In this afternoon’s rubber game at Citi Field, the Mets fell to the Dodgers 3-2.
Jeremy Hefner opened things in the first by drilling Carl Crawford on an 0-2 pitch. That led directly to the first run of the game, as Matt Kemp plated Crawford (who had moved to second on a groundout) later in the frame to give the Dodgers an early 1-0 lead.
With both Hefner and Hyun-jin Ryu throwing up zeroes, it remained 1-0 Los Angeles until the bottom of the sixth. After Ruben Tejada led off the inning with a walk, Daniel Murphy followed with a single. After Tejada aggressively advanced to third on a wild pitch, David Wright drove him in with a sac fly to center to make it 1-1.
Both Ruben Tejada and Daniel Murphy reached to open the eighth against Kenley Jansen, but the Mets failed to capitalize. David Wright struck out, Lucas Duda flew out to right, and Marlon Byrd struck out to end the inning as the game remained tied heading into the ninth.
In the ninth, instead of going to his closer, Terry Collins opted to have 14 year minor leaguer Scott Rice face the heart of the Dodgers’ order. He allowed a leadoff double to weak hitting Nick Punto before inducing a groundout from Adrian Gonzalez. After intentionally walking Matt Kemp, Rice gave up an RBI single to Andre Ethier as the Dodgers went up 2-1. Bobby Parnell then entered and induced a weak roller off the bat of Juan Uribe that went for an infield single as the Dodgers increased their lead to 3-1. Parnell escaped the jam by generating a 5-5-3 double play.
Ike Davis led off the ninth with a solo homer to get the Mets within 3-2. They would get no closer, and they dropped both the game and the series to Los Angeles.
- Jeremy Hefner got the start for the Mets and pitched quite well over his seven innings of work. He gave up one run (which scored after a HBP in the first) on three hits. He walked three, and struck out four. With today’s performance, Hefner lowered his ERA almost two full runs to 5.14.
- Lucas Duda hit cleanup for the first time this season, and went 1 for 4. He should’ve been 1 for 3 with a walk, but one of his at bats ended when he was called out on a 3-2 pitch that was a foot outside.
- Brandon Lyon came on in relief of Hefner to start the eighth, and retired the only two hitters he faced.
- Ike Davis hit a solo homer in the ninth.
- Instead of going to his closer in a tie game in the ninth, Terry Collins opted to have Scott Rice start the inning. That puzzling move cost the Mets the game today.
Today’s top of the ninth is a prime example why Terry Collins should not get the chance to manage the Mets beyond 2013. Instead of going to his closer in a tie game in the ninth (with the Dodgers’ heart of the order coming up), Collins instead chose to have Scott Rice open the inning (an inexcusable move). Rice promptly gave up the lead. It was then that Collins decided to bring Parnell in – after the damage was done. It was atrocious bullpen management, one of Collins’ many deficiencies, and it cost the Mets the ballgame.
After an uneven first inning and despite walking Juan Uribe three times (a tough feat to accomplish), Jeremy Hefner pitched very well today. It was the best his stuff has looked all season, and should take some pressure off of him as far as potentially losing his spot in the rotation is concerned.