Mets Game 118: Loss To Phillies
Phillies 7 Mets 6
I wouldn’t have believed it had I not seen it.
Mets Game Notes
And I nearly didn’t see it. Zack Wheeler was dominating a Phillies team that was clearly tired, worn, and looking to get the game over with before it even started. Once the Mets lead swelled to 6-1, I started getting ready for a big bike ride.
Then, the Phillies scored two in the bottom of the sixth. And two more in the seventh. I set my helmet aside and watched the Mets bullpen completely crap the bed. Terry Collins left Wheeler — and Vic Black — in one or two batters too many, and didn’t leave Josh Edgin in long enough (nor did he bring him in soon enough). Vic Black performed exactly opposite of Keith Hernandez‘s glowing introductory remarks — almost as if on cue. The win was still in place when Jenrry Mejia entered a clear ninth inning. Mejia managed only two outs as the Phillies finished off a rally that overcame a five-run deficit. Ouch.
What’s wrong with Mejia? Maybe it’s the calf thing? Maybe it was the overuse in the first half? Maybe the scouting reports are catching up to him? Who knows?
In Vic Black’s defense, he wasn’t helped by the defense. Wilmer Flores flubbed a play that could’ve been the third out of the inning; instead, it was an infield single for Ben Revere. A good MLB shortstop probably makes that play, but Flores is a below-average MLB shortstop. From there, the inning ran away from Black.
Probably, A.J. Burnett is the worst pitcher in the National League right now. That’s a good thing for Kyle Kendrick, who is not only awful, but gets little help in the field — especially on a day game after a long night game. Or, maybe it’s just that so many hitters hit the ball so hard off of Kendrick on a consistent basis, a few are bound to be misplayed by the defenders.
Though, there was at least one exception — when Ben Revere made a spectacular catch to rob Matt den Dekker of a 3rd-inning birthday present. Unfortunately for Kendrick and the Phillies, that one big play wasn’t enough to make up for the ineptitude of Domonic Brown, who allowed a fly ball to bounce off his shoetop. Not since the days of Lonnie Smith and Jose Canseco patrolling left field have I seen an outfielder get handcuffed by a fly ball, but Brown did it. What the heck is wrong with him this year? Is he injured? On drugs? I understand that the big offensive numbers he put up in 2013 was due mainly to a red-hot May and June, but even without the power production, Brown always appeared to be a standout, “toolsy” athlete. Right now he looks completely lost.
Back to den Dekker for a moment — he is not the same hitter we saw in past years, and his swing has definitely shortened. I like the way his hands look — they’re in a strong, balanced position in the middle of his body as he waits for the pitcher, he has a short take-back, and his hands are going directly toward the ball when he swings. No more big loop, which means he has much more time to decide whether to swing and a better chance of making hard contact. I’m excited to see how he does over the final two months of this season.
Strangely enough, after den Dekker’s single in the ninth, Keith Hernandez said, “I always liked his swing …” Um, Keith, it’s completely different now. Aw, why should I pick on Keith? He was otherwise his usual entertaining self.
Speaking of that single, it was followed by den Dekker ending the inning on a caught stealing. No criticism of den Dekker, it was a good risk to take at that point in the game and he got a good jump — and, he would’ve been safe had he not overslid the bag. What I want to point out was the great job Jimmy Rollins did in keeping his glove on den Dekker until den Dekker’s slid beyond the bag and didn’t remain in contact with it. Too often times I see infielders apply a tag and then raise their glove to show the umpire that the ball is still in their glove. That’s completely unnecessary, illogical, and it prevents the infielder from getting outs the way Rollins did in that situation. Kiddies: keep that glove planted on the runner until the umpire makes a call. In fact, it’s OK to apply a bit of pressure to a runner’s body part (be it a foot or hand) to “help” it lose contact with the bag. #littlethings
Like Gary Cohen, I thought for a moment that the Mets were going to “Dick Williams” Chase Utley and fake the intentional walk with a full count and surprise him with a strike. They were not, though, and Utley was absolutely ready just in case they did. Just before that pitch, it looked like Utley had been struck out looking on a fastball on the outside edge of the plate, but it was called ball three, and Marlon Byrd stole second on the pitch, setting up the intentional walk. Should it have been called strike three? Maybe.
With Utley red-hot on this Sunday afternoon and Howard not the hitter he once was, the intentional walk was the right call. However, Howard must’ve taken it personally, and possibly sharpened his focus just a notch.
Lucas Duda and Travis d’Arnaud hit back-to-back homers in the fifth. If these two guys can keep doing what they’re doing, and keep doing it in 2015, the Mets might not need to make a big splash in the offseason for a big bat. That’s assuming there’s any money to make a big splash.
Oops! Seems Terry Collins and Jenrry Mejia don’t have their stories straight. During the postgame, Collins said that Mejia told him he was completely healthy, and that nothing physical was bothering him. Minutes later, Mejia told reporters that not only is his calf bothering him, but also his back, as well as the fact he was diagnosed with a hernia about three weeks ago. Oh, and he’s not telling “anyone” because he wants to keep pitching through the end of the season. Huh. Well. Huh. Hmm. I wonder if Mejia is aware that Terry Collins has SNY at home, as well as a DVR, and there’s a slight possibility that either Collins, or maybe his wife or a close friend, MIGHT have heard Mejia’s comments, and MIGHT relay that information to Collins.
Next Mets Game
The phinal game of this phour game series between the Mets and Phillies happens on Monday aphternoon beginning at 1:05 PM. Jonathon Niese faces David Buchanan.