Mets Game 101: Win Over Phillies
Mets 6 Phillies 3
What a difference Billy Wagner makes.
Armed with their closer, the Mets were able to hold a three-run lead in the final frame, moving back into a tie for first place with the Philadelphia Phillies.
John Maine re-filled his role of “stopper”, pitching seven strong innings, allowing three runs on six hits and two walks and striking out five. And he did it efficiently, expending 104 pitches. I still see issues with his mechanics, and his command wasn’t great, but he looked a lot better than his previous three starts.
The game was tied 3-3 until the sixth, when Ryan Madson came in relief of Philly starter Brett Myers. He was immediately greeted by an infield single off the bat of Damion Easley, followed by a Brian Schneider single. John Maine failed to get the bunt down and struck out, but Jose Reyes made that moot by blasting a homerun to the scoreboard, putting the Mets ahead to stay.
Scott Schoeneweis and Joe Smith combined to pitch a scoreless eighth, and Billy Wagner threw a 1-2-3 ninth to notch his 25th save.
Easley had three hits on the day — all infield singles.
Carlos Delgado batted cleanup for the first time since 1942, and went 1-for-2 with two walks. David Wright also collected two walks, hitting in his usual third spot. Carlos Beltran was 1-for-3 with a walk, a hit, and an RBI from the five hole. After Beltran, the lineup was pretty scary.
In the third, Carlos Beltran hit a single up the middle with David Wright on second base and one out. Luis Aguayo held up Wright at third, despite the fact that the Mets had Marlon Anderson, Damion Easley, and Brian Schneider coming up. No offense to those three guys — I LOVE Easley and Marlon — but they’re not exactly the type of hitters who strike fear in a pitcher’s heart. I really wonder if Aguayo would have held Wright if not for his numbskull imitation of Don Quixote the previous evening, waving home Endy Chavez with no outs and the Mets’ best hitters coming up next. Third base coaching is not easy, and it’s not an exact science. But, the coach has to take into consideration the situation, and ignore the tabloids. Aguayo appeared to be coaching not to make a mistake, rather than to the benefit of the team. As it turned out, Damion Easley rapped an infield single to score Wright, so the point it moot.
In that same inning, Brian Schneider came up with two outs and the bases loaded, and swung at Myers’ first offering, slapping a grounder to Chase Utley to end the inning. Apparently, Schneider did not notice the 3-2 count Myers struggled through while Brian waited on deck, nor his plunking of Carlos Delgado. In other words: Myers was having control issues, and was not getting his fastball over. If this knowledge was used for Schneider’s at-bat, he either would have been looking for a hanging curveball, or at least making Myers throw a strike. Instead, he took the easy way out that most inferior hitters take — put the bat on the first pitch you can handle, to avoid the stress of a two-strike count. Good hitters zone in on a particular area or pitch, and are comfortable falling behind 0-1 if they don’t get it.
The rubber match is an early one; a 12:10 pm start for the day camps. Oliver Perez pitches against Jamie Moyer. Whoever wins will have sole possession of first place, as the Marlins have already lost their 48th game and can’t be any better than second place tomorrow.