Mets Game 144: Loss to Phillies
Phillies 1 Mets 0
Well, at least they weren’t swept. Though, they were mathematically eliminated from winning the NL East (the Mets are now 20 games behind the Phillies with 18 games left to play).
Tim Redding continued his remarkable ability to mystify the most powerful offense in the National League, holding the Phillies to one measly run on three hits in six innings. However, Pedro Martinez was just a little better, shutting out the Mets through eight frames — allowing six hits, two walks, and striking out seven in an inspiring and emotional 130-pitch effort.
You remember Pedro — the guy who insisted he was finally healthy and practically begged the Mets to give him one more year of pitching in New York?
With Brad Lidge remaining on the bench, the Mets had little chance of coming back in the ninth. Instead, Ryan Madson came on to earn his eighth save of the season.
The Mets scattered seven hits, more than doubling the Phillies’ three. But hits are irrelevant if they don’t score runs.
Pedro’s change-up was thrown as slow as 75 MPH and as fast as 87 MPH. He was 90-91 on most of his fastballs. His 125th and 126th pitches of the night were clocked at 91 MPH.
Pedro is now 5-0 with a 2.87 ERA and has yet to “disrupt” the Phillies clubhouse with his “poisonous” personality — which was predicted by such “experts” as Seth Everett and Don LaGreca. (The Phillies are 7-0 in his starts.)
Once Jeremy Reed replaced Fernando Tatis in left, joining Carlos Beltran in center and Cory Sullivan in right, the Mets fielded perhaps the best defensive outfield combination in their history.
Did anyone else see Kevin Burkhardt competing against Roger Federer between games? The commute would’ve been a lot easier if the Mets were playing at home.
Today’s Baseball Lesson
With two outs and Pedro on pitch #130, Dan Murphy broke for third on a ball in the dirt, only to be thrown out by Carlos Ruiz. Youngster, take heed of this baseball absolute: NEVER, EVER make the first out or the third out at third base. EVER. The reason you don’t make the last out at third is because you are already in scoring position at second base, and with two outs you can only score on a hit. OK, if you’re on third base there is a chance you can score on a wild pitch, but those are fairly rare (except at the very low levels) and they don’t occur often enough to make it worth the gamble of advancing to third — it’s a low-percentage play. In contrast, with less than two outs, it’s OK to be more aggressive in advancing to third because you can score on an out (i.e., sacrifice fly or ground out) — your options are greatly broadened. Dan Murphy standing on second base with two outs and standing on third base with two outs is essentially the same situation — in either case your most likely chance of scoring is on a ball hit to the outfield that falls safely.
Next Mets Game
The Mets have Monday off, and will travel to Atlanta to begin a three-game set with the Braves. Game one begins at 7:00 PM and pits Pat Misch against Tommy Hanson.
There’s one other advantage to being on 3rd with 2 outs. Sometimes if a ball is hit really hard on one hop to an outfielder with a good arm you still can’t score from 2nd, even with 2 outs. That’s also a very rare thing and not worth the risk of trying to advance to 3rd.