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Mets 6, Giants 4: God Barajas

Ike Davis might be good. Besides his first of hopefully many multi-homerun games, young Ike got Frankie out of the ninth with a backhand-catch-and-flip over the dugout railing and graciously walked in the ninth, allowing a veteran player to hit the game-winning homerun, when he could have easily ended it himself. For a player who, in the minors, left scouts doubting his ability to hit lefites, hit breaking balls, and shorten his swing, those two homers were especially encouraging. The first pitch Ike deposited in the stands was a 92-mph fastball inside, against which he opened up his stance a little. On the second, a curveball, he nearly swung one handed, a tremendous display of strength.

There seemed to be three clear turning-points in this game, all in the ninth inning. First, Francisco Rodriguez surrendered a homerun to John Bowker, a player who exemplifies the kind of firstbasemen they produce in San Francisco, with his .693 career OPS. Frankie hadn't surrendered a home run yet this season, so it was only a matter of when. Better then, I guess, than the many tied games and high-leverage situations he will never pitch in while Jerry Manuel is the Mets' manager. Don't be too quick to lump this game into the Francisco Rodriguez career-decline narrative, though. After this game, his line stands at 18 K/7 BB in 13.2 IP, making last year look like an aberration, not a trend, so far. A great changeup can extend a career long after the fastball velocity goes.

The second key moment was Bruce Bochy's decision to put in Bengie Molina as catcher. After the shot of Rod Barajas struggling to take the batting glove off his swollen hand, I thought he might come out of the game and certainly wouldn't be able to take anymore good swings. And he probably wouldn't have, if he wasn't empowered by the sight of the fat sack his bosses thought worth ten-times his salary this winter. 

Thirdly, Jerry Manuel decided not to bunt over Ike, despite Rod's potentially broken hand. For it was foretold in scripture (Genesis 22:2):

2 And He said: 'Take now thy firstbaseman, thine only firstbaseman, whom thou lovest, even Isaac, and get thee into the land of secondbase; and offer Barjas there for a bunt-offering upon one of the pitches which I will tell thee of.'

Just as Jerry lifted his hand to give the bunt-signal, however, the angel of the Lord (or Casey Stengel's ghost, hard to tell from the camera-angle) stopped him, saying that Jerry's faith in old, senseless baseball traditions had sufficiently been demonstrated, and it wasn't worth losing an out over. 

Speaking of Molina, Barajas' homerun brings his season slash line to .244/.264/.598, aka Bengie Bonds.

Other notes:

  • Mike Pelfrey had a good game, keeping his pitch count low, walking none. Jerry probably could have kept him in through the eighth, considering Nieve is no better, especially against Juan Uribe and Nate Schierholtz, the Giant's second best hitter and a lefty. 
  • Pelfrey's four-seam fastball made a comeback and was by far his most effective pitch, inducing 7 swinging strikes. Pitchfx shows the movement as pretty typical. Pelfrey was merely smart about throwing it high in the zone, when ahead of the hitter. He threw three straight four-seam fastballs to strikeout Pablo Sandoval in a key fourth inning at bat.
  • X-Ray on our hero's hand was negative
  • Luis Castillo made some nice plays. I can never tell if they're really nice or just nice by his standards, but whatever.
  • Francoeur looked lost at the plate. 
  • SNY only showed it for a second, but after the celebratory pile at homeplate broke up, Gary Matthews pulled Fernando Tatis aside and started smacking him, while Francoeur looked on and laughed: 
  • Smacktatis_medium 
  • Barahoss_medium 

Poem by Howard Megdal

Adding to story that hasn't been sour
Ike shows off twice the extent of his power
Big Pelf keeps pitching to justify faith
Throwing effectively into the eighth
But though Frankie's outing was awful, a bust
We've all come to recognize, In Rod We Trust

SB Nation Coverage

Traditional Recap
Amazin' Avenue Gamethread
McCovey Chronicles Gamethread

Win Probability Added


Big winners: Rod Barjas +42.4%, Fernando Nieve +21.1%
Big losers: Jeff Francoeur -14.9%, Bengie Molina
Big winners: Rod Barjas +42.4%, Fernando Nieve +21.1%
Big losers: Jeff Francoeur -14.9%, Bengie Molina
Teh aw3s0mest play: Rod! +36.8%
Teh sux0rest play: Bowker's homer -35.6%
Total pitcher WPA: +42.9%
Total batter WPA: +7.1%
GWRBI!: Rod!

Game Thread Roll Call

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

Name # of Posts
fxcarden 136
Jsz 92
Syler 70
Evan_S 65
49er16 55
The Glider 55
aparkermarshall 55
Jadden Hopkins 48
AmarDude 46
Brian. 45