Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Game of the Day (7/7/14)

Mets 4, Braves 3 (11). Atlanta's Mike Minor faced off with New York's Daisuke Matsuzaka. Daisuke is apparently 33 years old. That doesn't feel right to me, but the trouble is that I can't tell whether it seems like he should be older or younger.

Matsuzaka worked into and out of trouble in both the first (two-out singles by Freddie Freeman and Justin Upton) and second (a Chris Johnson walk and a Tommy La Stella single) innings; his escape in the second was particularly notable, as Minor flied to left and the lead runner was doubled off of second. Minor, meanwhile, was spotless in the first, but walked Eric Campbell and allowed an RBI double to Travis d'Arnaud in the second to open the scoring.

The Braves rallied again in the third on singles by Andrelton Simmons and Freeman, but Matsuzaka eluded danger yet again, and a David Wright homer in the bottom of the inning doubled the lead. The game calmed from there, as the starters combined to allow only a lone walk over the next two innings. Upton led off the sixth with a double and would make it to third, but Matsuzaka left him there, and the perfection resumed until the end of the seventh.

Vic Black relieved in the top of the eighth and allowed a one-out double to Freeman, who moved to third on a groundout. Josh Edgin replaced Black and threw a wild pitch that scored Freeman, then allowed a single to Jason Heyward and was removed in favor of Jenrry Mejia. Mejia served a game-tying double to Johnson, intentionally walked La Stella, and gave up a go-ahead RBI single to Christian Bethancourt on which La Stella was also thrown out at third to end the inning. New York quickly tied the game in the bottom of the inning when Curtis Granderson homered against Luis Avilan.

Mejia permitted a Simmons single and a Freeman walk, but worked a scoreless ninth. Campbell greeted Shae Simmons with a single in the bottom of the inning, and Juan Lagares reached on an error by Simmons the shortstop. Pinch hitter Lucas Duda and d'Arnaud both hit into forces at third, Ruben Tejada walked to load the bases, and Eric Young Jr. hit into another force to end the inning and send the game to extras.

Carlos Torres threw a 1-2-3 top of the tenth, while Simmons the pitcher walked Granderson and struck out David Murphy before Anthony Varvaro relieved and got a double play from Wright. Torres managed around a BJ Upton single in the top of the eleventh, and the Mets scored the game-winner on a Lagares double and a Tejada single in the bottom of the inning.

The Mets had another one of those games that I seem to keep running into this year: no Met player had more than one hit (seven had one exactly), but they still came out on top. Of course, a lot of this has to do with the fact that they got a pair of solo homers; most of the rest of it comes courtesy of Daisuke Matsuzaka's seven scoreless innings, only his second scoreless start since 2011.

Matsuzaka's career arc has been unusual to say the least. He's been in the majors since 2007, and he has yet to have consecutive years with an ERA starting with the same number. They have gone 4-2-5-4-5-8-4-3, with the 3 being to this point in 2014. That makes me wonder who holds the longest such stretch in baseball history, not that I expect to actually find the answer to that question.

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