“Bad Bullpen. Bad, bad Bullpen. You will go to your room and not come out until you feel like you can throw strikes like your brother, Starter.”
Yes, it was one of those nights. Josh Johnson vs. Johan Santana, fighting tooth and nail, neither gave an inch for six full innings. Gut check baseball with pressure on all players to not be the one that blows a tight game wide open because of a mistake. And then, a late-inning defensive collapse.
Josh Johnson looked as good tonight as he ever has, still pushing his fastball over in the mid-90’s, and with excellent ball placement. His go-to pitch alternated between a slider that started out over the plate and broke inside to the lefties, and that deceptive curve ball that had righties lunging forward fir their final swing. He threw nine K’s with no runs scored, although his first walk of the night wound up being charged to his account.
Then, for the last out of the seventh inning, out came the teeny, tiny little cars driving in crazy circles and the relievers with the bulbous noses, orange hair and big floppy shoes. J.J. gave up his first walk of the night, and the upcoming batting order was heavy with lefties. Ozzie decided it was time for J.J. to sit down, although you could see that there was a brief plea for a stay of sentence when Ozzie went to the mound. In came the Ball Parade. Choate, Cishek, and Dunn couldn’t find an out between them, and the tying run was walked across the plate in four straight batters. Stanton squeaked across the plate under a questionably called tag put on by Thole. He was on first, and Gaby Sanchez roped a double off of the left-center wall. It was a well-hit ball and there’s no doubt that Stanton is all athlete, but 270’ was almost too much, and he likely wouldn’t have kept the run if the umpire was standing with a clearer view.
With last night’s game scoreless until the top of the seventh, both the Marlins and the Mets seem to be in a race to supply the least run support for their terrific starting rotations, with the Mets having a slight advantage; Santana has zero supporting runs this season.
After walking across the tying run, Mike Dunn finally registered the third out of the Infamous Seventh. Edward Mujica started the eighth for us, and promptly went back to the dugout when he had a Marvel Comics flashback and attempted to stop a speeding bullet coming off of Lucas Duda’s bat. The shot ricocheted off of Mujica’s pitching hand (The team website reports the X-rays were negative), bringing in Ryan Webb to close the eighth. Unfortunately, the Mets scored on the Mujica deflection, giving them the go-ahead run.
Our lackluster offense couldn’t produce in the top of the ninth, so everyone got a good nights’ sleep, damnit.
Tonight, our collection of Pedro Cerrano’s face the knuckleballs of R.A. Dickey, and Mark Buehrle will try and keep the Met’s run support stat in the cellar. While Sanchez, Bonifacio, and Infante all have respectable batting averages, we need to have Hanley and Giancarlo start administering their special brand of coups de grace. Dickey has been giving up the long ball lately, posting 11 earned runs and five homers so far this season.
Prediction: Marlins by three. Buehrle with silence the Mets offense again, and Dickey’s K-ball won’t be enough to carry the day.