Saturday, April 10, 2004

Yates is Brilliant in Debut 

4/9/04 NY Mets vs. Montreal Expos (Suan Juan, PR): Mets win 3 to 2 in 11th inning.

Mets rookie RHP Tyler Yates got his first big league start last night against the Puerto Rico/Montreal Expos and proceeded to turn in the best pitching performance of the Mets young season. Yates tossed six scoreless innings while striking out four and walking none featuring a fastball clocked as high as 96 MPH, a deadly accurate hard slider, an off speed pitch with funky movement, and he even threw a hooking curve or two to keep hitters guessing. When all was said and done Yates had thrown 84 pitches in his six innings of work and 58 of them were for strikes. Unfortunately, the Mets bullpen continued to struggle and blew Yates' lead and win. However, the Mets ended up winning the game in the 11th with a final 3 to 2 score thanks to a Todd Zeile RBI double. Below is a game log of innings 1 through 6:

Top First
Zach Day tossing for the Spos
Kaz-Mat: Ks on 3 pitches. Not a great start for our lead-off hitter.
Gutierrez: Falls behind 1/2 but fouls some pitches off, takes a ball before grounding out to SS. Why is he batting 2nd? I can't wait for Reyes to get back.
Floyd: Lifts a 1/1 sinker over the CF wall, which Frrrrrran Healey tells me were moved back. I guess I can now forgive Floyd for letting that runner tag from first the other night in Atlanta. Wait, no I can't - that still really bugs me. I'll have to talk to my therapist about that.
Piazza: Ks. Perhaps Day's best pitches. He first sets up Piazza with low and away for a swinging strike then comes high and tight for swinging strike three. Piazza, one HR shy of tying Fisk, seems like he's pressing a bit. Piazza's dad and brother are in the crowd to watch the record get tied and/or broken so I'm sure that doesn't help.
Mets 1 Expos 0

Bottom First
Tyler Yates pitching for the Mets
Bergeron: takes a 2/2 pitch the other way passed Wigginton.
Vidro: Yates has Vidro in a 1/2 count and throws a perfectly placed inside slider which Vidro swings at but has no chance. K1.
Cabrera: First pitch swinging Cabrera goes up the middle with a ground ball single. Runners and 1st and 2nd with one out and Salty Carl Everett coming up. Yates has not been hit hard but finds himself in a bit of trouble already.
Everett: Yates gets ahead 0/2. On the 3rd pitch, Everett taps a weak grounder back to the pitcher. Yates turns the 1-6-3 inning ending DP. Crisis averted.
Mets 1 Expos 0

Top Second
Cameron: BB.
Phillips: Grounds into fielders choice. Cammy comes in hard at second to disrupt the DP. I love it. It's the little things like this than win close games.
Garcia: Grounds into DP. Is it just me, or does Garcia look like Anthony Jr. from The Sopranos?

Mets 1 Expos 0

Bottom Second
Wilkerson: Fouls out. Yates is starting to get loose as his last fastball is clocked at 95.
Batista: Yates screams, "hey jackass why do you bat like that!!" Just kidding. Yates ahead again 0/2 before Batista grounds out to third. Wigginton makes a poor throw to first but Phillips makes a nice play coming off the bag and tagging Batista.
Sledge: If this guy had a sister we could call her Sista Sledge. Yates goes ahead in the count 0/1 and Brotha Sledge grounds out to 1st.
Mets 1 Expos 0

Top Third
Wigginton: Lined out to LF. Wiggy has been hitting the ball hard.
Yates: K.
Matsui: Walks on four straight pitches. Despite all the talk about Matsui's Ks etc... he has shown pretty good patience at the plate.
Gutierrez: K to end the inning. Ugh, I'm starting to have flashbacks of the season opener when Gutierrez made the last out of about 39 innings and left 98734768 men on board.
Mets 1 Expos 0

Bottom Third
Schneider: Remember Schneider from One Day at a Time? I loved the pack of cigarettes rolled up in his t-shirt sleeve. Anyway, just so you're not confused this is not that Schneider. Ground out.

Day: Ks on a nasty slider. K2
Bergeron: Scores a hat trick. Oh sorry - this name sounds more like hockey name than a baseball name? Hits a soft liner to 2B. Out.
Mets 1 Expos 0

Top Fourth
Floyd: Hit in the leg by the pitch.
Piazza: Hit by the pitch.
Cameron: Hits a hard liner to left - too hard as there's no way Floyd, now limping, is going to score. Bases loaded with no outs for goggle boy.
Phillips: Strikes out swinging. Ugh.
Garcia Soprano: Grounds into fielder's choice but Floyd scores and thanks to some hustle out of the box, Garcia stays out of the DP. Where did this speed, hustle and athleticism come from? First the triple the other night, then some nice plays in RF and now this? Don't look now but Garcia is slowly but surely creeping out of The Hot Corner Dog House. Okay, runners on 1st and 3rd with one out. We cashed in on the bases loaded 0 outs to the tune of one run so far but we need to give this rookie pitcher more of a cushion.
Wigginton: K. Bases loaded with 0 outs and we only walk away with 1 run. This was a golden opportunity to brake the game open.
Mets 2 Expos 0

Bottom Fourth
Yates enters this inning throwing 35 pitches and 27 of them for strikes but he's about to make his way through this line-up for the second time.
Vidro: Pops out to first.
Cabrera: Lines a single to LF. This is really the first hard hit ball by the Expos.
Everett: Another liner, this one to right. However, Garcia, who has taken a chainsaw to the dog house I had him in, charges the ball, comes up with it cleanly and gets it back into the infield preventing Cabrera from getting beyond second base. Oh crap. Runners on first and second with one out.
Wilkerson: Ball one. Crap. Ball two. Shit. Swing - foul out. Nice! The defense repositions with two outs.
Batista: Grounds into a FC.
Throughout this mini-crisis Yates was calm, cool and collected. He just pounded the strike zone and trusted his stuff.
Mets 2 Expos 0

Top Fifth
Yates: K
Matsui: BB then caught stealing. This was a good time to run and Matsui took advantage of the opportunity. Schneider just had a great, quick release and a money throw.
Gutierrez: BB. Should have been two men on with no outs but Kaz got nailed stealing. I can't complain though because I was hoping he was going to go.
Floyd: Pulls a single down the line.
Piazza: Grounds out.
Mets 2 Expos 0

Bottom Fifth
Sledge: Grounds out to Gutierrez who ranges to his left, scoops the ball, spins around and throws out Sledge at first. Nice play. Still doesn't make up for the gazillion men he's left on base but I'll take that up with my therapist as well.
Schneider: Grounds out to the pitcher. Yates throws a sweet change up in this at bat as well as what I think is his first curveball of the game.
Fox (PH for Day): Yates goes up 0/2. It seems like Yates has been ahead of the batters all night long. While Yates used his slider as his out pitch for his previous two Ks, here Yates blows a 94 MPH fastball by Fox for the swinging K. K3.
Mets 2 Expos 0

Top Sixth
New pitcher Sunny Kim in for the Expos
Cameron: Flies out to CF
Phillips: grounds out to SS
Garcia: K
Mets 2 Expos 0

Bottom Sixth
Burgeron: Bloop single to CF. Here we are in the 6th inning and there have only been like one or two hard hit balls off Yates.
Vidro: This is Vidro's 3rd time and works a full count off Yates before grounding out to 1B - Bergeron moves to 2nd.
Cabrera: Yates starts showcasing his change-up. Cabrera is treated to an 84 MPH change-up with some funky movement, a 92 MPH heater, then strikes out swinging on another 84 MPH change-up (or maybe a curve) in the dirt. K4
Everett: Pops out to RF. Inning over.
Mets 2 Expos 0

Howe pinch hits for Yates in the top of the 7th ending his day and making the Mets coaches and brass look like geniuses for selecting him as the team's 4th starter. I can't say I disagree with taking Yates out at this point. It was his first start of the season and he was approaching 90 pitches. Yates had done his job, to say the least, shutting out the Expos through six. It's too bad Stanton and Looper couldn't hold the lead for him.
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