Mets Game 56: Win Over Phillies

Mets 6 Phillies 5

Johan Santana tried to give this game away three times, took it back once (with his bat!), and in the end wound up a winner.

Fresh off the harsh criticism of Larry Jones, who termed the park “a joke”, Citi Field played like Fenway Park on Tuesday night, as seven big flies found the seats.

The Mets jumped out to a 3-0 lead early in the game thanks to homers by David Wright and Carlos Beltran, but the Phillies fought back with four of their own on “taters” by Ryan Howard, Raul Ibanez, and Jimmy Rollins.

However, the Mets rallied in the sixth, with Johan Santana delivering the key hit, a two-run double to right that tied the game (it was an old-school “slash” / “butcher-boy” show-bunt-but-swing play). Moments later Alex Cora ripped a single up the middle to score Omir Santos with the go-ahead run.

Ryan Church blasted a solo shot into the homerun apple beyond the centerfield fence to provide an insurance run, and Santana cashed in that policy immediately, yielding a homer to Chase Utley to lead off the top of the eighth.

Bobby Parnell came in relief of Santana and gave up a single to set the stage for Pedro Feliciano, whose first pitch resulted in a double play and fourth pitch finalized the inning. Talk about efficiency.

As usual, K-Rod kept things interesting but ultimately earned his 16th save of the season.

Notes

Johan was none too happy about being removed from the game in the 8th after giving up a homer to Chase Utley. He held the ball up to Jerry Manuel’s face and expressed his protest, though I’m not a lip reader and couldn’t make out what he said. ** UPDATE ** Apparently, Santana said to Manuel, “I am a man!”, though Jerry wasn’t sure what exactly that meant. Maybe Johan said it in Spanish, and really meant “mensch“, but something was lost in the translation?

Rollins came into the game hitting .222, but collected three hits and two RBI. This combined with a two-hit game on Sunday suggests he might be coming out of his season-long slump. Great timing, J-Roll … you couldn’t wait a few more days?

Everyone in the Mets lineup had a hit except leadoff man Luis Castillo. David Wright and Alex Cora were the only Mets with more than one (they each had two).

Is K-Rod earning his salary? Sixteen saves and only two earned runs in 28 innings pitched.

Next Mets Game

Game two begins at 7:10 PM on Wednesday evening. Mike Pelfrey faces Cole Hamels.

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. mic June 10, 2009 at 2:19 am
    I’m interested in seeing a plot of Santana’s ERa by start comparing 2008 and 2009. Is June his bad month?
  2. upson June 10, 2009 at 2:58 am
    I wanted to post this before the game but forgot. Here’s the plan for the rest of the season:

    1) Do not panic (by making a trade out of desparation).

    2) Stop making stupid mental mistakes and find a way to go 17-15 during the next brutal 32 game stretch. (I’ll even take 16-16 provided the Mets win crucial series against Phillies, Cardinals and Brewers.)

    3) Get Reyes and Perez healthy by All stars week.

    4) Play .600 baseball after AS, i.e. go 45-30.

    5) Get Delgado, Wagner and Putz healthy for September and October.

    Just like last year’s Marlon’s plan, this gives the Mets 92 wins for the season, which will be enough for the postseason. To avoid Dodgers in the first round, it might be necessary (with only 92 wins) to go 12-6 against the Phillies.

    I’m glad the Mets executed the first step of the plan well yesterday. Let’s hope that Hamels gets `bombed’ today as promised by Beltran during ST.

  3. isuzudude June 10, 2009 at 9:13 am
    Where to start, where to start?

    1. I tried logging the GBIPI and GBOOPI for the game but the process is entirely too inefficient when I have to rely on SNY’s coverage and not my own two eyes. In essense, I was only able to log what I was able to see. That having been said, I only caught 3 instances of ‘poor grittiness:’
    – Beltran admired his home run a bit and jogged to first base, which would have gotten him in trouble if the ball banged off the LF wall.
    – In the field, Jimmy Rollins failed to go after the ball, and then also failed to quickly cover thirdbase on a double down the LF line that Feliz had to chase after. Although, in the 9th, Rollins made up for the gaffe by performing a great take out slide at 2ndbase on Alex Cora, breaking up a DP.
    – Again in the field, Ryan Howard was way late covering as the cut-off man on Cora’s single up the middle, which allowed Victorino’s throw to go home (where there was no play) instead of being cut off to be thrown to 3rd or 2nd, where there might have been a play.
    I originally logged Sheffield for showing poor grittiness when he got called out at 2B on his hit off the wall, but on review I saw he did run hard out of the box, and was probably slowed by his bum knee. It was more an example of over-aggressiveness and good defense that got him out.
    The best examples of grittiness I logged was Tatis’ journey around the basepaths, in which he busted it out of the box on his hit off the wall in order to be safe at 2nd, then slid hard back in 2nd on the pick off attempt and scampered without hesitation to 3rd when the throw got away, and also broke quickly and slid hard at home when he was called out on Church’s grounder (in which replays showed he was clearly safe). So Tatis gets an A. Santana was also hustling all over the place, running hard to 1B to cover the bag on all hits to the right side, including foul balls; he ran hard out of the box on a simple groundout to 3rd in the 4th; and also ran hard around the bases on his double in the 6th. And Alex Cora deserves credit, too, as he ran hard out of the box on his hit that short hopped the RF wall and got a double, and also for taking 2nd on his single in which the throw from the OF got thru to the catcher instead of being cut off by Howard, as mentioned earlier.
    Though, I have to say, I don’t know how acurate keeping a log of head-to-head grittiness will determine who the better team is. Over the past couple seasons, the Mets have owned the Phillies, which suggests to me that the Mets ‘get up’ to play the Phillies. And while the Phillies are laying the hammer down on the lesser opponents, the Mets ‘play down to the competition’ and make more mental mistakes and miscues when the opponent isn’t as high caliber as the Phils. This reflects the “turning it on when we feel like” theory that has been discussed here. So though the Mets may show as much or more ‘grittiness’ in head to head matchups against the Phils, it’s the other 144 games in which the Mets tend to sleepwalk and shift into a lower gear. Because obviosuly we’ve seen our fair share of plays where the Mets have failed to hustle properly – we just might not see as much of it against the Phils.

    2. On to a different subject: I guess, for one night, the mighty CitiField couldn’t even contain the powerful Phils…though the Mets put on their own show of power last night, too. Not only hitting 3 HRs, but also banging 3 hits (Tatis, Shef, Cora) off the wall, which would have been homers at CBP. However, I am still encouraged that the Mets will be able to reap the rewards of their home field advantage more than the Phils because all of Philly’s runs last night came via the HR, which tells me they’re still focusing and relying on the longball to support their offense – a no-no for Citi-success. The Mets, on the other hand, scored half their runs on homers. If the Phils keep trying to swing for the fences over the next 2 days, I’m sure they’ll wind up with more warning track outs than 4-baggers.

    3. Mic: Johan was 1-4 last June, but still had a 2.27 ERA in 6 starts, so his bad record is more indicative of poor run support than poor pitching. He’s also 21-11 for his career in June. There’s likely some other reason (fatigue, soreness, pressure?) why he’s struggled a bit his last 3 outings.

  4. joejanish June 10, 2009 at 1:15 pm
    ‘dude, an admirable effort. I agree, it’s impossible to get a true log from the TV … I guess we need to hire a stringer and get him/her creds for the Citi Field press box (yeah, THAT’s happening!).

    But I think you made the main point: the Mets may have played inspired ball last night against the Phils, but we don’t see it every night, and I agree they “play down” to their competition.