8/23 Recap: Tigers Maul Daisuke Matsuzaka Early; Mets Offense Musters Little Agaisnt Fister In 6-1 Loss


The Warm-Up:

I’m already on record saying I am through with inter-league play, but at the risk of sounding like a hypocrite, I was nonetheless very much looking forward towards tonight’s match-up and this weekend’s series against the A.L. Central leading Detroit Tigers.

Carlos Torres was originally scheduled to make tonight’s start against Detroit’s Doug Fister.  That plan changed when the Mets acquired right-hand pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka from the Cleveland Indians organization.  The soon to be thirty-three year old has spent the 2013 season pitching for the Columbus Clippers of the International League, where he compiled a 5-8 record in nineteen starts and 103.1 innings pitched.  He posted a pedestrian 3.92 ERA and a 1.277 WHiP.  Daisuke struck out ninety-five batters for a 8.3 K/9 average.  Tonight was his first major league start of the 2013 regular season, coming on just three days rest.

Aug 23, 2013; New York, NY, USA; Detroit Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera (24) hits a home run to left allowing two runners to score during the second inning against the New York Mets at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Doug Fister, 29, is one of those guys who bats left and throws right.  Making his twenty-sixth start of the season, he brought a 10-6 record and 3.63 ERA into the game.  Doug Fister also just happens to lead the American League in hit batsmen, with fifteen.

Before arriving in Flushing, the Tigers (74-53) concluded an eight game home stand against the Kansas City Royals and Minnesota Twins, in which they posted a 4-4 record.  After a day off, the Mets entered Friday night’s game with a 58-67 record.  They posted a 15-12 record in July, but have slumped to 10-10 thus far in August.

Here’s the line-up Coach Terry devised for tonight’s game against right-hander Doug Fister: LF-Eric Young; 2B-Daniel Murphy; RF-Marlon Byrd; 1B-Ike Davis; 3B-Wilmer Flores; CF-Juan Lagares; C-Travis d’Arnaud; SS-Omar Quintanilla; SP-Daisuke Matsuzaka.

Play Ball!

Top One – At 7:12pm, Daisuke Matsuzaka’s threw his first pitch as a member of the Mets to lead-off batter Austin Jackson – a fastball outside for ball one.  He then made Jackson his first strikeout victim.  The next batter wasn’t so gracious.  Right fielder Torii Hunter pulled a Matsuzaka fastball deep into the left field seats for an early 1-0 Tigers lead. Third baseman Miguel Cabrera and first baseman Prince Fielder then followed with back to back singles up the middle.  Catcher Victor Martinez stepped-in versus Daisuke, and popped a shallow fly to Juan Lagares for the second out.  Matsuzaka again escaped further damage by getting left fielder Don Kelly to pop-up to Flores at third.

Bottom One – Doug Fister’s first pitch to Eric Young was a ball.  Young then lined a single to center field, and promptly stole second base on the first delivery to Daniel Murphy.  When Murph hit a comebacker fielded by Fister, Young got caught between bases, but lasted long enough for Murphy to take second base on the play.  That was key, because Marlon Byrd then singled to left, sending Murphy home with the tying run.  Ike Davis and Wilmer Flores left Byrd stranded at first.

Top Two – With two on and two outs in the top of the second, Torii Hunter launched his second extra-base hit to straight away center field – one bounce over the wall.  That scored second baseman Omar Infante.  Still with two on and two outs, Miguel Cabrera then pulled his forty-first home run of the season, just inside the left field foul pole for a 5-1 Tigers lead.

Through four innings pitched, Daisuke Matsuzaka had allowed five earned runs on six hits, walked one and struck out three.  He was up to seventy-three pitches, forty-eight for strikes, which worked out to a 66% rate of effectiveness.  Starting with Prince Fielder in the second, Dice-K retired seven batters in a row heading into the fifth.  He then retired the Tigers in order to make it ten straight.  That ended his night.  Mike Baxter pinch-hit for Dice-K in the bottom of the fifth.  Daisuke threw eighty-six total pitches on the night, and set his season ERA at a 9.00 mark before departing on the losing side of a 5-1 game.

Carlos Torres entered the game he was originally slated to start in the sixth inning, in relief of Matsuzaka.

The Mets threatened Doug Fister in the bottom of the sixth.  Marlon Byrd doubled, and with one out, Wilmer Flores singled him over to third.  But Juan Lagares grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning without plating a run.

Top Seven – Austin Jackson crushed a Carlos Torres flatball into the left field seats to give Detroit a 6-1 lead; the Tigers third home run of the game.

Omar Quintanilla got the Mets eighth hit off Fister in the bottom of the seventh.  When Fister walked pinch-hitter Andrew Brown setting up first and second with one out, manager Jim Leyland made the move to relieve his starter.  Drew Smyly entered from Detroit’s bullpen to face Eric Young, and struck him out.  With two on and two outs, Daniel Murphy flied to right.

Reliever Pedro Feliciano entered the game in the eighth inning.  After two outs, David Aardsma was brought in, and completed the scoreless frame.  Aardsma stayed in for the ninth.

Detroit’s Bruce Rondon entered to close out the ninth inning against the Mets.  After allowing a two out double to Eric Young, Daniel Murphy flied-out to Don Kelly in left, giving the Detroit Tigers their seventy-fifth victory of the season.

Daisuke Matsuzaka suffered his first major league loss of the season.  The Mets dropped ten games below .500, with a 58-68 record.

Mets lose Game One of three by a 6-1 final.


  • Answering right back in the first inning off Doug Fister.  The rest of the game is another matter.
  • Defense – Nice play by Wilmer Flores in the second inning, diving to his left, but was unable to manage a throw – immediately followed by Eric Young’s nice diving catch.  Juan Lagares went back well on a ball in the top of the fourth.  As we have learned, Juan Lagares plays a shallow center field, but I will not hold Torii Hunter’s second inning double over his head against him.  Omar Quintanilla saved Pedro Feliciano’s pelt in the eighth inning, with a splendid stretch to receive an errant throw to second base from the pitcher.
  • Eric Young – 3 for 5, double.  Twenty-one stolen bases in fifty-six games with the Mets; twenty-nine for the season.
  • Marlon Byrd – seventy-first RBI in 114th game of season.  He is now slugging .527 this season.
  • Wilmer Flores – 3 for 4, is now batting an even .300 since being called up.

Low Lights:

  • First of all, I’m aghast the Mets issued #16 to Daisuke Matsuzaka!
  • Daisuke’s first major league start of the 2013 season began horribly, then leveled out, and ended honorably.  On that note, all the Mets could muster against Doug Fister were six scattered hits through six innings.  Fister was up to 101 pitches at that point, and even took his turn at-bat in the top of the seventh.  The Mets had no answer after Detroit’s second inning barrage.  They suffered an overall lack of two-out hitting, and left ten runners on base for the game.
  • Travis d’Arnaud – producer of five outs in four official at-bats.  He erased a lead-off walk to Lagares by grounding into a double-play, later stranded a runner on second with two outs, then grounded weakly to first base.  With yet another runner on second with two outs in the eighth, the young catcher popped to left.  He stranded a total of five runners this evening.  Welcome to the big leagues kid.
  • Ike Davis struck out twice in four rather ugly times at-bat.
  • With tonight’s loss, the Mets fall to 10-11 for the month of August.


  • If you were one of the lucky – the first 26,000 fans in line at Citi Field this evening received a Jay Horwitz Bobble Head.  The Mets’ Tsar of PR is in his thirty-fourth year of service with the club.  Tonight’s was a well deserved honor and tribute.
  • I hope everyone who stayed after the game for the free Third Eye Blind concert, enjoyed themselves.


Game Two, scheduled for Saturday afternoon, features a classic match-up.  Detroit’s Max Scherzer will climb the hill for the Tigers, opposed by Matt Harvey for the Mets.

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