It may have rained at Citi Field today, but Pat Misch still found a way to twinkle through the raindrops as he pitched five effective innings to help defeat the Astros by the final score of 5-1.
Following his first career complete game shutout on Sunday against the Marlins, Misch won his second consecutive decision. Before rain put an abrupt end to his workday, Misch had thrown only 61 pitches entering the sixth inning. He gave up one run and five hits while walking no one.
Following Friday night’s 14-hit outburst against Wandy Rodriguez and the Astros’ bullpen, the Mets banged out another ten hits on Saturday against Yorman Bazardo and his band of merry men. This barrage included multi-hit efforts by Daniel Murphy, Fernando Tatis and Josh Thole. Although the Mets did not hit any home runs today, half of their hits went for extra bases (four doubles and one triple).
David Wright and Carlos Beltran were not in the starting lineup as Jerry Manuel wanted to give Wright a break and Beltran was feeling ill. Manuel did expect to pencil both of them into Sunday’s starting lineup. The Mets did not need their services today as their replacements, Fernando Tatis and Cory Sullivan, (Angel Pagan moved from left field to center field to play in Beltran’s stead) combined to go 3-for-7 with three runs scored, two runs batted in and two stolen bases.
The Mets were clinging to a 2-1 lead as the rain began to fall sporadically by the third inning. Needing to play 4½ innings to make the game official, Misch carved his way through the Astros lineup quickly and effectively. After the game became official when Miguel Tejada grounded out to Luis Castillo to end the top of the fifth inning, the rain began falling in earnest. However, before the umpires decided they couldn’t swim, they allowed the bottom of the fifth inning to be completed. The Mets added two insurance runs on a two-run single by Fernando Tatis. The timely hit gave the Mets a 4-1 lead and brought the grounds crew out to cover the field.
After making us wait (by us, I mean me and the other thousand or so fans who are also Mets-ochists) through a 2 hour and 20 minute rain delay for a meaningless game to resume, the Mets gave us a special treat. Fans were allowed to move down into the field level seats for the final four innings of the game.
Unfortunately, not much action happened after that. The Mets did add another run in the seventh inning when Fernando Tatis hit a two-out double off the left field wall. This was followed by an RBI single by catcher Josh Thole. The latter hit gave the Mets a 5-1 lead.
After two Astros reached base in the top of the ninth inning, Francisco Rodriguez was called upon to get the last out. It was Frankie’s first appearance since his colossal meltdown on Wednesday in Washington. This time, the results were much better as he got speedster Michael Bourn to fly out to Jeff Francoeur to end the game for his 35th save.
Pat Misch will probably not be in the starting rotation in 2010, but his last two starts have showed that he can be a serviceable fill-in should one of the Mets’ regular starters get hurt (Johan Santana), become ineffective (John Maine) or both (Oliver Perez). It was a nice finish for Misch in the next-to-last game of the season.
Tomorrow’s season finale will not have everything on the line as the previous two seasons did. That means the Mets might actually win the game. Nelson Figueroa will face the Astros’ Wilton Lopez at 1:10 PM. It’s almost time to say “th-th-that’s all, folks” to the 2009 season. Hopefully, the Mets can go out with a sweep of the Houston Astros.
Useless stat of the day (because useless seems to go with the Mets this season): When Jose Thole tripled in the fourth inning, it was the Mets’ 48th triple of the season, setting a new franchise record. The previous high of 47 was achieved by the 1978 and 1996 teams. Why is this a useless stat? Because the 1978 Mets finished the season with a 66-96 record and the 1996 team went 71-91. It should come as no surprise that this Mets team will finish with a similar record to those triple-happy teams.