NEW YORK—What doesn't a team get when half of their $150 million dollar payroll is out of action due to injury? If that team happens to be the New York Mets on Friday night, they don't get a runner past first base.
Reds' starting pitcher, Bronson Arroyo put all injury rumors to rest as he hurled a complete game, four hit shutout on a beautiful night as the Reds made their virgin voyage to the Mets' new stadium, Citi Field.
The first Mets' batter of the game, Angel Pagan, hit a leadoff gapper that made center fielder, Willy Tavares run the length of a football field to reach the ball and cap it with a stupendous diving catch.
That would be one of only two hard hit balls on the evening for the home team. The other being a Gary Sheffield liner gloved by Layce Nix in left.
Arroyo tossed strike after strike and had complete control of his sinking two-seamer. Keeping it down in the zone Arroyo, usually a fly ball pitcher, recorded 15 ground ball outs against seven flies—only three of which left the infield.
He did not walk a single batter and recorded five punch outs.
Mets' starter, Fernando Nieve, was victimized by two long balls and some wretched defensive play.
In the visiting half of the fourth inning Joey Votto smacked his eleventh home run of the season increasing his career high hitting streak to 13 games. Brandon Phillips followed with a shot off the left field wall for an easy double.
Nieve then struck out Nix. With Edwin Encarnacion at the plate, Nieve uncorked a wild pitch moving Phillips to third.
The Mets brought their infield in and Edwin lined hard to Mets second baseman, Argenis Reyes. He gunned the ball to third, but Phillips dove back just in a nick of time.
With two down the Mets moved their infield back to normal depth. Jerry Hairston Jr. stepped in and missed on a bunt attempt. Phillips was way off the bag and Mets' catcher, Brian Schneider threw to the Mets 2008 Gold Glove winning third baseman, David Wright.
As Phillips bolted home, Wright failed to step to his left and create a throwing lane that would have easily nailed the runner at the plate. Instead he threw it over Phillips' head and out of Schneider's reach.
Inexplicably, Wright was not charged with an error and Phillips was credited with a steal of home.
Meanwhile, Arroyo kept throwing strikes and making Mets' hitters look like they belonged in an old folks home.
With one down in the Reds' half of the sixth Nieve threw a pretty good looking off-speed pitch. Unfortunately for Nieve, Nix dropped his bat and nine-ironed a double-decker into the right field stands to take a 3-0 lead.
That was all the scoring, and two runs more than Arroyo would need to get the win.
Not to discredit Arroyo's performance, but with about $50 million worth of lumber on the DL, Mets' manager, Jerry Manual is continually forced to fill his line-up cards minor league looking slipshod names.
The slated starters for Saturday night's game are Johnny Cueto for the Reds and Johan Santana going for the Mets.
Cueto is coming off the worst outing of his career.
Judging by the Mets' sticks on Friday, he may have found the perfect team to earn a bounce back notch for his win column.