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Yankees 2, Mets 1: Takahashi Dazzles, Cora Throws It All Away

Alex Cora fielded the ball, turned and correctly threw it to second ahead of the lead runner, only the ball wasn't thrown to second at all. It was thrown to an arbitrary spot ten feet wide of second. Instead of a runner on first with one out, Cora's gift gave the Yankees runners on second and third with none out. A two-run single later and the Yankees had everything they needed to carry out a 2-1 win.

It wasn't *all* Cora's fault. The Mets' offense did almost literally nothing against Yankee pitching through the first eight innings before breaking through for a run against Mariano Rivera in the ninth. Javier Vazquez is a very good pitcher having a really bad season so far, but Mets hitters showed very little collective patience tonight. HoJo's pregame pep talk must've been, "Swing it like they're turning the lights off in five minutes." Vazquez mercifully left after six innings with a bruised right index finger, but to that point he had thrown just 70 pitches. The most egregious of the Mets' hacktastic offenders:

Player #Pitches PA P/PA
Jason Bay 9 4 2.25
Ike Davis 10 4 2.50
Jeff Francoeur 9 3 3.00

Of course, Bay and Davis contributed two-out doubles in the ninth that put the Mets on the board before David Wrong sent all the Yankees fans home moderately satisfied. Overall, though, the offensive approach left a lot to be desired. Whether nerves or something else were to blame I can only guess; I suspect it was just one of those nights.

Cora may actually have had the best night of any Mets batter, walking twice and picking up a single in two official at-bats. Jose Reyes went 0-for-4 and is OPS-ing .536 on the season. That's 35 points lower than Rod Barajas's slugging percentage. Cora is at .625, OPS-wise. Gary Matthews Jr's .476 OPS isn't that far off, which tells you all you need to know, I'd say. Reyes isn't right, and the Mets need him to be. Soon.

On the bright side, Hisanori Takahashi threw 101 pitches in six innings, striking out five and walking just one while allowing five hits and no runs. It wasn't a complete surprise, as Takahashi has been one of the best pitchers on the Mets staff this season, but it was still a bit of a relief as the rotation is in shambles and the team really needed someone to step up.

Now back to the depressing. Given a 0-0 game after six innings, what odds would you put on the Mets holding the flag after the dust settled if you knew the following pitchers would combine to pitch two of the final three innings:

Elmer Dessens
Oliver Perez
Fernando Nieve
Manny Acosta

Yikes. Dessens got a raw deal in allowing two runs, as three men reached base on zero hard-hit balls. Perez and Nieve in tandem threw just five of fifteen pitches for strikes. Pedro Feliciano followed Nieve and struck out two in a scoreless inning, and Acosta pitched a scoreless ninth to close out the Mets pitching line.

It all comes back to the offense, though. The Mets managed just two singles and two walks through the first eight innings and, as I mentioned earlier, three of those baserunners were Alex Cora (the fourth was Angel Pagan). That's rarely going to be enough to beat anybody, and will almost never be enough to beat the Yankees. The Mets give it another go Saturday night at 7:10pm when Mike Pelfrey takes on Phil Hughes. Let's hope the offense shows up.

Beer of the game: Centennial IPA from Founders Brewing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

"This is an absoutely fantastic IPA! I made the discovery that is the Centennial IPA on draft at the Craft Ale House in Limerick, PA. It was so good, that I went back to the pub the next day and got a growler of it. From start to finish, this beer explodes with flavor and character." --RateBeer User Review

Poem by Howard Megdal

Takahashi impresses in first start
Though Cora error makes Mets fall apart
Though the Metsies failed to win the game
How exciting! Pitcher didn't come up lame!

SB Nation Coverage

* Traditional Recap
* Boxscore
* Amazin' Avenue Gamethread
* Pinstripe Alley Gamethread

Win Probability Added

Big winners: Hisanori Takahashi, +34.9% WPA, Ike Davis, +10.6% WPA
Big losers: Elmer Dessens (Alex Cora), -31.9% WPA, David Wright, -27.4% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Swisher strikeout in fourth, +9.5% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Cora toss to nobody in seventh, -17.3% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: +10.0% WPA
Total batter WPA: -60.0% WPA
GWRBI!: Kevin Russo

Game Thread Roll Call

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

Num Name # of Posts
1 MookieTheCat 214
2 Gina 152
3 Evan_S 124
4 fxcarden 112
5 Syler 108
6 Brian. 103
7 BrockRocks 90
8 Michkin 75
9 rcnt123 73
10 itsmetsforme 71