Daisuke Matsuzaka slowly started his second game for the Mets tonight. He slowly pitched in and out of trouble, loading the bases twice in the first three innings, needing 82 very slow pitches to get the first 9 very slow outs. (I’m going to keep doing this. Matsuzaka pitches so slowly, in fact, that SNY put up a clock between two pitches in the top of the third – 44 seconds).
Aug 28, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka (16) reacts after a pitch is called a ball during the third inning of a game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Meanwhile, the Mets struggled to get anything going early. Juan Lagares and Justin Turner each doubled, but were both stranded at second base. The bottom half of the third began with Matsuzaka slowly lining a single to right center. Eric Young flared a ball that Bernadina couldn’t catch, but Matsuzaka was slowly caught between bases and forced out at second base.
For a change of pace, Young then stole his 22nd base as a Met (30 overall in 2013) with Lagares batting. Juan Lagares worked a deep count and an unintentional walk (only his 10th). Andrew Brown would pop out to Carlos Ruiz, but Eric Young would advance by virtue of Jimmy Rollins failing to cover third base. Ike Davis, who struck out in his first at bat, went with an outside fastball to line an RBI single to left field. Josh Satin, on the next pitch, launched a ball to deep left field only to have it caught by a sprinting Pete Orr.
Orr would lead off with a single, advance to second on Hamels’ sacrifice, and come around to score on a Jimmy Rollins double that got past Eric Young Jr. in left field. Fortunately for the Mets, Rollins would be thrown out trying for a triple to end the frame. All of this, of course, happened very slowly.
Flores opened the bottom half of the fourth (it’s just the fourth inning…) by striking out. Justin Turner followed with his second hit, a single to left, but Travis d’Arnaud struck out and Matsuzaka grounded out (slowly, of course) to shortstop to end the frame.
After a fly out by Chase Utley, Ruiz singled to right. Michael Young followed that up with a ground rule double, and Cody Asche worked a slow walk. For the third inning, Daisuke loaded the bases with only one out. Making quick work of it (for once), Matsuzaka beaned John Mayberry Jr. with a pitch to bring in the leading run and end his day. Robert Carson would come in and face Darin Ruf, who would fight back from a 3-1 count to strike out (swinging at a pair of pitches well outside the zone). Carson’s pace, unfortunately, isn’t a whole lot better than Matsuzaka’s. The over/under on tonight’s game ending is 11 PM. I’m not optimistic.
Cole Hamels would line a two-run single off Carson, with Asche narrowly beating an offline throw by Young. In traditional too-little-too-late fashion, Carson would then get Roger Bernadina to ground out and end the inning. Eric Young flashed his speed again by beating out an infield single. Cole Hamels did his best to slow it back down with several throws to first before pitching to Juan Lagares who eventually popped out. Not that it would matter, as Young would still steal second base. Brown popped up to follow, and Ike Davis struck out for the second time to end the fifth.
Jimmy Rollins flew out to center, and Chase Utley flew out to left for Carson to get a pair of quick outs before Carlos Ruiz hit a home run inside the left field line. The time is now 9:29 PM, which is when last night’s game ended. Cody Asche then quickly flew out to center to end it.
Cody Asche, who led off the seventh against David Aardsma, pulled up lame with hamstring pain after singling to right center. We also got a look at Wilmer Flores‘ glove on defense, as the ball skipped cleanly under his glove on the play. John Mayberry singled to left to follow it up. Darin Ruf flew out to a running Eric Young, and Cole Hamels popped out to d’Arnaud on a bunt, and Roger Bernadina struck out to strand the pair of runners.
Daniel Murphy had a pinch hit single to lead off the 7th, and was moved two second on a sacrifice-that-wasn’t by Eric Young Jr. Daniel Murphy then needlessly stole third. Juan Lagares struck out on a pitch a foot outside. Andrew Brown then scored him with a double to left center, but Ike Davis was rung up on a slider that appeared low and outside.
Scott Atchison was double-switched for Ike Davis to pitch the eighth, and struck out Jimmy Rollins on three pitches. Chase Utley hit a grounder up the middle which Justin Turner was able to get to but not in time to make a throw. Carlos Ruiz flew to straightaway center field, and Michael Young grounded out to Turner at short to end the frame. Philly’s reliever B.J. Rosenberg came on and retired the side in order to send it to the ninth.
Atchison ran into some trouble in the ninth, as John McDonald reached on a Wilmer Flores error. A ground out moved him to second, and a Darin Ruf single would move him to third. Kevin Frandsen, pinch hitting for Rosenberg, reached on an error by Scott Atchison. Pedro Feliciano entered and retired Roger Bernadina and Jimmy Rollins to end the threat.
Lefty Jakob Diekman came on to pitch the ninth for the Phillies in the non-save situation, retiring the Mets in order to seal the win.
> At least Daisuke struck out five. He seems like Aaron Laffey on slo-mo.
> Robert Carson, who allowed two inherited runners to score and a home run the following inning, saw his ERA drop from 8.50 to 8.24.
The pitch that was clocked by SNY was 44 seconds. Things that have occured in less time: Michael Johnson‘s world record 400m dash (43.18 seconds), former Met Luis Hernandez‘ broken foot home run trot (33.08 seconds), the SNY rain delay time lapse (28 seconds), the four fastest 100m dash times combined (38.68 seconds), Wally Backman‘s ejection in this famous video (31 seconds – I’m starting at 1:02, when Backman begins to walk from the dugout).
But seriously. Tonight was rough to watch. Daisuke Matsuzaka takes a ton of time between his pitches, which would be fine if he threw more strikes. The Mets will try to split the series tomorrow, sending Carlos Torres to the mound at 1:10 against Ethan Martin.