In case you weren’t awake at 2:25 Eastern Time, when the Arizona Diamondbacks finally sealed their 14 inning, 4-3 victory against the New York Mets, you missed a thriller. Extra innings, five home runs, 1.1 scoreless innings from Oliver Perez, and an unfathomable eight scoreless innings from the historically awful Diamondbacks bullpen – this game had it all. Here are the top five moments of the game by leverage index. Click on the game graph below for the full statistical summary.
5: Augie Ojeda vs. Raul Valdez, bottom 9th. LI: 3.89
Ojeda had the chance to end the game in regulation, batting with a runner on second and two outs in a tie game against Valdez. Instead of delivering a single to end the game or a walk to continue the inning, Ojeda popped out to second, ending the inning and delivering a hellish round of extra innings to Mets fans in the Eastern Time Zone. The Diamondbacks’ win expectancy fell from 61.4% to 50.0% on this play.
With runners on first and second and one out, Chris Snyder came to bat against the seventh Mets pitcher, Fernando Nieve. Nieve lived up to his performance to date this season – a staggering -0.9 WAR in 38 relief appearances and one start – as Snyder singled, plating Justin Upton, who doubled to open the inning. Snyder’s single raised the Diamondbacks’ win expectancy from 71.7% to, obviously, 100%. The walk off hit turned out to only be the fourth biggest situation in the game, as the Diamondbacks had many other missed opportunities in extras before finally striking here.
3: Adam LaRoche vs. Raul Valdez, bottom 10th. LI: 4.45
Raul Valdez put in a pretty heroic effort for the Mets last night. Valdez, a 32 year old rookie, went three innings and struck out four, somehow making Jerry Manuel‘s decision to avoid Francisco Rodriguez in a non-save situation at all costs look pretty good. Valdez was in a jam here against Adam LaRoche, but he managed to induce a flyout to left field with two on to end the inning. The Diamondbacks win expectancy fell from 61.8% to 50.0% – essentially the same situation as the inning prior.
2: Stephen Drew vs. Oliver Perez, bottom 12th. LI: 5.39
It’s not terribly surprising that the biggest jam that the Mets faced in extras came as a result of two Oliver Perez walks, even though one of them was intentional. The walks resulted in Stephen Drew’s bases loaded, one out at bat in the twelfth inning. Given the location of the first two pitches to Drew – both balls well out of the zone – some can certainly question his decision to swing at Perez’s third pitch.
Drew should have driven that pitch – an 86 MPH fastball which caught much of the plate – but instead he popped it up to third base. Hindsight is 20/20, of course, but that swing easily could’ve resulted in a base hit or a fly ball necessary to win the game. I certainly understand the decision to swing there, but it resulted in a drop in win expectancy from 83.9% to 66.5%
1. Adam LaRoche vs. Oliver Perez, bottom 12th. LI: 6.39
But Ollie wasn’t out of the woods yet. He still had to manage to get through another hitter without throwing four more balls – a tough task indeed for Perez. All joking aside, Perez was around the strike zone with all six of his pitches against LaRoche, who, after fouling two pitches off, flew out to left field to end the inning, reducing Arizona’s win expectancy from 66.5% to the ever familiar 50%.
It certainly wasn’t the best baseball game of the season or even the night, but there was plenty of drama to go around in this marathon game. Mets fans and D’Backs fans, enjoy a well-deserved nap today if you managed to stay up through the whole game.