Mets Game 122: Win Over Phillies

Mets 4 Phillies 2

Take that, Cole Hamels! Who’s the “choke artist” now, huh?

“Fighting for their lives”, as their fearless leader Jerry Manuel proclaimed afterward, the Mets pulled to within 13 1/2 games of the first place Phillies with a hard fought, emotional win over their arch-rival.

Everyone made a contribution of some sort, as the orange and blue executed as a team in front of an electrified hometown crowd that refused to let anything rain on their parade — not even, um, the rain.

Mike Pelfrey pitched well for the second consecutive start, allowing two runs and striking out five in six innings of work. From there the bullpen took over and kept the Phillies bats silent through the final three — including a particularly strong four outs from Aaron Sele Brian Stokes. As usual, Frankie Fantastic kept the fans on the edge of their seats in the ninth, but this time came through with his 27th save of the season.


It took only 122 games (plus two months at the end of 2008), but Jerry Manuel finally figured out that Brian Stokes needs more “regular work” to be effective. We know this because Manuel admitted as much during the postgame. That information should be very useful in 2010.

Manuel was thrown out of the game for arguing an out call on a botched hit-and-run / attempted steal by Jeff Francoeur. The umpire was definitely out of position and made the wrong call — it wasn’t even close. But the silver lining was that Manuel’s bickering clearly ignited his troops with extra motivation to win.

Jeff Francoeur was the offensive MVP of the game, going 3-for-4 with a solo homerun. Luis Castillo, Dan Murphy, and Angel Pagan all had two hits apiece, and Fernando Tatis hit a triple and scored twice.

Cole Hamels struck Mike Pelfrey with a pitch, which Pelfrey didn’t particularly enjoy and said a few choice words to Hamels (that we can’t repeat here) on his way to first. But he eventually realized it wasn’t intentional and therefore did not retaliate when Hamels came to bat — instead, Pelf chose to strike him out. Good plan.

Pelf came close to allowing the yips to get to him in the sixth, when he nearly threw to an uncovered first base on a safety squeeze. However, he quickly settled down and got out of a tight spot.

Somehow, I could not get nearly as excited about this win as K-Rod was after the final out. I feel kind of bad about that, like I’m a poor fan or something. No jump, no fist pump, no primal scream of elation, no kiss to the sky — nothing. Maybe I was just too tired from a long day. Blame it on the rain and the oppressive humidity.

As of 11:45 PM Friday night, Billy Wagner was still a New York Met. Rumor has it that either the Florida Marlins or the Boston Red Sox claimed him on waivers. We may find out the truth before the end of the weekend.

Prior to the game, both Gary Sheffield and Mushmouth had different stories about what happened between the two in that fateful meeting on Thursday. In other words, everything is now as clear as mud. Yet another great job of public and media relations by the New York Mets.

Next Mets Game

The Mets and Phillies do it again at 7:10 PM on Saturday night. Phillie killer Tim Redding goes to the hill against J.A. “It’s Pronounced ‘Jay'” Happ.

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. isuzudude August 22, 2009 at 11:26 am
    For all the critics of Mike Pelfrey who feel it’s time to give up on the Mets’ #1 draft pick of 2005, last night is a reason why those people should button up. Pelfrey’s got a lot of heart, and showed up with his A game against the Mets’ biggest rival. And for a guy who is 6’7″, throws 96 MPH, and is just 25, it’s entirely too early to judge Pelfrey as a lost cause just yet. Yes, he’s been very inconsistent; and no, he hasn’t been the #2 starter everyone had penciled him in to be this year. But all I can say is that it just takes longer for some guys to develop, and I’m willing to bet Big Pelf is one of those guys. With his skillset and attributes, there’s just no way I’m willing to write Pelfrey off or trade him away because he hasn’t reached his potential yet.

    And loved seeing him bark at Hamels when he got plunked. It was an 0-2 pitch and there were 2 outs, so lord knows there was now way Hamels was throwing at Pelf on purpose. But it’s that kind of fire and directed anger that the Mets have been devoid of for so long, and a characteristic I would encourage rather than quell or dismiss.

    Maybe I’m easier to be entertained than you, Joe, but when Krod fanned Utley and Howard to end the game I was pretty pumped. Not as pumped as I would have been if the game had meant something more, but still pumped. I almost take more enjoyment out of beating the Phillies now when the Mets stink because we’re not supposed to win, whereas if the Mets were in contention and were 100% healthy I’d take a look at a game like last night and be critical of missed opportunities and defensive lapses rather than enjoying the victory. Maybe it’s just me.

    Regarding the Wagner sweepstakes, I was thumbing through the Red Sox minor league system and found a name who may spark some interest. Mets need a 1B/OF, right? Take a look at soon-to-be 27 year old Chris Carter in Pawtucket. Solid power, low K’s, good average. With Youkilis and Kotchman blocking his path of progression in Boston, he just might be expendable. I’d be happy with him as a return in a Wagner deal. Any thoughts?

  2. Mike August 22, 2009 at 1:37 pm
    ‘dude, not catch on Carter. One thing that jumps out at me is that while his average is about the same vs lefties (.280 vs .271) he has hit exact 0 of his 14 HRs against the southpaws. He also has 200 more at-bats against the righties. So while I think he is a decent guy to put on a ML bench, he probably will never hit lefties. That does not project to a future starter but definitely a nice little piece on a good team (perhaps paired with a decent hitting righty 1stbaseman).

    Also, on Pelfrey, I think his struggles were predicted by many this year because of his increased workload from last year. The same was said about Hammels actually. I think next year will be big for both players.

  3. sincekindergarten August 22, 2009 at 3:05 pm
    As for a prospect, I’d want Michael Bowden. Sure, he gave up 7 runs in 2 innings last night, but it was to the Yankees, so it shouldn’t factor too much in the general scheme of things. Bowden was the #1 pitching prospect of the Sox not named Clay Buchholz.
  4. isuzudude August 25, 2009 at 9:56 am
    Hold the phone – it seems as though Billy is now going to invoke his no trade clause and block a trade to Boston, meaning he’ll likely spend the rest of 2009 with the Mets. Coincidentally, Billy has made it clear he’d rather rest his arm in preparation for 2010 rather than have a chance at winning a championship ring. If Billy thinks the Mets are going to oblige with his request of not picking up his 2010 option on top of not offering him salary arbitration, as were his requests of Boston, he’s going to have another thing coming. I could care less how ‘attraction’ Billy will be as a free agent this offseason, so if offering him arbitration might scare away some suitors but still net the Mets a compensatory draft pick, I say tough cookies Billy Wagner. The Mets owe you no sort of gratitude to ensure your potential employment in 2010, so don’t go asking for any favors that would put the Mets even further behind the 8-ball.