DISASTER AVERTED, OR JUST DELAYED, FOR METS?
Added by Guy Kipp on May 2, 2013.
Jordany Valdespin saved the Mets once again with a pinch-hit home run on Wednesday. (Rob Tringali/Getty Images)
The New York Mets were four innings away from the early-season ignominy of being swept by the Miami Marlins Wednesday when Jordany Valdespin pulled another one of those crucial pinch-home runs he seems to have an endless supply of in his bag of tricks, a three-run shot to give the Mets a 5-4 lead on their way to a 7-6 victory.
But all that did was salvage Game 3 of a discouraging series and bring to an end a six-game losing streak. The Mets head to Atlanta with an 11-15 record and little to be cheerful about. Anyone who believes in the momentum-shifting power of a big come-from-behind victory should take a look at what happened to the Mets after they rallied in the ninth and beat the Dodgers in the 10th last week on Valdespin’s grand slam (not a pinch-homer, but an off-the-bench homer nonetheless).
The Mets followed that win by hitting meekly and getting swept by the Phillies, then continuing to hit meekly and scoring four runs in the 24 innings that comprised the first two games of the series in Miami. The 15-inning loss was a real crusher, because not only did they lose a game Matt Harvey started, but because, with their thin and mostly ineffective bullpen, the Mets already look to the splendid sophomore’s starts as a probable break for the relief corps. On Monday, though, Harvey labored, didn’t make it through the sixth inning, and the game ended up going nine more innings and the Mets used nine pitchers in all.
Two of those innings went to Bobby Parnell, which discouraged Terry Collins from using him Tuesday night to hold Jeremy Hefner’s one-run lead in the ninth inning. Instead, the save opportunity went to Brandon Lyon, as Parnell stewed and Lyon blew the game.
Wednesday’s win featured David Wright’s third home run of the year. Wright has yet to hit a home run at Citi Field this season. It also featured another big run-producing moment for John Buck, who doubled in two runs in the seventh inning, raising the catcher’s RBI total to 27.
But Dillon Gee again did not pitch well, barely made it through five innings (5 IP, 9 H, 4 ER) and lucked his way into a gift win when Valdespin turned the deficit into a lead when he batted for Gee in the sixth. Gee is 2-4 with a 6.16 ERA. He’s the No. 3 starter. Hefner is No. 4, but has turned in two consecutive excellent outings to solidify his spot in the rotation. The jury’s still out on No. 5 man Shaun Marcum, whose first start off the disabled list Saturday was inconclusive (4 IP, 3 runs), and his emergency relief appearance in the 15th inning Tuesday morning unfortunate.
Looking for good news? Parnell has risen above the muck and mire of the rest of the perpetually porous pen to pitch well, and he was back for a tidy seven-pitch save (six of them strikes) on Wednesday. Ruben Tejada seems to be out of his alarming April fielding slump and is back to being a defensive asset at shortstop.
But the Mets are headed for Turner Field now, and that’s been a house of Met horrors even in the best of times for New York. Who knows what 11-15 will turn into by the end of the weekend?