2012 New York Mets: The Games They Should Have Won
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After this week's sweep of the Rays, the Mets are six games over .500 with a 35-29 record.
What's even more impressive is that the Mets are doing this with a shaky bullpen and questionable defensive play. In looking through the first 64 games of the season, there are at least 13 games that the Mets could have won. In some cases, these are games they should have won. The common thread in all of these losses is the unreliable bullpen and at times inept defense.
If the Mets had won even half of these near misses, they very well could be leading the National League East.
On the plus side, if they can improve in these areas, the Mets could put together a serious post-season run.
Here's a look at the games they should have won.
April 20 at Citi Field: Giants 4 Mets 3
Francisco picks up the loss
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With Jason Bay and Kirk Nieuwenhuis on and one out Josh Thole singled to tie the game. Nieuwenhuis, representing the winning run, was now on third with one out.
Nieuwenhuis went on contact as Mike Baxter hit in to a fielder's choice and was thrown out at home. Ruben Tejada then struck out for the third out.
With the game now going in to extra innings, the momentum had swung to the Mets as the home team.
Closer Frank Francisco came in to try and keep the Giants off the scoreboard. He immediately walked Melky Cabrera, who then stole second. Francisco got two outs and then intentionally walked Nate Schierholtz to face backup catcher Hector Sanchez. Sanchez made Francisco pay as he singled to shallow center to score the go-ahead run.
The Mets didn't score in the bottom of the 10th and the Giants went on to win, 4-3.
April 30 at Minute Maid Park: Astros 4 Mets 3
Manny Acosta couldn't get it done
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After giving up three runs to the Astros in the bottom of the 6th, the Mets immediately came back to tie the game with three runs of their own in the top of the 7th. The Mets now had momentum and were back in the game.
Manny Acosta was summoned to pitch in the bottom of the 8th. He soon gave up the go ahead run on two singles and a stolen base.
The Mets failed to score in their half of the 9th and went on to lose, 4-3.
May 4 at Citi Field: Diamondbacks 5 Mets 4
Rauch blows another
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Dillon Gee gave up two runs in six innings and left the game with the Mets leading 4-2.
Bobby Parnell came in and retired Arizona in order in the 7th.
In the 8th, Justin Upton reached first on an error by Ike Davis.
With runners on first and second and one out, Rauch gave up a game tying double to Paul Goldschmidt. Then Cody Ransom singled to drive in Goldschmidt and give the Diamondbacks a 5-4 lead. Before getting out of the inning, Rauch allowed a double to Lyle Overbay, but thankfully left runners on 2nd and 3rd by striking out Willie Bloomquist to end the frame.
The Mets were unable to score in the 8th and 9th and a 4-2 Mets victory became a 5-4 loss.
May 11 at Marlins Park: Marlins 6 Mets 5
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Johan Santana gave up three runs to the Marlins in the 1st, but then kept them from adding to their run tally through six innings.
The Mets chipped away and entered the top of the 8th trailing 3-2. The momentum shifted as David Wright, Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Mike Baxter all doubled to give the Mets a 5-3 lead heading to the bottom of the 8th.
Frank Francisco came in to save the game in the 9th and immediately gave up a double to Giancarlo Stanton. Then with one out, Emilio Bonifacio singled to drive in the tying run. Bonifacio then stole second.
May 13 at Marlins Park: Marlins 8 Mets 4
The end result of Frank Francisco's work
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Jon Niese pitched six scoreless innings and left the game with the Mets up 2-0.
The scored remained 2-2 heading in to the 9th inning. With Heath Bell on the mound, Justin Turner's double plated Daniel Murphy and Ronny Cedeno to give the Mets a 4-2 lead against one of the best closers in baseball.
Frank Francisco was given yet another chance to save the game. It was deja vu as Bonifacio again tripled to start the inning. Francisco made things worse by walking the next batter. Then Greg Dobbs singled and the Mets' lead was down to just one. A Jose Reyes sacrifice fly allowed the tying run to score.
Final score: 8-4 Marlins.
May 16 at Citi Field: Reds 6 Mets 3
D.J. Carassco makes his last Mets appearance
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Johan Santana went 6.2 innings and left the game with the Mets up 3-2.
The final score was 6-3 to Cincinnati and Carrasco was designated for assignment.
May 21 at PNC Park: Pirates 5 Mets 4
Neil Walker's fly ball ended up a three base error
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After seven innings the Mets and Pirates were tied 4-4.
Proving that he can still lose a game even when he does nothing wrong, Jon Rauch came in to pitch the bottom of the 8th.
Neil Walker led off and hit a fly ball to center field. The inexperienced Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Mike Baxter both called for the ball and collided. Walker ended up on third due to the error.
One out later, Clint Barmes hit a sacrifice fly and Walker scored the go ahead run.
The Mets couldn't come back and Rauch took the hard-luck 5-4 loss.
May 28 at Citi Field Phillies: 8 Mets 4
Manny Acosta watches Ty Wigginton circle the bases
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Bobby Parnell came out to pitch the 7th entrusted with keeping the Phillies off of the scoreboard. Instead he gave up a single to Jimmy Rollins and then walked Hunter Pence. After retiring Shane Victorino for the second out, Parnell gave up a single to Ty Wigginton and the Phillies now led 5-4.
Going to the 9th inning the Mets still trailed by one run. Manny Acosta came in to try and keep the Mets close. Placido Polanco and Pence both singled to start the inning. After retiring one batter, Acosta made his last pitch for the Mets. It was a three-run homer by Wigginton.
The Mets never came back and neither did Acosta. The Mets lost 8-4 and Acosta was designated for assignment the next day.
May 30 at Citi Field: Phillies 10 Mets 6
Dillon Gee leaves a 3-2 lead to the bullpen
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Dillon Gee and the Mets led 3-1 in the top of the 7th inning. After retiring the first two batters, Gee gave up a double to Brian Schneider.
Terry Collins went to the bullpen and brought in Bobby Parnell. Three pitches later and Carlos Ruiz was circling the bases after hitting a two-run homer. The game was now tied 3-3.
With Parnell having blown the chance for a save, Collins gave Jon Rauch the 8th inning assignment of keeping the game even. He didn't come through. Juan Pierre and Hunter Pence singled putting runners on first and third with no one out. Pierre eventually scored the go ahead run on a Shane Victorino sacrifice fly before Rauch got out of the inning.
Things only got more comical in the top of the 9th. Down by one run, Tim Byrdak walked the first batter he faced.
After Schneider sacrificed the runner to second, Ramon Ramirez took over for Byrdak. Ramirez then gave up a single to John Mayberry and a three-run homer to Jimmy Rollins. Ramirez wasn't done. Pierre doubled and Ramirez was booed off of the mound having given up three straight hits without recording an out.
Next in was Chris Schwinden. After retiring Pence on a fielder's choice, Schwinden allowed a Ty Wigginton double and a Shane Victorino single. Three more runs came in giving Philadelphia six for the inning.
While it didn't contribute to any further damage, the blooper reel was completed after Daniel Murphy made a throwing error allowing Placido Polanco to reach base.
The Mets staged a comeback in the bottom of the 9th, but the game ended 10-6 in favor of Philadelphia.
June 4 at Citi Field: Cardinals 5 Mets 4
David Wright has seen enough
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Dillon Gee pitched well and gave up three runs in seven innings. He left the game trailing 3-1.
The Mets rallied in the bottom of the seventh to tie the game on a two-run Scott Hairston pinch-hit homer.
Tied 3-3, Jon Rauch was once again called upon to keep the Phillies off the board. As had become customary for Mets relievers, the first batter, Matt Holliday, singled to start the inning. One out later Rauch served up a home run ball to Allen Craig to put St. Louis on top 5-3.
The Mets scored once in the bottom of the 8th, but came up short. The final score was 5-4.
June 6 at Nationals Park: Nationals 5 Mets 3
Daniel Murphy looking awkward at second base
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With rookie Jeremy Hefner on the mound the Mets paid a visit to Washington, D.C. for a series with the first place Nationals.
Hefner put in a decent effort and left the game trailing 4-2 after six innings. He was only charged with three earned runs as one run scored on another Daniel Murphy fielding error.
The Mets got one run back in the top of the 7th inning to bring them closer to the Nationals at 4-3.
The usually reliable Tim Byrdak came in and immediately put two on with a walk and a single. Byrdak got out of the inning but only after giving up a run on an Adam LaRoche sacrifice fly.
The Mets never did come back and the final score was 5-3.
June 10 at Yankee Stadium: Yankees 5 Mets 4
Russell Martin celebrates after Rauch allows the walk-off
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This one was probably the worst of all as it came against the Yankees.
After losing the first two games in the Bronx, the Mets put up three runs in the top of the second against Andy Pettite.
Jon Niese had great stuff and was pitching a shut out heading to the bottom of the 7th inning. With two outs, Andruw Jones was safe at first on a David Wright throwing error. As fate would have it, the Mets paid for that mistake. Russell Martin stepped up and hit a two-run homer. The lead was now 3-2.
Bobby Parnell was on the mound to start the 8th inning. He allowed a single to Derek Jeter who then moved to second on an Omar Quintanilla error. Parnell then proceeded to give up three straight singles to Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez. The inning ended with the Yankees up 4-3.
The Mets staged a comeback in the top of the 9th with doubles from Lucas Duda and Ike Davis. In typical Mets fashion, Davis was foolishly thrown out at third trying to advance on a fielder's choice. Then of course Daniel Murphy singled which would have brought Davis home as well.
Now tied 4-4, Mets fans everywhere took a deep breath as Jon Rauch came in to the game. He didn't waste anytime in breaking the hearts of Mets fans everywhere. Rauch served up a walk off home run to the first batter he faced. Russell Martin rounded the bases and the 5-4 loss was official.