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Matsuzaka's Revenge: Mets beat Indians 2-1 with run in ninth inning

The Tribe offense was mesmerized by the former Tribe farmhand's offerings.

David Maxwell

September 8, 2013

Mets 2, Indians 1

Daisuke Matsuzaka came to Cleveland with a 10.95 ERA in three starts with the Mets. In each of those starts he gave up at least four runs, and hadn't lasted past 5 innings. So of course he would go 5.2 innings and allow just one run (which scored after he left) on just three hits.

The Indians did win the series, which at this point in the season is what you need to do, but you still have a bitter taste in your mouth because (1) the Indians trail in the wild card race, so any win is important, and (2) the matchup on paper favored the Indians by a large margin. Danny Salazar, who had shut down the Tigers in his last outing, against a guy who the Indians released a couple weeks ago? A Mets lineup that is very easy to pitch to? A Mets bullpen that is a hodgepodge of prospects and retreads?

Salazar pitched as well as you could hope, though not as long as you'd wish. He only got through four inning before reaching his pitch limit, mainly because he was getting outs only after long at-bats. For instance, it took him nine pitches (all fastballs) to retire Justin Turner, and that long at-bat undoubtedly had something to do with the home run Turner hit in the fourth inning. But I don't really blame the pitching here. Up until the ninth inning, Salazar, Hagadone, Allen, Hill, and Smith had only given up one run. On most days that's more than enough to win easily.

It was the offense that really deserves our ire. The Indians didn't get a base hit off Dice-K until the fourth inning (a Nick Swisher single), and not until the sixth inning did they actually put together a rally. And they scored their lone run on a hit batsman (Asdrubal Cabrera with the bases loaded). After the Indians got out of a second/third/nobody out jam in the eighth, the Indians loaded the bases themselves in the bottom of the eighth with one out. And of course Asdrubal Cabrera came to the plate, and hit into an inning-ending double play.

Chris Perez came out for the ninth and gave up a leadoff single. After the runner was sacrificed to second, he struck out Omar Quintanilla but grooved a 2-0 fastball to Eric Young Jr, who lined the pitch down the right field line to give the Mets the lead.

And then, the bottom of the ninth. Jason Giambi blooped a single down the left field line (his 2,000th career hit), but when Lonnie Chisenhall couldn't get the runner into scoring position, Mike Aviles (who pinch-ran for Giambi) got thrown out at second trying to steal his way into scoring position. And Drew Stubbs, who was at the plate, then struck out to end the game. This all came off of LaTroy Hawkins, who I had assumed was out of baseball.

Again, the Indians are still in decent shape in the playoff race, but losing very winnable games like this tend to come back to haunt at the end of the season. And with almost no room for error, even dropping one game could mean the difference between making and missing the playoffs. Now Kansas City comes to town just 1.5 games behind the Indians, and thanks to their series win over the Tigers, very much in the playoff hunt.

AL Games of Interest

  • NY Yankees 4 (-0.5), Boston 3 - Final
  • Chicago White Sox 4, Baltimore (0.0) 2 - Final
  • Kansas City (-1.5) 5, Detroit 2 - Final
  • LA Angels 3, Texas (+4.0) 2 - 5th Inning
  • Oakland (+6.0) 7, Houston 1 - 5th Inning
  • Seattle 1, Tampa Bay (+1.0) 0 - 5th Inning

Source: FanGraphs

Roll Call (35 Commenters)

Game Thread (325 Comments)

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