on numerous occasions throughout this game and reportedly threw 100 pitches in the bullpen. It's tough to imagine that not having a deleterious effect on his performance when he finally did come into the game.
  16. Not overlooked but perhaps overshadowed a bit was Luis Castillo's fantastic tag of Ryan Ludwick's knee on an attempted stolen base in the bottom of the 19th. Why Ludwick was running with Albert Pujols at the plate is still a mystery.
  17. Ludwick had a bad day on the basepaths overall, as he was also thrown out trying to score from second on a Brian Anderson ground out in the 16th.
  18. Alex Cora gets a lot of flak for being a mediocre baseball player, but the catch he made diving into the crowd with two outs and the bases loaded in the 10th was awesome.
  19. I recognize that it was late in the game and a lot of those guys had been in there for the equivalent of two ballgames, but to score zero runs against infielder Felipe Lopez in the 18th and just two runs in the final two innings against outfielder Joe Mather is depressing, embarrassing, and even a little shameful
  20. And finally, the quote of the day: When Jerry Manuel was asked during the postgame interview, "In all seriousness, if you had taken out your cleanup hitter in a New York home game and have the pitcher twice bat with the bases loaded after Pujols walked, what would happen to you?", the Mets' manager responded, "Oh, you know what'd happen to me!"

If you didn't get your fill of awful broadcasting on Saturday, just wait until tonight when John Maine takes on Adam Wainwright on ESPN.

Poem by Howard Megdal

While Johan the Great threw seven innings of zero
It would take thirteen more to establish the hero
It wouldn’t be Cora, though his catch astounded
He grasped hold of the ball while some lady he mounted
Takahashi in trouble, but sure had a yen
For stranding baserunners much better than Ken
Two strong from Mejia, two more from Valdes
While Cards strangely did what nonsense Tony says
On to the eighteenth, Lopez held Mets at Bay
(Shorthand for someone with no hits on the day)
In inning nineteen, a breakthrough against Mather
The Mets scored a run! And who would you rather
Than K-Rod come on, and lock down the game?
Apparently Pelfrey; K-Rod came up lame
And on to the 20th, Mather still on the mound
But Mets offense scored only once, ran aground
So enter Big Pelf, and it’s hard to believe
But Thursday’s starter came in Saturday to relieve
And Pelf got the save, making K-Rod the poseur
And now, the key question: is Big Pelf the closer?

SB Nation Coverage

* Traditional Recap
* Boxscore
* Amazin' Avenue Gamethread
* Viva El Birdos Gamethread

Win Probability Added

Big winners: Johan Santana, +42.6% WPA, Fernando Nieve, +36.4% WPA
Big losers: Francisco Rodriguez, -31.5% WPA, Jason Bay, -25.1% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Jacobs single in 20th, +23.6% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Molina RBI single in 19th, -40.6% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: +1.683% WPA
Total batter WPA: -1.183% WPA
GWRBI!: Jose Reyes

Game Thread Roll Call

Nice job by Gina; his effort in the game thread embiggens us all.

Num Name # of Posts
1 Gina 357
2 Brittannia 299
3 Brian. 221
4 squid92 207
5 Syler 178
6 aparkermarshall 165
7 bm01bath 141
8 sj10689 134
9 The Glider 113
10 Kepler 96