After Capuano’s gem on Friday, it was somewhat disheartening to see him labor through the first inning, giving up two quick runs. The second inning was tough for him too, but he got out of it without surrendering a run. At that point in the game, Ron, Keith, and Gary noted that Cap was only hitting about 86-88 mph with his fastball whereas he was getting up around 91-92 mph on Friday and that the 122-pitch effort last week may be to blame for that drop off. However, Capuano did all we could ask of him from there on out, finishing up with a tidy 5 inning, 99-pitch, 2-run effort. More than enough to keep us in the game. Incredibly, Acosta, Beato, Isringhausen, and Parnell worked four consecutive scoreless innings, giving up just two hits and a walk between them to give the Mets a 3-2 win.
However, where pitching has been so much the story since Cap’s game on Friday, the hitting was the story today.
Reyes collected his 51st multi-hit game of the year in 102 games played, giving him the lead in that category once again despite all the time he’s missed. I have to say, his legs look great. He stretched a bloop into a double in the 7th and, in the at-bat before that, rolled over one to the right of the pitcher but ran it out hard despite virtually no chance of a hit…though with the Marlins defense, who knows.
Wright had a big game, going 2-for-3 with two doubles off the high wall in left, the second of which is a home run in almost any park in the league, but such is life in the big Citi. One interesting note. Keith remarked that, perhaps unconsciously, Wright looks like he’s backed off the plate a little in his stance. When he first returned from the DL and was arguably the hottest hitter in the league, it was noticeable how on top of the plate he was and he was spraying hits everywhere. I hope someone lets him know he’s backed off that approach a little bit and maybe he can get back to it.
Jason Bay, mired in a horrific streak of just 2 hit in his last 45 at bats, had a big night at the plate, collecting 3 hits, including a double. To be honest, the first two hits were pretty fortunate…an infield single and another off the pitcher, but I have a feeling he’ll take ‘em how he can get ‘em. With a .182 average with RISP, Bay was actually slotted 6th today in the lineup behind Pagan, who is sporting a .315 average with RISP, likely the reason for the odd configuration. Regardless, it was Bay’s first multi-hit game since August 12th, so congratulations I guess.
But the story for the Mets tonight was no doubt Lucas Duda. Getting his first chance at hitting 3rd in the lineup, Duda came up to bat in the bottom of the 7th in a tie game. In came Mike Dunn, who has been called upon each of the last two days to retire Duda and retire him he has. After falling behind 0-2, Duda worked a full count in an 8-pitch at-bat and lined a hit up the middle, scoring Reyes from second. Duda advanced to second on a poor throw home from the outfield, showing great awareness. It is just the latest way Duda has matured. He has developed somewhat of a mini-penchant for late-game heroics and has improved dramatically in a short amount of time against southpaws. Most importantly, a lot of this maturation has come with him playing in the outfield regularly and while maintaining a focus and discipline rarely seen on teams just trying to save a .500 season. Barring huge setbacks, Duda has truly been a bright spot this year.
It should be noted that the whole team did the little things today. There was great defense, particularly behind Parnell for the last two outs of the game, Cap kept his team in it despite clearly lacking his best stuff, and even a hitless Tejada was able to lay down a flawless bunt when the team needed him to.
Additionally, there was some good news off the field regarding Ike. The team had said they would make a decision by Labor Day (Monday) regarding possible surgery on his ankle (in order that he be ready for 2012) but, as things look now, Ike will be joining the team in Florida on Monday and resuming baseball activities. Apparently the ankle has been progressing rather nicely and isn’t causing him any pain when he runs. Good news all around.
The Mets will try to collect their 4th win in this 5-game set tomorrow behind Miguel Batista…should be interesting.