Mets Game 88: Win Over Phillies

Mets 4 Phillies 2

I have to admit, it looked to me like the Mets were destined to lose this one.

However, they hung tough, somehow preventing the sluggin’, fightin’ Phils from stealing away the ballgame.

Oliver Perez was absolutely outstanding, pitching seven shutout innings of 4-hit ball. He was in trouble from inning one, but never got flustered, kept his cool, and did a miraculous job of working out of tough jams. While his last start against the Yankees was his most dominating, this outing was his most impressive. Ollie was presented with every possible concentration-disrupting situation, and he remained both focused and confident. I have no idea what he’s been eating for breakfast lately, but I want some. This is the Oliver Perez we’ve been dying to see since the 2006 postseason.

Ollie didn’t need much support, and received all he needed from a Carlos Beltran solo homer in the third. Beltran drove in an insurance run in the top of the ninth — but unfortunately the Mets needed a better policy. While the bridge to Billy Wagner did its job, Wagner did not, blowing his sixth save of the season. Wags gave up a two-run homer to Jayson Werth with two outs and a 1-2 count to tie up the ballgame.

With the way balls tend to fly out of Citizens Bank Park, and the number of homerun hitters on the Phillies, it seemed only a matter of time before someone in the Philly lineup lofted one beyond the fence in the bottom of a frame. However, Scott Schoeneweis retired the lefties and Joe Smith spun 2 1/3 scoreless innings to keep the Mets in the ballgame.

Finally, in the top of the twelfth, Carlos Delgado led off with a walk and was sacrificed to second by Damion Easley (an excellent bunt, by the way). Fernando Tatis followed with a deep fly to left center that found the seats to put the Mets ahead 4-2. Smith phinished ophph the Phillies in the bottom of the twelphth to secure the victory.

Notes

Beltran finally hit in the clutch, coming up with the homerun and the clutch single in the ninth. He and Jose Reyes were both 3-for-6 on the evening.

In 12 innings, the Mets left 14 runners on base. As individuals, the Mets batters stranded 23.

It took three pitchers — Pedro Feliciano, Aaron Heilman, and Duaner Sanchez — to get through the eighth.

Is it me, or does it seem like the Mets are always getting burned by not the Utley-Howard-Rollins trio, but Jayson Werth, Shane Victorino, or Greg Dobbs?

Speaking of Werth, he jumped on that 1-2 slider by Wagner like he knew it was coming. Either he was guessing slider or Billy is tipping his pitches. In my humble opinion, Billy needs to start humming that fastball inside and making the batters move their feet when he gets ahead. Wagner’s fastball is no longer in the upper 90s, but rather around 94, so he needs to make some adjustments in his approach.

While we’re on the subject of making batters move their feet, Joe Smith came up to bat for only the second time in his young career. He stood about six feet away from home plate, and was bailing out on every pitch. To his credit, he did take a couple of hacks en route to an ugly strike out.

Next Game

The phour-game series in Philly concludes on Monday at 7:05 pm. Pedro Martinez goes against Adam Eaton. Personally, I won’t be concerned if the Mets lose. By winning two games, they have at least treaded water against the Phillies — which to me is better than falling behind. My hope is that eventually, the Mets will go on a tear after Pedro figures things out, Ryan Church and Moises Alou become regulars in the lineup, Johan Santana has his trademark dominating second half, and someone among Beltran, Reyes, and Wright goes on an extended hot streak. Yes, I am spouting optimism — though guarded. If the Mets can just stay close until the All-Star break, they have a fair shot of making a strong run at the division title. Let’s hope it’s an exciting summer.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. sincekindergarten July 7, 2008 at 4:44 am
    Joe, a Mets fan at work was saying on Thursday, “I think that the Mets are going to turn the corner on this season, this weekend.” I’ll talk to him this morning, but I think he was right. I also think that Pedro slays the Phillthies tonight.

    And, Sabathia will not be pitching his home games in CBP–yeah, it was remote, but the chance was still there. The chances of Sabathia staying with the Brewers after the season are zero, and with Ben Sheets probably leaving for free agency, the Brewers could have five of the first 35 picks in the draft next year.

  2. isuzudude July 7, 2008 at 6:11 am
    I’m not quite ready to pronounce the Mets “fixed” yet. I think many of us might have been ready when the Mets went 4-2 against the Angels and Rockies on the road not so long ago, only to see the Mets come back to Shea and lay eggs against sucky Seattle. I can’t even say I’ll ooze optimism if the Mets regain 1st place in the division – all it does is set the stage for a 2007 encore. I’m going to keep expectations low, and hope for wins instead of demanding them. If the Mets lose, can’t say I’d be surprised. If they win, well then Xmas has come early for this little kid.

    SK, smart remarks regarding Sabathia. The Phils were rumored to have some interest in acquiring Sabathia, and with the way Adam Eaton and Brett Myers have pitched this year I’d say they were pretty justified. So not only am I thankful CC is not a Philly, I’m equally elated that the Yankees lost out on the lefty as well. They’ll probably still land some top-of-the-roatation starter this summer from somebody, but at least now their choices are a bit fewer.

  3. David W. July 7, 2008 at 10:36 am
    Small point about this game: Heilman walks Burrell in the 8th, which means a). he gets the weaker hitting Feliz as the 3rd out, but more importantly, b), Burrell gets lifted for Jenkins as a pinch runner, so he’s not around to kill the Mets in extra innings.

    NIce play by J. Smith to end the game, he kept his cool in a high-pressure spot.

  4. sincekindergarten July 7, 2008 at 12:03 pm
    Never thought about point “b,” DW. Good one.
  5. Micalpalyn July 7, 2008 at 2:55 pm
    Hi guys. Two observations;

    1. In the trade analysis this AM one point was that the Brewers wanted CC in anticipation of a playoff match up against teams including the Mets….

    2. Isuzu: As the All star break approaches the Mets are .500 kinda similar to the Phils and Rocks last yr. also note the coompetition. Yes with a win tonite the Mets are 2 losses back of the Phils (despite a handfull of really sickening losses), But look at the West. Arz leads with a .500 record ? sounds like parity is a buzz word for the NL this yr. With Ollie “fixed”, Santana, Maine and the new ‘pel’ i like our chances.

  6. isuzudude July 7, 2008 at 3:24 pm
    True, Mic, but this is still a team that will be very reliant on a washed-up Delgado, a slump-happy Beltran, a concust (and potentially disabled) Church, and oft-injured enigmas such as Alou, Castillo, and Pedro in the 2nd half. It just seems to me like the positives are equaled out by the negatives, and that will be a huge contributing factor in keeping the Mets a .500 team the rest of the way. And yes, with the current state of affairs in the NL, .500 ain’t all that bad. But I doubt that’ll be good enough to win the wildcard (what with the Cubs and Brewers looking like shoo-ins at this point) and who knows if it’ll be enough to top the Phillies or Marlins for the division. To reiterate: I’m cautiously hopeful, but not optimistic.
  7. Micalpalyn July 7, 2008 at 9:19 pm
    Au contrare. manuel has moved Del from 5th to 7th. del does have 15Hr and has come along way. CB in my view has a thermostat that ranges from .260-280. when he hits .250 he turns it up, at .280 he dials down. He is still fine with me because he is a better alround player than straw was.

    The issue isuzu is pitching. Santana has a sub 4 ERA. But if Ollie is on, maine can be decent and Pel continue to do well it will carry the offense.

    The 2nd issue is defense. Del IS an issue here. Tatis has been an UPGRADE and he has all of ten games experience at 1st. You yourself were in Castillo’s corner but Easley and Tatis have been a huge lift. Church and Alou could really put us over the hump.

    You make a great point though. I think del, wags and even alou would make interesting trade bait. I would re-tool with say a trade of Jed lowrie for alou or Del (an example) , then let the chips fall.

  8. joe July 7, 2008 at 9:49 pm
    Sabathia: not sure that it is necessarily good for the Brewers to throw Sabathia at the Mets. From my perspective, it’s an opportunity for the Mets to get a look at C.C. — so if by grace of god the Mets go to the postseason vs. the Brew Crew, Sabathia won’t be an unknown quantity.

    Straw vs. Beltran: Mic, don’t open that can of worms. Yes, Beltran is better defensively, but that’s where it ends. Beltran in KC vs. Straw, Beltran wins. Beltran in NYC vs. Straw in NYC, no contest. Straw had many flaws, but the man loved the NY stage and flourished on it. His stats were similar or better than Beltran’s, at a time when there were only 12 teams in the NL and the pitching was better. If you sabermetrically correct Straw’s stats and Beltran’s stats (Baseball-Reference.com), Straw is a much better producer.

    On trades: Mets won’t sell, so Delgado, Wags, et al will remain.

  9. Micalpalyn July 7, 2008 at 10:14 pm
    1. I think the Mets could be better w/o wags instead having a committee or heilman/Sanchez team. I think wags could be dangled to the AL . In turn i might go for damaso or fuentes to fill for wags.

    2. Del: del’s power intrigues, but consider omar once dealt for floyd and Colon only to deal them later. I’d deal del to an AL team looking for a DH. Then I’d pick up Richie sexson (salary dump).

    I might keep alou, but he is going to retire after the season and i think he and el duque will fetch something. The flipside is Alou is going to hit, and i’d only trade for a sure thing. el Duque intrigues as a potential closer.

    I’d trade schneider too at the right price. I see Cancel/Casanova/castro as a nice platoon. Schneider to the Sox? Another trade partner tampa…the warm weather and alou might fit.

    History: remember SP’s FIRST trade…Yes it catapulted the mets OUT of the WC race and put the cubs in the race.

  10. joe July 7, 2008 at 10:35 pm
    Mic, I thought you were optimistic about the Mets chances this year?

    1. Wags: is going nowhere.

    2. Del is hitting in the .230s. No one wants him. The Mets would get at best a couple of fringe A-ball players in return. AT BEST.

    3. Alou and Duque are useless in a trade while on the DL. If healthy, they might be worth more than the aforementioned package for Delgado. Not much though.

    4. Why would any contender want to trade for Schneider? Tampa? They have an All-Star catcher and a fine backup. Which Sox? Neither have any use for Schneider. Tampa Bay also doesn’t need Alou.

    Reality: anyone the Mets have as trade bait, is worth more to the Mets than to anyone else. There will be no huge deadline deal for the Mets, because they simply have no one available that is coveted by anyone else. The team “is what it is”.

  11. isuzudude July 8, 2008 at 6:09 am
    Mic, I’m not sure where you got your general manager’s degree, but you might want to ask for a refund. Wagner has a no-trade clause, Omar is in love with Schneider (from his days as Nationals GM), nobody in their right minds wants Alou or Duque, and Richie Sexson is merely a right-handed version of Carlos Delgado. Your moves make little sense and do nothing to help the Mets this year or beyond. I respect your opinion, but none of your projected moves are going to happen…nor should they.
  12. Micalpalyn July 8, 2008 at 9:34 pm
    No move i have EVER seen on a blog have ever come to fruition…