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Mets vs. Brewers Recap: Maybe they should have bunted more

The Mets finished the 2013 season with a win.

Maddie Meyer

Thanks to a loss on Saturday, the Mets entered the final game of the season with a protected first-round draft pick in the 2014 draft. Perhaps you’ve grown tired of the talk about that pick, but the fact that it was out of the way meant it wouldn’t resurface somewhere in your mind as the team inducted Mike Piazza into its Hall of Fame or turned a late deficit into a lead and beat the Milwaukee Brewers.

The season ended as it began, with Jon Niese on the mound like he had been on Opening Day. He threw six innings, gave up two runs and six hits, struck out two, and walked two. It wasn’t a stellar start by any means, but it wrapped up an encouraging second half of the year. Post-injury Jon Niese was a hell of a lot more effective than pre-injury Jon Niese.

Both of the Brewers’ runs scored in the fourth inning. The Mets had a one-to-nothing lead at the time thanks to two stolen bases by Eric Young and a sacrifice fly off the bat of David Wright in the bottom of the first, but Milwaukee opened the fourth with three straight singles. On the third single, Juan Lagares threw out Jeff Bianchi—who had led off the inning—at home plate. But Niese walked the unwalkable Yuniesky Betancourt to reload the bases and then paid for it thanks to first base umpire C.B. Bucknor.

On what should have been called an inning-ending double play, Bucknor called the runner at first base safe, and instead of ending the inning, Milwaukee tied the game. They followed up with an infield single to take a 2-1 lead.

For several innings thereafter, it looked like the game would end with that score. Gonzalez Germen and Vic Black threw a scoreless inning each in relief of Niese, but the Mets’ bats were nowhere to be found through the bottom of the seventh.

The bottom of the eighth, however, got wacky. The Mets’ bats didn’t exactly show up, but the team reclaimed the lead. Juan Lagares led off and reached first base on a throwing error by the Brewers’ shortstop. Mets catcher Juan Centeno then put down a bunt to move Lagares to second, but the Brewers botched it, as Jonathan Lucroy’s throw to first base was way off. Lagares scored on the play, and Centeno moved up to second. Matt den Dekker came in to run for him and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Wilfedro Tovar. Eric Young Jr. then plated the go-ahead run as he grounded out to the pitcher. It wasn’t the prettiest of comebacks, but the Mets had the lead.

With that, Terry Collins turned to Frank Francisco, who barely pitched this year and almost certainly won’t be brought back by the front office. It was almost as if Collins were reaching for one last extra-inning game, not to prolong, but to celebrate, the Mets’ 2013 campaign.

Frank Frank retired the side in order. The Mets won, and they finished with a 74-88 record, just like they did in 2012.

SB Nation Coverage

* Amazin' Avenue Gamethread
* Brew Crew Ball Gamethread

Win Probability Added

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Big winners: Juan Centeno, +32.7% WPA, Eric Young Jr., +18.1% WPA
Big losers: Josh Satin, -14.0% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: The Juan Centeno Bunt Debacle of 2013, +35.9% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Logan Schafer’s go-ahead single in the fourth, -12.9% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: +26.2% WPA
Total batter WPA: +23.8% WPA
GWRBI!: Eric Young Jr.