Tuesday night’s was tough to take. The Mets jumped out to a 3-0 lead and after the Giant went up 4-3, the Mets rallied to take a 5-4 lead. Once the Giants went up 6-5, the Mets tied the score. Then they had two runners on in the eighth and the bases loaded in the ninth and were unable to push across the winning run before losing in extra innings.

It was a game they could have won.

Old baseball wisdom is that you are going to win one-third of your games no matter what and lose one-third no matter what. It’s what happens with the other one-third of the season that determines if you have a good year or bad year. It seems like the Mets have lost a few of these toss-up games lately, so I decided to go through the game log and subjectively break it down. Here’s my take:

Essential Wins – 6
Essential Losses – 9

That leaves 14 toss-up games to determine the Mets’ start. Let’s look at those games individually.

April 2 – Mets fall behind by two runs, come back and take a 3-2 lead in the top of the ninth before winning in extra innings, 6-4 (record: 1-0).
April 10 – Mets have 3-1 lead after seven innings but Nationals tie the game with two in the eighth and win it with four in the 10th (1-1).
April 11 – Mets hold 1-0, 2-1, 4-3 leads before losing to the Rockies, 7-6 (1-2).
April 13 – Mets jump out to a 2-0 lead an hold a 4-3 advantage before falling to Colorado, 5-4 (1-3).
April 14 (G1) – Mets take a 2-0 lead, fall behind 6-2 and rally to score three runs in the last two innings. They have the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth and David Wright at the plate and he hits one two steps shy of the wall in right field to end the game. (1-4).
April 17Francisco Rodriguez strikes out pinch-hitter Brooks Conrad with the tying run on third base to end the game and give the Mets a 3-2 win (2-4).
April 20Hunter Pence hits a solo homer to lead off the eighth inning to send the Astros to a 4-3 win (2-5).
April 23 – Mets score two runs late for a 6-4 lead and Rodriguez strands the tying run at second base in the ninth inning for the win (3-5).
April 26Mike Morse just misses a two-run homer in the eighth inning after the Nationals cut the lead to one. The Mets add one in the bottom of the inning and hang on for a 6-4 win (4-5).
April 27 – Mets trail, 3-2, heading into the ninth inning. But they load the bases and score a run! And tack on three more for a 6-3 win (5-5).
April 28 – Mets get the tying run to second base in the ninth inning but fall to the Nationals, 4-3 (5-6).
April 30Jonathon Niese pitches his heart out, but Mets fall to the Phillies and Roy Halladay, 2-1 (5-7).
May 1 – Mets relievers allow one run in seven innings to win in 14 against the Phillies, 2-1 (6-7).
May 3 – Last night’s 7-6 loss to the Giants in extra innings, detailed at the beginning of this article (6-8).

The Mets have been streaky in these toss-up games. They had won three in a row but have now lost three of their last four. Perhaps the team has played a few more toss-up games than one might expect at this point of the season and it seems like the baseball gods owe the Mets a few easy wins.

However, they need to pull out some more tight games if they expect to have a good year.

5 comments on “Mets struggle in toss-up games

  • Charlie Hangley


    A couple of things:

    — as Matt Cerrone said on Metsblog this morning, “If you want a reason why this team is struggling at five games under .500, look no further than the 2-7 record in one run games.” (http://www.metsblog.com/2011/05/03/final-score-giants-7-mets-6/)

    — What are your criteria for an “essential” win or loss? Just curious.

    • Brian Joura

      Yeah, I struggled to come up with a good word and “essential” probably wasn’t it.

      I wanted it to convey a game that they won (lost) without undue drama, the opposite of a toss-up game. The first game of the year they were on the road against Josh Johnson and fell behind 5-0. That was a game where it would have taken a minor miracle to have won. Essentially, this game was put in the loss column when the Marlins scored four runs in the fourth inning.

      • Charlie Hangley

        Gotcha. I thought I knew what you meant, but I wanted to make sure.

        I might have said “Foregone” games, myself. But that’s just me… 😉

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