The least you should know...
Mets starting pitching struggled again tonight, as Jeremy Hefner surrendered five earned runs in just three innings of work. His five-run first inning came at the hands of multi-run home runs from Chase Utley and Dominic Brown. LaTroy Hawkins, who pitched in the sixth inning, allowed a pinch-hit two-run home run to Laynce Nix.
Solo home runs accounted for all the Mets runs, with Lucas Duda hitting a pair and John Buck staying hot with one of his own. Jordany Valdespin also added three hits -- all of the infield variety -- setting his career high for hits in a game.
All scoring in the game came via the long ball.
In the fifth inning, with Valdespin on third and Daniel Murphy on second and one out, Ike Davis hit a fly ball to shallow centerfield. Ben Revere made a running grab, and Valdespin tagged from third base. Inexplicably, Murphy seemed to think Revere didn't catch the ball, and took off for third. Murphy was doubled off second before Valdespin -- who was not sprinting -- scored, erasing the run.
That Murphy play on the basepaths was downright boneheaded. Yes, Valdespin wasn't sprinting home... Should he have been? Absolutely. But nine times out of ten, any other player on any other team would do the same thing. The blame should fall on Murphy here. What he did -- or failed to do -- cost the team the run.
Hefner had a tough night. Everything was up in the zone, and Utley and Brown both made him pay with first inning homers. In fairness to Hefner, Mike Baxter butchered Jimmy Rollins' fly ball into a one-out double ahead of Utley's home run, and an out there could have changed the complexion of the entire inning. Still, it's up to a pitcher to work around miscues from time to time, and Hefner didn't do that.
Is there a hotter hitter right now than Buck? Leading off the second, Buck assaulted a sinker that Kendrick left up in the zone, and deposited it into the left centerfield seats. Buck's bat speed is so much quicker than it was a year ago, and he's recognizing pitches with ease. It's been really fun to watch.
Speaking of hot hitters, Duda's three-hit game included two no-doubt shots to right field. On the second home run -- that came in the eighth off Mike Adams -- Duda waited beautifully on a low change up and golfed it out: a great sign for a hitter who struggled with off speed stuff last season.
Hawkins' struggles continued, as he allowed a two-run shot to Nix in the sixth. I do think there's value in having Hawkins down in the bullpen to act as a mentor to some of the younger and less experienced arms, but ultimately Terry has to go to guys he can depend on to get outs. If Hawkins can't turn it around, he may pitch himself out of a role.
W.B. Mason Post Game Extrahttp://web.sny.tv/media/video.jsp?content_id=26189615&topic_id=6261270&tcid=vpp_copy_26189615&v=3