MLB: Miami Marlins at New York Mets

Game recap April 13: Mets eke out win, but bats still quiet

On the shoulders of a solid start from Logan Verrett, he not of the crop of shiny young Mets’ hurlers, and some timely hitting, the Mets squeaked out a victory against the Marlins on Wednesday, 2-1.

Verrett threw six scoreless innings, during which he only allowed three hits and walked two batters. The Marlins were unable to square up Verrett’s unpredictable five-pitch mix. He primarily relied on his four-seam fastball, but he also threw his changeup as often as his slider, and he used his curveball about as much as his sinker. Verrett’s fastball velocity maxed out at an un-Metsian 91 mph, but he was still able to strike out a batter an inning over the course of his six.

All the while, however, the Mets’ bats were helpless against Marlins starting pitcher Adam Conley, who also threw six innings of scoreless baseball. The Mets were only able to muster four hits against Conley, and they drew just one walk. Conley struck out nine, including Yoenis Céspedes three times. Unlike Verrett, Conley mostly relied on one pitch, his four-seam fastball.

Key Inning

After Neil Walker struck out to end the sixth, the teams headed into the seventh inning each with a 50 percent win expectancy. Jim Henderson relieved Verrett and promptly allowed a single and walked two batters, loading the bases with nobody out in a game knotted at 0-0. Only six of Henderson’s 14 pitches landed for strikes. His inability to record an out in a key situation might result in him not seeing such situations again, and it might augur the end of the Henderson experiment altogether. After Henderson loaded the bags, the Mets’ win expectancy fell to 23.3 percent.

The rest of the bullpen picked Henderson up. Hansel Robles entered the game and struck out Miguel Rojas and pinch hitter Derek Dietrich. With two outs and the bases still full, lefty Jerry Blevins came in and was able to get Dee Gordon to fly out and end the inning. The Marlins were unable to score in their best chance of the game. After Blevins recorded the third out, the Mets entered the bottom of the seventh with a 58 percent win probability, though the game was still tied at zero.

Whether or not the Mets carried momentum with them into the bottom of the seventh doesn’t matter. What matters is that the results made it seem like they did. Wilmer Flores led with a single and advanced to second on a wild pitch; Asdrubal Cabrera singled to center, advancing Flores to third. Cabrera then advanced on a Juan Lagares groundout, giving the Mets runners on second and third with one out. Kevin Plawecki came through with the biggest play of the game (.155 WPA), as he singled and brought in both Flores and Cabrera.

The End

Blevins stayed in the game for the eighth inning and retired Ichiro (who had one hit on the day and is now 64 away from 3,000 in North American play), but couldn’t finish off Christian Yelich. Jeurys Familia relieved him. While Familia allowed a run in the eighth, it was all the Marlins were able to get. He stayed in for the ninth inning and recorded a five out save. It took Familia 23 pitches total.

The Mets are off tomorrow, then kick off a nine-game road trip against Cleveland on Friday. Bartolo Colón will get the start. It’s Jackie Robinson day, so all ballplayers will be wearing number 42 in honor of Robinson, and decidedly not in recognition of Bartolo’s age.

Photo credit: Brad Penner-USA Today Sports

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