The Threshers 3 game winning streak came to an end when they returned home Friday night. Mark Leiter was coming off 2 solid starts where he had allowed only 2 runs in 16 innings, one his complete game shutout of Charlotte on July 20th. Leiter battled with control issues as the Threshers lost the first game of an 8-game home stand, 8-3.
Leiter ran into trouble early when the Mets leadoff batter worked a 9-pitch at bat before grounding a triple down the right field line. I don’t know how Art Charles managed to not get to the 3-hopper. Two more deep counts yielded a run scoring ground out and a walk. After a 2-1 count elicited a visit from pitching coach Bob Milacky, Leiter served up a home run on the next pitch. The ball barely cleared the right field wall and may have been helped by the breeze in that direction. Leiter then bore down and threw strikes on 6 of the next 7 pitches getting a strike out and fly ball to end the inning.
After the Threshers scratched out a run in the bottom of the first, Leiter gave it back in the second inning. He pitched a scoreless third inning, but faced 4 batters and didn’t record an out in the fourth inning.
Leiter’s line was –
- 3.0 IP, 5 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 4 BB, 2 K
Notes on Leiter –
- It didn’t look like he was being pinched by the umpire. A member of the broadcast team (with a better view) suggested release point problems.
- He faced 19 batters in 3+ innings.
- He threw 10 first-pitch strikes.
- He had a 46/38 strike-to-ball ratio.
- Of the 46 strikes, only 4 came on swing-and-miss.
- There were 13 called strikes, but most came on first pitches or later in the count when he was way behind.
- 16 foul ball strikes.
- Of the 13 balls in play – 5 ground balls, 3 fly balls, and 5 base hits. The hits included the triple and home run mentioned above and 3 singles, only one of which was hit hard.
The Mets scored 2 unearned runs in the fourth inning on this sequence – walk, fielding error by Crawford (his 13th error since joining Clearwater), single to load the bases, walk to force in an unearned run, pitching change to Lino Martinez, fly ball to Brian Pointer that wasn’t deep enough to challenge his arm, passed ball on Corey Bass, 2 strike outs.
Martinez continued to pitch well and only allowed one run in 4.2 innings. Ramon Oviedo came out to pitch the ninth and allowed a hit and 3 walks while giving up a run to round out the Mets scoring.
The opposing pitcher was Jeremy Hefner who was making his second start for St. Lucie as he continues his comeback from Tommy John surgery. Hefner had made 50 appearances in the majors during 2012-2013 for the New York Mets, including 23 starts in 2013.
The Threshers scored a run in the first when Roman Quinn walked and stole his 20th base of the season. He moved to third on an Anthony Phillips sacrifice bunt and scored on J.P. Crawford’s line drive, sac fly to right centerfield.
Pointer led off the second inning with his 11th home run of the season. The ball bounced high off the back fence behind the right field walkway and nearly cleared the stadium. Harold Martinez followed with a double that was also well hit. Art Charles worked a walked. Corey Bass tried to bunt the runners over but failed when he couldn’t make the third baseman field the ball. He bunted the ball hard back to Hefner who got an easy force of Martinez at third. Chris Serritella walked to load the bases. Facing the top of the order, Hefner bore down and struck out Quinn after falling behind 3-0 and Phillips.
Hefner completed 2 more hitless innings before turning the game over to the bullpen. The Threshers went quietly until the eighth inning when Phillips singled to lead off the inning. Crawford followed with a line drive double to left. Brandon Short’s single scored Phillips but a shallow fly ball, strike out, and fly out ended their last threat.
The Mets second baseman is L.J. Mazzilli. He is the son of former big leaguer, Lee Mazzilli. L.J. batted second and came into the game hitting .281. He went 0 for 5, but drove in the game’s first run with his ground out in the first inning.
Tonight, Jordan Guth pitches for the Threshers.