With the New York Mets holding a comfortable 8-1 lead over the Cincinnati Reds entering the bottom of the ninth on Thursday night, Mets manager Terry Collins called upon Frank Francisco to secure a win, as the manager was trying to get his closer some work.
“I’ve not been getting him enough games because we haven’t been in games,” Collins told reporters following the teams victory. “Tonight he threw pitches. I’m hoping if we can get him out there tomorrow after being in tonight’s he might have a little better rhythm.”
Instead, the closer gave the clubs fans and his manager a case of agida. Francisco allowed a solo-homer to start the frame, followed by a double off the bat of Jay Bruce. After walking Todd Frazier, the 33-year-old closer retired the next two batters before allowing two straight hits, putting the tying run on-deck. Three-runs and 27 pitches later, Collins had seen enough and called upon his most reliable reliever of late, Jon Rauch. And for the second time in the last four games, Rauch picked up a save while bailing out Francisco in the process. With runners in scoring position, Rauch entered the game and needed just three pitches to strike out former Met Wilson Valdez, notching his third save of the year:
While some of his early season blunders may be hard to forget, the 6’10″ reliever has turned in a pretty strong campaign for the Mets this season. Excluding a putrid month of May in which he was 0-4 with a 5.56 ERA, allowing seven runs on 18 hits over 11 1/3 innings, the 9-year veteran has pitched to a 2.28 ERA, allowing eight earned runs in 31 2/3 innings of work. There is no doubt he has been the clubs most reliable option of of the pen of late. Over his last 20 appearances (14 1/3 IP), dating back to June 28th, the right-hander has allowed just one run on five hits and two walks while striking out nine, lowering his ERA to 3.12 in the process:
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