Mets Game 57: Loss to Phillies

Phillies 5 Mets 4

Per the script, the Mets jumped out to a 4-1 lead early. Unfortunately, they didn’t finish with the same exuberance.

It’s not a common occasion to chase Cole Hamels from the game after five innings, 11 hits, and 4 runs, and when you do, you want to put the hammer down and win the game. However, the Mets let this one get away.

Mike Pelfrey pitched six strong innings, but ran into trouble in the seventh, loading the bases without retiring a batter. Sean Green — who had retired the last 14 batters he faced — came on and did his best impersonation of Scott Schoeneweis a righthander could, allowing all three runners to score to tie the game. In his defense, Green got one ground ball that David Wright mishandled, resulting in a run, but still …

The game went eleven innings before the winning run crossed the plate — a Chase Utley solo homer, his second of the game and serving as the other bookend of the Phillies’ scoring.

The winning pitcher was Chan Ho Park. How did this happen?


The Mets looked like they might win the game in bottom of the tenth with two outs, after Fernando Martinez singled and David Wright drilled a line drive to right that would’ve driven in the winning run. But Jayson Werth pulled a Ron Swoboda, making a miraculous and daring, diving catch to end the inning.

Both Wright and Omir Santos were 3-for-5 on the day, and Mike Pelfrey was 2-for-3, including a double, a run and an RBI.

After pounding Hamels for 11 hits in the first five frames, the Mets managed just five hits in the final six innings against the Phillies bullpen. But, the Phillies had only three hits against the Mets’ bullpen in the final five frames — including Utley’s game-winning homer.

Bobby Parnell gave up Utley’s blast, and the three outs he collected were all very deep fly balls that likely would have been out of any other ballpark. Yikes.

The Mets left 16 runners on base. The Phillies left 5. ’nuff said. If I hear one more time about how Jerry Manuel’s “curveball drill” from spring training is helping the team drive in runs, I’m going to scream. (Never mind, I already did.)

In the sixth inning, Chase Utley stepped out of the batter’s box as Mike Pelfrey was about to pitch, and Big Pelf stared Utley down. Utley returned with a “go pound salt” response, and Pelfrey lost his cool — Utley completely got into his head over something that shouldn’t have been an issue. As a result, Pelf paid no attention to the runner, who took second base on the next pitch easily. It then took another minute before someone from the dugout finally told David Wright to go to the mound and try to calm down Pelf — since it was clear that Omir Santos wasn’t moving from his crouch. A few seconds after Wright began his trot to the mound, Jerry Manuel walked out of the dugout and made a trip. The entire event was painfully embarrassing, from Pelf losing focus, to Santos not walking out there, to Wright needing to be prodded, to Manuel’s do-nothing mumbling when he visited the mound, to the SNY AND WFAN announcers, both of which were clearly reading from talking points and expounding on Wright’s “leadership” and Manuel’s “great way with the players”. Although Pelfrey wound up getting an inning-ending groundout, that doesn’t erase the mishandling of the situation. Right there, it’s the catcher’s job to get off his duff and calm down his pitcher. If the backstop doesn’t move, then the “leader” has to get there immediately and take control of the situation. If only Keith Hernandez could have run down from the broadcast booth, instead of reading from David Howard’s cue cards ….

Don’t get me wrong, I like the idea of Pelfrey getting emotional — but not so emotional that he loses focus. An athlete can learn to transform that energy into sharper focus. Pelf may get there some day.

Next Mets Game

The series finale on Thursday begins at 7:10 PM. Phillies killer Tim Redding faces Knick Knack Paddy Whack Jamie Moyer.

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. gary s June 10, 2009 at 11:36 pm
    hate to say it, but after watching all the runners left in scoring position last year and all the runners left on tonite, cole hamels is right.we are a bunch of chokers.when we make the playoffs, the tag goes away..6 games this year of 3 run leads or more that we lost.bullpen used up and redding on hill tomorrow.better not leave 100 guys on base again ..
  2. Walnutz15 June 11, 2009 at 7:32 am
    – 16 men left on base

    – Not making 2 key defensive plays they should’ve put in their back pockets (Beltran/Wright); and

    – Giving up yet another 3-run (or more) lead – (From what I understand, the 6th time this year the Mets have given up a 3-run or more lead and ultimately lost the game?)

    isn’t gonna help many teams in the standings.

    Hopefully, “Phillie-Killer” Tim Redding lives up to “his billing” tonight…..(insert Rodney Dangerfield Caddyshack eye-roll here — “Looks good on you though!”)

    From what I’ve seen, this guy couldn’t get the Phillies from the Major-Division of Great Kills Little League out these days.

    I’m convinced that this team was assembled to assist in the creation of bonafide bi-polar personalities.

  3. isuzudude June 11, 2009 at 8:46 am
    Gary and Walnutz pretty much summed up everything I wanted to touch upon. Nice to see I’m in good company.

    I’m happy that no one here is hammering the Mets’ relief pitching (too hard) for letting the game get away. Because, all told, the ‘hit’ by Werth that Beltran could have (in my mind, SHOULD have) caught at the wall would have been the 1st out in the 7th, and runners would have remained at 1st and 2nd. Because that ball was smoked Pelfrey was likely being removed even if Beltran caught the ball, so enter Sean Green. He gave up a ligit rope of a single to Feliz, but with how hard the ball was hit and Howard’s speed on 2nd, that’s likely only loading the bases. Ruiz then tapped a ball to Wright, which, again, if fielded cleanly results in a 5-2-3 double play, and there’s your inning without a run scoring. And then taking a 4-1 lead into the 8th and 9th with Feliciano and Krod at the ready looks like a definite win. So the issue of the Phillies putting up a 3-spot in the 7th is more on the shoulders of the defense than the pitching, if you ask me.

    One could also say the Phillies’ bullpen came up big, with 6 shutout innings, but that was more a case of the Mets repeatedly shooting themselves in the foot than excellent releif work. As well as terrific defensive plays from Werth and Park.

    Not mentioned, but equally as vital, was the out call on Beltran in the 4th, in which he clearly beat out a double play at 1st. That blown call cost the Mets a run, as Pelfrey would have scored from 3rd. Second consecutive game in which the umps have stolen a run from the Mets. It’s one thing if they blow a call at first with 2 outs and no one on. But with the bases loaded, on a play that would have scored a run if the call was made correctly, the umpiring crew has got to make those calls right. If the Mets go up 5-1 at that point, who knows if the Phils ever make the comeback in the 7th.

    When can we just get video cameras at the 4 umpiring stations and let replay determine who’s out and who’s safe? Accurateness over tradition, that’s what I say.

  4. Wendy June 11, 2009 at 9:27 am
    The runners left on base by the Mets is what cost the game. The ump clearly blew the call at first base when Beltran beat out the double play, but we didn’t get the call and it was costly.

    As far as Beltran and Wright not making the plays, we know that 9 out of 10 times, they make those plays and make them look easy, didn’t happen last night, move on to the more important issues.

    In regards to Pelf losing it, Santos staying put, and Wright hesitating, who’s to say the reason it happened, maybe Wright was waiting for Santos since typicall it is the catcher who does the calming down. Two weeks ago when Pelfrey had the Yips on the mound it was Wright that did his best to calm him down.

  5. joejanish June 11, 2009 at 9:28 am
    gary – after the errors by Beltran and Wright, I couldn’t get Billy Joel’s song “Pressure” out of my head.

    ‘dude – good points, particularly in not blaming the BP. My only disagreement is on the umpiring, which has gone both ways all year. And I’m not of the opinion that the umpires are necessarily any worse this year than any other — rather, that the TV replay technology has gotten remarkably better.

    I wouldn’t judge the umpires as outstanding this year, but they’re still making less errors than the players. And human error is a function of the game, always has been.

    Oh, and even with the video replays on the homeruns, the umps are still blowing the calls — including at least twice in the Mets’ favor.

  6. Walnutz15 June 11, 2009 at 9:33 am
    “move on to the more important issues”


    ^ Those 2 non-plays are the story of the game — regardless. Falling right in line with the Mets’ sloppy fundamental play the entire way through, to June 11th.

    The Mets obviously leave countries of men on base….this is nothing new.

    The Mets swing at bad pitches, and take sub-par at-bats with RISP and less than 2 outs….this is also nothing new.

    A team continuously in that position absolutely HAS to make the defensive plays in a tight spot…period. Making Sean Green throw extra pitches to good Major League hitters isn’t exactly a good idea.

    P.S. – Pelfrey’s tough-guy act did nothing for me…if anything, he’s lucky he got away with the location of the very next pitch to Utley — because he smoked it right as Castillo.

  7. Walnutz15 June 11, 2009 at 9:40 am
    2009 Team Errors:

    Phillies — 19
    Mets — 41*

    * However, this does not include the errors they made January through March — during the Winter signing period.

    (And Joe — thanks for injecting some reality into the Pelfrey shenanagins. I can’t believe the people talking about how “great” it was. Guy tends to lose his mind on the hill, and that’s not always a good thing…as we’ve seen from him before.)

  8. Wendy June 11, 2009 at 9:57 am
    I just meant that the RISP and LOB are the more critical issue, they are nothing new, no question, but defensive mistakes are going to happen, they are not robots.

    At least Wright was an active participant in the game and got on base 4 times, Beltran got two hits but a critical strike out as well as the blown double play call. He charged that ball and missed, it could have just as easily been called an infield single, as a lot of the same type hits frequently get called. Beltran allowing that ball to play him at the wall to load the bases was the least forgivable mistake, but it happens.

  9. joejanish June 11, 2009 at 10:04 am
    I don’t know that RISP and LOB are more critical than defensive errors. Errors often lead to runs scored, and always result in more pitches thrown. More pitches thrown often leads to more runs, directly or indirectly. How many times in the past three years has the bullpen been blamed for “not doing the job”, but also been the victim of errors that allowed innings to continue?

    Bottom line is that to win, you have to score more times than you allow your opponent to score. So there are two sides to the end goal, and the Mets consistently have been built to work only one of them.

  10. Wendy June 11, 2009 at 10:18 am
    Joe, i agree with you that errors do lead to more pitches and batters being faced, i just meant that the error was not the main story last night, in my opinion anyway, and it would not have even happened if Beltran had not let the ball play him.

    If more runners scored by the Mets with all the chances they had, the 2 unearned runs would have been a drop in the bucket.

  11. isuzudude June 11, 2009 at 10:41 am
    Wendy – the reason I brought up Wright and Beltran’s errors wasn’t to bash their defensive prowess…I know they’re 2 of the best fielders in the game. I only mentioned it to show how it wasn’t entirely the fault of Sean Green for letting his inherited runners to score in the Phils’ 3-run 7th. The defensive miscues were more to blame than his poor pitching.

    And I agree with ‘nutz: seeing that the Mets have tallied over 20 more errors than the Phils this year qualifies the Mets defense, or lack thereof, as an “important issue.” Not to mention the 41 errors ranks 5th highest in the NL, and the Mets’ .981 fielding precentage is tied for 4th worst in the NL. A significant amount of the blame for those poor team stats is because of players playing out of position due to injury, I’ll grant that…as well as the Murphy experiment-gone-nightmare in LF. But still, look at the guys on the team who we consider as very good fielders: Wright has 8 errors. Reyes has 5. Castillo 4. Even Beltran has made 2. To dismiss their recent fielding errors and blunders based on their past reputations is irresponsible. There is a clear problem with this team’s defense this year and it needs to be called out and addressed.

    As far as last night’s game goes, the issue of leaving runners on base never would come up today if Beltran and Wright made their respective defensive plays.

    Meantime, the issue of the Mets offense failing to deliver may be overblown. Yes, it certainly SEEMS like they leaves hordes of baserunners in scoring position on a nightly basis, but the team’s overall numbers are still better than average. They score 4.68 runs per game, 4th most in the NL. They hit .283 with runners in scoring position, best in the NL. The average dips to .245 with RISP and 2 outs, but that still ranks in the middle of the pack in the NL, so it’s not like there aren’t other teams with the same problem (for example, the Phillies, Dodgers, and Cardinals all hit worse than the Mets with RISP and 2 outs). So I think we can easily make the case that the Mets true “important issue” this year is defense, and not clutch hitting or offensive production. Those numbers don’t lie.

  12. micalpalyn June 11, 2009 at 11:11 am
    Another facet is the one brought up 3 days ago…The Mets are playing probably the best team in baseball right now…without their biggest rbi bat and GG (caliber) shortstop and table setter yet are 1-1 in this series but should be 2-0.

    – Mental: Cole Hamels showed that the Phils recognize the Mets as their prime enemy and verbalize it.

    -But the mets have a new mental edge…Chip Ambres is back.

  13. Wendy June 11, 2009 at 11:22 am
    dude, yes i agree, i was not excusing the errors at all, they were costly, no doubt and should be addressed. The LOB numbers would probably still have have been mentioned win or lose, if they won, it was despite the LOB. The errors were a big part of the problem, but not the only problem, all i’m sayin….
  14. isuzudude June 11, 2009 at 11:53 am
    Well, Wendy, to be fair you previously stated that we should “move on to the more important issues” instead of talking about the Mets problems on defense, but now you are saying “the
    errors were a big part of the problem.” So, wheras before the fielding miscues weren’t even worth mentioning, now you see them as a big part of the problem – i.e. an “important issue.” Nonetheless, I’m glad to see you’re inching your way over to our side of the fence on this matter, now.

    Mic – Hallelujah, we got Chip Ambres back! That mental edge should prevent the Mets from making any more blunders for the rest of the season…even if he never makes his way out of Buffalo.

  15. gary s June 11, 2009 at 12:30 pm
    i agree with all..bad defense and bad baserunning on this time is epidemic.what do u folks think of batting wright leadoff.he’s hitting .355 with a .450 obp and can steal a base.he’s not good with risp.gets him out of the pressure risp situations for a few weeks.also castillo’s avg is going south.what about trying it till reyes comes back??
  16. Wendy June 11, 2009 at 1:03 pm
    dude, i never said they weren’t worth mentioning, but neither here nor there, yes, i did get caught up on the 16 LOB, only human, seems too par for the course, that’s all. yes, i am in agreement that the errors, called or not, were extremely costly, but i was just pointing out that what happened in the top of the 7th was not the total game. If the plays had been made, the damage would have not been as drastic, but at no point was the game out of reach offensively for the Mets.

    I actually have been mentioning several times that Wright should be given a crack at leadoff, he has been the speedster, but i do wonder how the shift would affect the middle of the lineup. I doubt Jerry would try anything drastic tonight as the rubber game, but during one of the interleague games, it may be considered.

  17. isuzudude June 11, 2009 at 3:53 pm

    Gary – I admire the creativity, but Wright doesn’t belong anywhere other than the 3, 4, or 5 hole. His ability to drive in runs is far more important than his ability to score runs. Why? Because he is a power hitter, with the ability to knock in runners already on base with one swing of the bat. Batting him leadoff not only diminishes his chances of driving in runners, but now you’re taking away one of the RBI machines out of the middle of the lineup. Who are you replacing him with in the 4 or 5 hole? Church? Murphy? Tatis? No good. In addition, Wright would be displacing either Cora or Castillo, both of which excel on strictly getting on base and not driving in runners. So to have either of them lower in the lineup would be to the detriment of offensive production.

    You mention that “he’s not good with RISP,” but au contrair, Wright’s hitting .351 this year with RISP, as well as .286 with RISP and 2 outs. Not too shabby. You gotta do your homework before you make an accusation like that. Wright does have the highest OBP on the team, but that doesn’t automatically make him the best leadoff hitter by default. In a perfect world he’d be batting 3rd, in front of Beltran and Delgado, where his abilities to get on base and drive in runners would be best served. But with the injury depleted roster, and knowing Beltran needs his protection in the lineup, Wright needs to bat 4 or 5 to keep the offense clicking.