Mets' timely hits few and far between
Against Vazquez and 'pen, offense can't break out of slump
NEW YORK -- After a 10-run outburst against the Nationals on Thursday, the Mets were hoping to keep their offense rolling against a starting pitcher who came into Friday's Subway Series opener against the Yankees with a 8.01 ERA.
Instead, the Mets got a different Javier Vazquez than the American League has seen so far this year, and the Yankees held their intracity rivals to a single run in a 2-1 decision, marking the fourth time in the past five games the Mets have been unable to score more than three runs.
Vazquez made his first start since May 12 and shut out the Mets for six innings, allowing just three baserunners and facing one more batter than the minimum of 18.
"The last time he pitched was 10 days ago, so people make adjustments," said Mets second baseman Alex Cora, who drew two walks against Vazquez. "He was ahead in the count, and that's something -- watching video -- he hasn't done all season. When he does that, he can be dominant."
The Mets caught a break when Vazquez, who threw just 70 pitches, didn't come back out for the bottom of the seventh inning, having injured his right index finger on a bunt attempt in the top half of the inning.
But Yankees manager Joe Girardi bridged the game to closer Mariano Rivera with David Robertson, Demaso Marte and Joba Chamberlain, the latter of whom didn't allow a hit or walk in 1 2/3 innings.
"It didn't get any easier when they came out with Joba and Mariano," said Mets third baseman David Wright, who was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and grounded out against Rivera for the final out of the game. "There's a reason they're the defending World Series champions, they got a good team."
And it won't get any easier for the Mets' offense -- which ranks 13th in the National League in batting average (.246) and 14th in on-base percentage (.318) -- when phenom Phil Hughes (5-0 with a 2.25 ERA) and CC Sabathia (4-2 with a 3.43 ERA) take the mound to close out the Subway Series for the Yankees.
Many of the Mets' hitters have talked about staying patient and waiting for those who have produced for their entire careers to start hitting. Six of the seven non-rookie hitters who started for the Mets on Friday are posting an OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) lower than their career mark, with catcher Rod Barajas being the only exception.
Ike Davis, the Mets' lone rookie starter, has no track record to wait around for and thereby has a different plan of attack.
"I think you've got to do the opposite -- that's my personal philosophy," Davis said. "I think you've got to go up there swinging. It's like they say in basketball when there's a shooter that hasn't been hitting -- 'Don't stop shooting.' You've got to eventually find your stroke, so just go out there and keep swinging."
Kyle Maistri is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.