“There’s no question, we’ll see both bullpens tonight” – Rich Waltz, April 29th, 2013.
The opening game of the New York Mets and Miami Marlins series saw both bullpens and more. After five and a half hours, the game saw:
- A somewhat disappointing Matt Harvey/Jose Fernandez duel
- 106 at-bats
- 16 pitchers
- Only one (meaningless) error
- Another John Buck homerun
- The emergence of Nick Green: The Hero
The game can be separated into three parts: The Harvey/Fernandez matchup, the bullpens, and extra innings.
-Part One: The Match Up-
The main attraction for the game should have been the match up of the young, talents of Fernandez and Harvey, grinding it out for their rebuilding franchises. Fernandez, unfortunately, returned to his throwing-over-pitching ways this evening and lasted only 4.0 innings. He let up two runs on three hits and three walks in his outing, and racked up a quick 81 pitches because of his command troubles. Despite the apparent command issues, the 2-run shot from John Buck was the only damage done.
The Mets gave Harvey a longer leash than Fernandez, or perhaps feared the consequence of their bullpen, as Harvey needed 121 pitches for 5.1 innings of work. Harvey’s seven hits and seven strikeouts also contributed to his pitch count. His one run came on a Giancarlo Stanton GIDP. The score would be 2-1, Mets as both teams reached into their bullpens.
-Part Two: The Bullpens-
Most of the headlines will use the word “grind” do describe the evening’s epic, and part two is the reason. With runners on first and second, the Mets burned the lefty Robert Carson to retire fellow lefty Rob Brantly. The next out was assigned to Scott Atchison to induce a Nick Green pop out to end the inning and the Marlins scoring opportunity. The score stayed 2-1 Mets going into the sixth.
Tom Koehler relieved Fernandez in the fifth inning, and worked 3.0 scoreless innings while racking up five strikeouts. Scoreless appearances from A.J. Ramos and Ryan Webb brought the Marlins into the 9th.
Justin Ruggiano led off the bottom of the ninth with a double to right center field. A bloop single from Rob Brantly and a Nick Green sac fly scored Ruggiano, 2-2 game. Pinch hitting for pitcher Ryan Webb, Chris Coghlan grounded into a double play, ending the ninth.
-Part Three: Extras-
A lot of times when headlines use the word “grind,” it’s an underhanded insult. Sure, displaying MLB-caliber talent for nearly a fourth of a 24-hour day is an impressive achievement, but the word usually implies that the baseball played wasn’t the highest of quality.
Both teams combined for twelve stranded base-runners in their six innings of extra play.
With the bullpen depleted, the Mets had Shaun Marcum pitching, and this is where Miami stole the game. Greg Dobbs singled and managed to score on two straight pop ups almost identical to their 9th inning run. A Rob Brantly bloop single, and a Nick Green sac fly. 2-3 Marlins. Nick Green is a hero, Giancarlo Stanton is hurt, and the Marlins do it all again at 7:10 p.m. ET.