Can Jenrry Mejia follow up his fantastic outing in Washington against the surprisingly-decent Miami Marlins? Can the Mets secure a .500 road trip despite losing 3/4 to Washington? Can the Marlins make it home before curfew? Let’s find out:
Eric Young Jr. led off the game with a drag bunt, but was thrown out by a Henderson Alvarez glove flip. Murphy grounded out to first, and David Wright grounded to third to give Alvarez a 1-2-3 first inning. Mejia, pitching the bottom half of the inning, allowed a leadoff single to Christian Yelich, who rolled a ball quickly up the middle. Placido Polanco, playing for the first time this series, did him a favor though. Polanco put a ball to the same spot, but Daniel Murphy made a good stop and flipped to Omar Quintanilla who successfully turned the double play. Giancarlo Stanton walked and advanced to second on a wild pitch, but Logan Morrison lined out to Quintanilla to end the frame.
Marlon Byrd, still a Met, struck a line drive double over Polanco’s head to the left field corner. Ike Davis broke his bat on a ground ball to shortstop. With Ed Lucas playing there instead of Adeiny Hechavarria, he beat it out for an infield hit. John Buck, as he did in the second inning last night, grounded into a 6-4-3 double play as Marlon Byrd advanced to third. Juan Lagares shattered his bat on the first pitch grounding out to the pitcher to end the frame.
Ed Lucas, who broke up last night’s no-hitter in the seventh, struck out to open the Marlins’ second inning. Donovan Solano grounded to shortstop, but rookie Jake Marisnick homered to left to open scoring. Daniel Murphy made another good stop on a Rob Brantly grounder to end the second.
Omar Quintanilla grounded to shortstop for the first out. Jenrry Mejia struck out on three pitches. Eric Young tripled to deep right center. The ball, having bounced off the top of the fence, sent the umpires back into the review booth to confirm their call, as it appeared Eric Young was about half an inch shy of tying the game. Unfortunately, he wouldnt’ score as Daniel Murphy walked and David Wright flied out to right. Henderson Alvarez, leading off the third, rolled a ball about 20 feet and beat out an awkward throw from Mejia. Yelich doubled over the head of Young on the next pitch. Placido Polanco flied out to right to bring in the second run and move Yelich to third base. Giancarlo Stanton skied one to right to bring in Yelich and make it 3-0 Miami. Logan Morrison would ground out to end the third with an expanded lead.
Jul 31, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jenrry Mejia (left) talks with catcher John Buck (right) during the first inning against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Alvarez would’ve pitched a 1-2-3 fourth inning, but Ed Lucas couldn’t handle a routine grounder from John Buck with two outs. Lucas would make up for it with a strong throw to beat Juan Lagares immediately afterward. Lucas then struck out swinging to open the bottom of the fourth, Solano watched a slider for strike three, and Marisnick grounded to third for a quick 1-2-3 inning for Mejia.
Omar Quintanilla blooped a ball just beyond Lucas at shortstop for a leadoff single in the fifth. Jenrry Mejia, for a second start, sacrificed into a double play (that was turned due to Mejia slowing short of first base). Eric Young grounded to second to give Alvarez a five-pitch inning. Rob Brantly grounded out to Ike Davis before Henderson Alvarez blooped his second single to right. A Christian Yelich grounder to Ike Davis turned into an error as Ike’s throw went wide of Omar Quintanilla at second. Placido Polanco flied to right, but too shallow for Alvarez to score. Giancarlo Stanton grounded to third on a full count to end the threat without a score.
Henderson got a pair of quick outs in the sixth before Marlon Byrd beat out an infield single. Ike Davis, on the ninth pitch of the at bat, drilled a double to deep right to score Byrd from first and get the Mets on the board. John Buck grounded out to end the threat there. Logan Morrison lined out again, with Ike Davis only having to raise his arm to record the out. Ed Lucas would work a nine-pitch at bat of his own, but nonetheless struck out a third time. Donovan Solano looped the next pitch into right for a hit, but Jake Marisnick then grounded out softly to Quintanilla to end the frame.
Juan Lagares took some lumps to start the seventh, fouling a ball off his foot a pitch before being drilled in the elbow. Omar Quintanilla worked a 3-1 count before grounding into a potentially-rally-killing double play. Andrew Brown pinch hit for Mejia to end his night and flew out to end the seventh. Scott Rice pitched the seventh and struck out the side (Brantly, Alvarez, Yelich) on 13 pitches.
Eric Young walked to lead off the eighth on five pitches. Daniel Murphy worked a deep count and lined to Polanco at third. Polanco dropped what could’ve been a double play grounder, and Young was able to advance to third and force Alvarez from the game. Chad Qualls‘ second pitch went past the catcher, and Young’s baserunning paid off as he came into bring the Mets within one run. David Wright singled two pitches later to get the tying run on base. Wright would steal second (his 17th steal of the year) with Marlon Byrd at bat. Byrd sent a ball deep to left center, but Marisnick was able to run it down. With Mike Redmond moving for lefty Mike Dunn, Terry Collins chose to pinch hit Josh Satin for Ike Davis, but it didn’t work out as Satin flied to left for the third out.
Carlos Torres, Saturday’s scheduled starter, came in to pitch the bottom of the eighth. It shouldn’t cause any issues with his schedule though – he retired Polanco, Stanton, and Morrison on only 8 pitches.
Dunn, staying in to pitch the ninth, allowed a leadoff single to John Buck. Juan Lagares, after fouling off a few pitches, struck out on a 96 mph fastball. Justin Turner, pinch hitting for Quintanilla, flied deep to right, but Giancarlo Stanton was able to run it down for the second hit. Anthony Recker, in the pitcher’s spot, fouled off a few pitches but failed to put a ball in play as Dunn struck him out to end the game.
> Jenrry Mejia didn’t have his best stuff today, but he still battled effectively for a quality start. He allowed 7 baserunners (6 hits, 1 walk). His ERA stands at 2.08 through 2 starts, with 11 strikeouts against 13 hits and a walk in 13 innings. 60 of his 96 pitches were strikes (compared to 66 of 96 against Washington).
> Ike Davis is hitting again. Since his recall: .242/.382/.355; Since the All-Star Break: .278/.409/.472.
> Omar Quintanilla is not. Then again, he hasn’t been hitting for quite some time. He’s hitting .199/.298/.257 since June 5th.
> The Mets bullpen had a fantastic July – 2.15 ERA in 96.1 innings.
Though Mejia wasn’t great, there was still reason for encouragement from his start today. He battled back in big spots (namely the fifth inning) and kept the Mets in the game. He maintained his velocity and (in my non-scout opinion) a consistent delivery. There’s still a bit of reservation as it’s been two starts against two sub-par offenses, but there looks to be plenty of reason for optimism going forward. Should Mejia pan out to his rediscovered potential, it offers the Mets the ability to move Dillon Gee or Jeremy Hefner, giving them better ammunition to acquire an outfielder this offseason.