After dropping Thursday night’s final series opener to Milwaukee by a 4-2 final, The Flushing Nine took on the Brewers this evening in the last Friday night game of the year. Join me now, and welcome to Rising Apple’s 160th post-game recap of the 2013 regular season.
Carlos Torres climbed the mound for the home team. Making his only ninth start and thirty-third appearance of the season, Carlos entered tonight’s game with a 4-5 record and 3.36 ERA in 80.1 innings pitched. He hurled six innings against Philadelphia in his previous start, allowed two earned runs on seven hits, walked three and struck out six for the victory. Opposing Torres this evening was right-hander Yovani Gallardo, who made his thirty-first start of the season and brought an 11-10 record and 4.23 ERA into the game.
Here’s the somewhat unconventional line-up submitted by Terry Collins for this evening’s game: LF-Eric Young; 1B-Lucas Duda; 2B-Daniel Murphy; 3B-Justin Turner; RF-Andrew Brown; CF-Juan Lagares; C-Travis d’Arnaud; SS-Wilfredo Tovar; SP-Carlos Torres.
OPINION: Lucas Duda has no business batting second. For argument sake, and to have some fun, here’s the line-up I would have submitted: 1) Young; 2) Tovar; 3) Murphy; 4) Duda; 5) Lagares; 6) Turner; 7) d’Arnaud; 8) Brown; 9) Torres.
For this particular selection of players, I like Andrew Brown’s production potential in the eighth slot, where he would also protect d’Arnaud. Murphy would provide protection for Tovar, and Turner would likewise protect Lagares in the order.
Carlos Torres delivered his first pitch of the evening at 7:11pm – a ball to lead-off batter Norichika Aoki. Milwaukee’s right fielder then jerked Torres’ third pitch of the game into the right field seats for a quick 1-0 Brewers lead. Second baseman Scooter Gannett followed and struck out swinging, but reached first base safely due to a wild pitch on strike three. With one out, clean-up hitter Khris Davis then dug in, and deposited a Carlos Torres offering into the left field seats for a very quick 3-0 Brewers lead.
Justin Turner and Andrew Brown led-off the bottom of the second with consecutive singles that set up runners on the corners. Juan Lagares lifted a fly to center field, on which Turner tagged-up from third, scoring the Mets first run of the evening.
After suffering through first inning troubles, Carlos Torres settled down considerably. Through five frames, Torres was still at three earned runs on three hits. He walked no batters and struck out six. His pitch count was up to seventy-five, with fifty-two going for strikes, for a rate of sixty-nine percent, and was averaging fifteen pitches per inning. Through five, Gallardo still had the Mets limited to a run on four hits, while walking no batters and striking out five.
With one out in the home sixth, Lucas Duda stroked a single to right. Daniel Murphy then smacked a ground rule double the other way – one bounce over the wall. Justin Turner followed with a bouncer deep in the hole. Duda broke right away from third and scored, while Turner beat shortstop Jeff Bianchi‘s throw to first. With runners on the corners and less than two outs, Andrew Brown took his turn against Yovani Gallardo, and drew a walk to load the bases. Then up came Juan Lagares, who struck out on three pitches. With the Mets needing a clutch two out hit, the bat was taken out of Travis d’Arnaud’s hands when Daniel Murphy tried scoring on a pitch in the dirt, which catcher Martin Maldonado did well enough to block and tag Murphy out attempting home. The inning came to an abrupt end with the Mets still trailing by a 3-2 score.
As luck would have it, Martin Maldonado led off the top of the seventh inning with a home run off reliever Scott Atchison, deep off the second deck façade for a 4-2 Milwaukee lead.
The Mets faced Milwaukee reliever Jim Henderson in the bottom of the ninth, and went down quietly to earn their eighty-seventh defeat of the season. Starter Carlos Torres was tagged for the loss.
- Carlos Torres threw a ball into the upper deck. No one really knows why, but it added a touch of quirkiness to the night.
- I just feel like reminding everyone that Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun is serving a suspension for PED use. #ScarletLetter
- The Goat – Not only was Daniel Murphy’s scurry home in the sixth ill advised, his attempt to somersault over catcher Martin Maldonado’s tag could have ended in a senseless injury. I love his spirit, but that was just dumb at this point of the season. The play itself took the bat out of Travis d’Arnaud’s hands with the bases loaded. A base hit in that situation could have been all the difference tonight.
- Carlos Torres’ first inning of work ruined an otherwise very good start. He threw exactly 100 pitches in six innings, allowed three earned runs on just four hits, walked one and struck out seven, but was victimized by two early home runs. His record fell to 4-6 on the season, while his ERA climbed slightly to a 3.44 mark.
- In consecutive games, the Mets have posted a pair of two-run, eight-hit losses, out-hitting Milwaukee each time. The Mets and Brewers now have identical 73-87 records. The Mets home record fell to a 32-47 mark – ponderous.
- Lucas Duda, 2 for 4, continues to be an army of one - getting hits with no runners on base.
Game Three versus the visiting Brewers is scheduled for Saturday at 4:10pm. Aaron Harang will take the ball to the hill for the Mets, and will be opposed by Milwaukee’s Jimmy Nelson. And don’t forget, Sunday is Mike Piazza‘s Mets Hall of Fame Day at Citi Field.