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Eli's Coming

If my blog were titled "Mets Blowouts and Other Minutiae," I'd feel a little better about Eli Marrero.

I just spent half an hour going through Retrosheet, clicking on every box score in which Marrero had an RBI at home. What I discovered: When Marrero has a good game, his team usually wins by a lot. That's good for him, bad for me.

I guess when you're in lineups surrounded by big boppers there aren't that many opportunities for walk-off dramatics. There also aren't many chances when you're 1-for-your-last-24 as a pinch-hitter, as Marrero is.

Marrero made good on one of his few chances on April 13, 2002, as a member of the Cardinals. That day, against the Astros, the score was even, 1-1 in the last of the ninth, after a fine pitchers duel between Darryl Kile and Roy Oswalt. Jason Isringhausen had fanned the side on nine pitches in the top of the ninth, so the Cardinals went into the home half with momentum, expecting to win.

The Cardinals had stranded 13 baserunners to that point, but in this instance they'd bring the necessary one hom. J.D. Drew led off with a single, stole second on a failed hit and run. Albert Pujols grounded to third for the first out, but then reliever Ricky Stone intentionally walked Jim Edmonds, and unintentionally walked Tino Martinez to load the bases.

Marrero can thank Edgar Renteria for doing him the favor of swinging and missing at ball four, on a 3-2 count, which had the pitch been taken, would have ended the game. Alas, Renteria was retired, putting Marrero in a bases-loaded, two-out scenario. The odds were in Marrero's favor, since he entered the at-bat a sizzling 13-for-26 on the season. Marrero plunked Stone's first offering off the left field fence for the game-winning hit. It was an at-bat of firsts, with Marrero getting his first career walk-off hit and Stone taking his first big league defeat.

True Metrerros know...There's one statistical note from this contest, which I don't like. The Cardinals were charged with 16 left on base at game's conclusion, having stranded three in the ninth. That's a rather cheap 16, when you consider that Marrero's hit accomplished the primary mission of ending the game.


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