The Mets may have lost a game tonight to the Marlins, but the franchise gained a moral victory when Joe Torre apologized for comments he made on Monday regarding his interest in managing the Mets in 2011. Today he apologized to Jerry Manuel -- through the LA media, that is -- and indicated that he won't likely be managing the Mets -- or anyone -- next season. Whew. With that crisis averted, let's get back to business.
At this point in the season wins and losses are vacuous concepts. The SNY crew spent some time debating whether or not the Mets -- or Mets fans, for that matter -- care one way or another whether the team finishes in third place or fourth in the NL East. The their current opponent is the very team they're "fighting" with for third place is but an ancillary detail. I assume at least some of the Mets players would prefer to finish ahead of the Marlins than behind them, but it's not a compelling narrative for me. In fact, it could well be in the best interest of the franchise if the team lost out the rest of its games this season and secures the next Mets general manager a premium draft pick next June. That doesn't mean I'm rooting for losses -- I can't honestly root for the Mets to play poorly -- let's just say that climbing the ladder of ineptitude towards a better tomorrow is at least a decent consolation prize.
Beyond wins and losses, I'm just looking for good individual performances and positive contributions from players who should be doing the same for the Mets in 2011. That means the aforementioned Duda and Thole, Ike Davis, Jon Niese, Nick Evans. I threw that last one in just for kicks since the Mets will forget he exists again as soon as they no longer need spare bodies for the expanded roster.
Mike Pelfrey is also on the list of players I continue to watch with high hopes, even if those hopes aren't quite as high as they were when his splitter was making hitters look foolish in April and May. He hasn't been throwing it much differently since then, but it has nevertheless seen a decline in effectiveness. He threw nine splitters tonight but just two of them for strikes, but he still had a fine outing in both process and results. He allowed just two runs on five hits over seven innings, striking out four and walking none. He threw first-pitch strikes to just 13 of 27 batters, but the sinker seemed to be working as he recorded 13 outs on the ground to just four in the air.
Even if he ever fine-tunes the splitter to the point of consistent usefulness, Pelfrey probably still won't be a high-strikeout pitcher. The good news is that he throws hard and sinky enough that it shouldn't matter. He just needs to focus on keeping the walk rate low and the batted balls out of the air.
The turning point in this game occurred 39-and-a-half years ago when Elmer Dessens was born. His parents probably had no idea at the time that nearly four decades later he would pitch for the Mets and perform far better than his peripherals would dictate he should. They also couldn't have foreseen that their newborn son's knack for outperforming expectations would catch up with him one night -- this night, as it turns out -- when their fledgling humanoid offspring, all grown up, would groove a 1-2 meatball to as-yet-nonexistent first baseman Gaby Sanchez, who would effortlessly deposit said meatball into the stands of a ballpark that wouldn't be built for another 16 years. Oh, Mr. and Mrs. Dessens! How could you not portend the hell you have now, nearly 40 years later, wrought?
Also, Lucas Duda homered.
Marlins take lead on two-out Wright miscue
But his home run knotted game at 2-2
Did happy recap eventually ensue?
Sadly, no- looks like Elmer's out of glue
Big winners: David Wright, +21.5% WPA, Mike Pelfrey, +13.0% WPA
Big losers: Elmer Dessens, -43.3% WPA, Angel Pagan, -17.4% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Wright selfish solo home run in eighth, +24.5% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Sanchez three-run home run in eighth, -37.2% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: -21.8% WPA
Total batter WPA: -28.2% WPA
GWRBI!: Gaby Sanchez
Nice job by Spike Davis; his effort in the game thread embiggens us all.
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