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AZ 0, Mets 1 - Old-time baseball...

Record: 30-22. Change on last season: 0

I think I can safely say that last night's game lived up to expectations of a pitching duel: the two teams combined to post 25 straight donuts on the board at Shea Stadium before the Mets finally broke through in the bottom of the 13th inning. We now know what happens when an irresistible force (Brandon Webb's sinker) meets an immovable object (the winningest pitcher in the majors over the past 50 year). They both pitch shutouts: Webb, seven innings of four-hit ball; Martinez, eight innings of five-hit ball.

It was a real joy to watch these two go at each other, toe-to-toe, dominating the opposing hitters in spectacular fashion - nobody got past second base until the bottom of the seventh inning. Martinez was overpowering hitters - eight K's - but also giving up a lot of hard-hit balls to the outfield. Webb was helped by his defense making the plays behind him, but still struck out five. Those include a pair of real lessons to Milledge; he was taking hacks, more befitting a Little League bench-player, than the top prospect in the Mets organization.

However, he did get his revenge on the D'backs, throwing out Counsell at third, as our leadoff hitter tried to go from first to third on a sixth-inning single by Chad Tracy. That was perhaps the closest we came to scoring: if he'd made it, we'd have had runners on the corners with one out, but instead, it was only a man on first with two outs. We also had a chance in the first, when Estrada lifted a ball to Milledge, but the outfielder dropped it. Johnny should have been on second, but clearly wasn't running hard, and only reached first - Orlando Hudson followed with a single, and one can only wonder, what if Estrada had been in scoring position.

Webb was pulled for a pinch-hitter in the top of the eighth, and Martinez in the bottom of the inning, but the zeroes kept on coming. Vizcaino, Lyon, Medders and Julio allowed two base-runners in five innings, striking out six - including Lyon fanning the side in the 9th, with some tremendous breaking pitches. Meanwhile, Wagner and Sanchez were chewing up Arizona equally hard: it only took the pair a total of 48 pitches to get through the 9th-13th innings.

Finally, with Valverde and Jarvis the sole occupants left in the Arizona bullpen, something gave - and it was Jason Grimsley. He allowed a leadoff double, Sanchez grounded out, advancing the runner, and Chavez smacked a single through the drawn-in infield for the victory. The final tally on the game:

  • 338 pitches: 184 by AZ, 154 by the Mets
  • 92 plate appearances, 18 base-runners
  • 16 hits: 14 singles and two doubles
  • 23 strikeouts, two walks
  • Only took 3:19 for the whole game.
  • Our first 1-0 game since May 22nd, 2005 (1-0 over Detroit)
  • Our first extra-innings 1-0 game since May 28, 2002 (0-1 vs. SF)

Not a great night for hitters, on either side. Counsell had two hits, including our only extra-base knock, in the 13th. Tracy fanned twice, keeping the K-Watch active for a couple more days, and Gonzalez went hitless in five at-bats. This closes the book on May, his first homerless month with 5+ games since 1997, when he failed to go yard during 26 August appearances, and 92 at-bats. He had 97 at-bats this month, and has now played thirteen straight series without a home-run.

Thanks to frienetic, npineda, Spencer, William K and VIII (who was Visiting with the Enemy at Fenway!), for dropping by during the game. To sum up, tonight was kinda the baseball equivalent of the movie Signs: it was great, right up until the ending, which sucked. But the Dodgers lost too, so we remain on top of the NL West for another day, at least. Mr. Pineda has kindly agreed to keep an eye on things here while I'm away, so I am holding him personally responsible for keeping this the case until I get back on Sunday. :-)

Heroes and Zeroes
Series 18: vs. Mets, on road

Webb: 7 IP, 4 H, 1 BB, 5 K, 0 ER
Byrnes: 4-for-13, 3 HR, 3 RBI
Tracy: 5-for-14, 3 RBI
Gonzalez: 0-for-11
Grimsley: 0.1 IP, 2 H, 0 BB, 0 K, 1 ER
Valverde: 0.1 IP, 4 H, 1 BB, 1 K, 2 ER

So far, the road-trip has gone as predicted: two wins in Cincinnati and one in New York, for a 3-3 record as we head towards Atlanta. However, all three losses have gone to the bullpen, and so it is there that we must turn for our villains of the series: Grimsley and Valverde got the scarlet letter "L" on their foreheads, to overcome heroics on the parts of our starter and offense respectively. Gonzalez went hitless in the series.

What can you say about Brandon Webb, as he runs his personal scoreless streak to 25.1 innings, with another stunning performance. Byrnes had the New York fans on his back all series, which can only be a good thing - his three home runs were an important part of the offense. Tracy also cut back drastically on his K's, only two, down from seven in Cincinnatti, and got a few more hits to his name instead.

Right, off to watch some backlogged episodes of Alias, I think. Fangraphs to follow tomorrow, with any other excitement that may happen: then a GameDay thread late in the afternoon, and it's off to the wilds of Burbank, CA for Mrs. SnakePit and I!

[Morning update]

Your daily dose of yummy Fangraphs goodness
[Click pic to see full version in new window]
Today: Two dozen of your finest New York donuts...

As Andrew points out, quite a remarkable fangraph for this one: you might be forgiven for mistaking this for a seismograph reading. Interesting to see how the significance of each at-bat slowly increased as the game went on, because any run that was scored - or even baserunners achieved, or outs made - would inevitably prove more crucial to the outcome.