Jeremy Hefner Takes His Turn in the Spotlight - NBC New York

Jeremy Hefner Takes His Turn in the Spotlight

Hefner homers, pitches six innings in 6-3 Mets win



    Jeremy Hefner Takes His Turn in the Spotlight
    Getty Images
    This Hefner doesn't need a mansion.

    There have been times during this Mets season when it feels like the team just pulls names out of a hat to come up with that night's hero.

    Jordany Valdespin took Jonathan Papelbon deep, Mike Baxter has become more than just a nice story since he's from Queens and Ronny Cedeno picked the right moment to swing for the fences, to name three instances where the Mets' success has been more random and less design. You can now add Jeremy Hefner and Omar Quintanilla to the list.

    Guys named Hefner might have had better nights than Jeremy had on Tuesday, but they've come surrounded by grottoes instead of Mets fans braving a rainy night to watch their team battle the Phillies. There was no smoking jacket or bunny by his side, but things went just fine for the Mets' Hefner all the same.

    Hefner, who avoided the rain delay that helped sink his first start of the year, allowed three runs in six innings against the Phillies on Tuesday night and helped his own cause by hitting a home run in the fourth inning of the game. With the Mets using that run to help them hold onto a 6-3 win, Hefner became the first Mets pitcher to record his first win and first home run in the same game. 

    There must have been something about that spot in that order because Scott Hairston blasted a homer in the sixth inning after pinch hitting for Hefner. Omar Quintanilla scored on Hairston's bomb, adding to a pretty good first night in a Mets uniform for the fourth-string shortstop.

    Quintanilla had three hits and scored two runs on Tuesday night, which is two more hits than he managed in 22 at-bats for the Rangers last season. There are safer bets to make than banking on Quintanilla doing that again, but this isn't really a season that's shaping up to go the way anyone expected so perhaps it is worth throwing a few bucks on that outcome.

    The question is whether the Mets can weave all of these random acts of stardom into a season that lands them in the playoffs. For every encouraging sign -- Roy Halladay's trip to the disabled list leaves the Phillies even shorter on talent -- there's a giant, blinking reminder that the Mets are being outscored by 20 runs over the course of the season.

    That can change, but only with Ike Davis, Jason Bay, Jon Niese and others playing at a much higher level than they've played this season. Having Hefner and Quintanilla lead you for a night can lead to a win, but you're in a bad way if you start counting on the random becoming the routine.

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.