The home team was playing their last game in their ballpark this season. They were fighting for their playoff lives after losing the Friday opener before coming back to win the Saturday game. It was a Mets-Marlins matchup. Sound familiar?
Just as the Marlins took two out of three to keep the Mets out of the playoffs each of the last two years, the Mets got some payback today. By taking the series against Florida, the Marlins were eliminated in the National League East race and are all but eliminated in the wild card race as well.
Pat Misch pitched the first complete game shutout by a Mets pitcher this season, retiring the last 13 batters he faced and Jeff Francoeur hit one out of the park (two-run homer) and kept one in the park (robbing Chris Coghlan of a potential shutout ending homer). That combination helped the Mets to a 4-0 victory over the Marlins.
Things didn’t start off so well for Misch, but he kept getting out of jams that he created. After wiggling his way out of a second and third, no-outs situation in the first inning, he continued to put men on base. He gave up eight hits and three walks in the first five innings, but none of the baseunners scored. It was a far cry from his previous outing Monday night against the Braves when he gave up eight runs in 1 1/3 innings.
Although Misch got the only run he needed when Josh Thole hit a sacrifice fly in the second inning, it wasn’t until Jeff Francoeur hit a two-run homer in the third inning that Misch got a little breathing room. The home run was Francoeur’s 14th of the season and ninth as a Met.
After Francoeur reached home plate, Anderson Hernandez promised he’d hit one as well, eliciting a giggle from Jeff Francoeur (see photo above). Channeling the spirits of Joe Namath and Mark Messier, Hernandez made good on his guarantee and homered in the fifth inning. That blast gave the Mets a 4-0 lead.
Francoeur still had one last moment to upstage Hernandez and he did so in the bottom of the seventh inning when he robbed Chris Coghlan of a home run in front of the 385-foot sign in right field. The Marlins players and their many dozens of fans couldn’t bear to watch as Jeff helped preserve the shutout for Misch.
However, the day truly belonged to Pat Misch. He did not cave in when the Marlins kept putting men on base against him in the early innings and got stronger as the game progressed. In doing so, he picked up his second victory of the season and helped the Mets put a huge dent in the Marlins’ fleeting playoff chances.
The Mets will now enter the last week of the season by opening their final road series against the Washington Nationals on Monday. Nelson Figueroa will take the mound against Ross Detwiler in the 7:05 PM start.
The Mets might not be going to the big dance in October. It looks like the team that prevented them from doing so in 2007 and 2008 will also not have a date to the baseball prom in 2009. It may not erase the sting still felt by many Mets fans, but the Mets did exhibit a modicum of revenge this weekend against the Marlins. It’s nice to have a feel-good moment every now and then.