Mets Game 47: Win Over Phillies

Mets 5 Phillies 0

Who are these Mets? Who are those Phillies?

The Mets won their fourth in a row — beating the Yankees and Phillies — and their fifth of their last six. They’ve shut out the Phillies in back-to-back games using fill-in starters. Is it because they’re that good? Is it because Jerry Manuel knows exactly what buttons to press, and when? Now that they’ve crawled out of the cellar, should we expect the Mets to start mashing their way to the top of the division?

Time will tell.

Game Notes

Hisanori “Don’t Call Me Ken” Takahashi spun another brilliant start, stupefying the Phillies through six innings of shutout ball. He allowed 5 hits, walked none, and struck out 6. The Phillies truly looked befuddled against him — I guess that’s what happens when they aren’t told what’s coming.

Takahashi is now tied with Johan Santana and Mike Pelfrey for the team lead in wins (4). He’s posted a 0.81 ERA over his last 8 appearances, going back to Cinco de Mayo.

Is it a coincidence that Takahashi, Raul Valdes, Jennry Mejia, and R.A. Dickey have been the biggest surprises on the staff, and none were exposed to Dan Warthen until very recently? Probably.

Jose Reyes blasted his first homer of the year, a 400-foot laser over the right field wall. He’s just getting warmed up, folks.

Rod Barajas — a.k.a., “Lord of the (High) Flies” — drove in 3 more runs with a double and a long fly. He’s hitting .533 with 8 RBI in 4 games vs. the Phillies this year. Clearly, NL teams do not archive their scouting reports, or Hot Rod would not continually get pitches low and in — pretty much the only spot his bat swings through. Let’s hope no one catches on.

Similarly, I hope the Mets continue to throw pitches — of any variety — down and away to Ryan Howard. Change-ups, fastballs, breaking pitches — it doesn’t matter what — if the pitch is below his knees, and off the outside corner, he’s swinging and missing. Those breezes must have been welcome in the 95+ degree heat during the game.

Angel Pagan was 2-for-4 with two stolen bases and a run scored, and his push bunt in the sixth helped ignite a three-run rally. He’s quietly turning into a solid offensive force at the bottom half of the lineup. Carlos Who?

Speaking of steals, the Mets are 7-for-7 in stolen base attempts in this series, and are second in the NL in both total steals (43) and SB percentage (83%).

Fernando Nieve did make an appearance, tossing 14 pitches in a perfect ninth. But this outing was PLANNED, as he was “getting his work in” in preparation for a spot start this coming weekend. Really? He needs to get work in? It will take a minor miracle to keep his right arm from detaching from his body before the end of the season.

The Mets are now 18-9 at home, and beginning to resemble the 1987 Twins, minus the dome.

The Phillies have scored a scant 15 runs in their past 8 games. The’ve scored 4 runs in their last 45 innings. The pitchers on the end of the Mets depth chart have shut them out through 18 consecutive innings. WTF?

This was the first time the Mets shut out the Phillies in back-to-back games since July 17-18, 1998, when Al Leiter and Hideo Nomo pulled the trick (back then pitchers still occasionally finished what they started).

The Phillies, by the way, have been shut out four times this year — three of those times in their last three games.

Next Mets Game

The Mets go for the sweep on Thursday night, sending Mike Pelfrey to the mound against Cole Hamels. Game time is 7:10 PM.

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. Nick May 27, 2010 at 3:34 am
    It was mid game. With runners on. Howard at the plate. 2 outs. BIG spot for Takahashi. He gets Howard to two strikes, swinging on a changeup in the dirt. (I think this is the correct order of commentators). Darling says "now I'd like him to bring the high heat, change the eye level of Howard". And Keith Hernandez "I'd like to see him throw another changeup into the dirt".
    Lo and behold, Takahashi opts to throw another change, its not in the dirt, but Howard whiffs at it. Strike three, Takahashi passes a solid test of a major leauge starter. Congrats Takahashi, congrats Keith.
  2. gary s. May 27, 2010 at 3:44 am
    hate to be a party pooper, but i hope minaya is trying to get an experienced starter.i have blogged about how there was no way a team could afford a maine and a perez in the same rotation and have been proven correct.kudos to takahashi and dickey, but i think it's too much to expect 2 journeyman like dickey and takahashi to go out there every 5 days and provide quality yes, but two is a reach.therefore i'd like to see us aquire an experinced starter (millwood, lee, oswalt) for the remainder of the season and maybe we can contend all year..
  3. PT&S May 27, 2010 at 3:52 am
    When I read the thing about Nieve starting Saturday, I had to spend 10 minutes counting roster spots to remember that there was actually a hole to be filled there. Being down three starters is too weird to have internalized before this.

    But in a sane world, where Jerry wasn't trying to end Nieve's career … isn't the short-term solution pretty obvious? Start Dickey on Saturday, because he doesn't care how often he pitches, and bring Misch up to pitch on Sunday on his regular rest. Maybe Misch gets shelled, maybe he doesn't, but he's at least been competitive. And what's the reasonable alternative?

    Second choice, start Valdes on Saturday on Sunday. But Nieve? My head hurts.

  4. Nick May 27, 2010 at 4:12 am
    Nobody before the season, or even now thinks the Mets aren't in need of a veteran starter. How perfect would Roy Oswalt fit between Santana and Pelfrey? With the offense firing on all cylinders, the bullpen steady as it has been for the past few years, our rotation could be solved with those three and you could basically find a fourth and fifth starter.
    But we don't have Oswalt, and Takahashi is proving to be a fine stop gap. Dickey as well. So what's the problem guys? They're pitching well, doesn't mean we need to not look for starters, but why the complaining? Isn't it amazing that we are scrambling for a fifth starter, when Minaya had clear warning we needed starters?

    On the Radar – Vazquez, Lowe, Oswalt, Harang or Arroyo (yes?), Millwood,
    Kick the tires on: Greinke, Cliff Lee, Kazmir or Joe Saunders
    Hate to say it, but we need to consider parting with our chronically injured Fernando Martinez if it can land us somebody on this list. But I'll stop there in terms of prospects, eat the cash, give up Fmart, get the SP. If not, we have to seriously consider the merits of wooing Pedro or Washburn, if they're effective and willing to come. In the meantime, I can live with TAkahashi and Dickey. Anybody so long as they're not named Oliver Perez.

  5. Nick May 27, 2010 at 4:13 am
    I should have probably placed Vazquez on the 'kick the tires' list, I don't think the Yankees are in sell mode on him, and I don't think they want to open up their own hole in the rotation.
  6. Andy May 27, 2010 at 4:13 am
    Takahashi spent 10 seasons as a middle-of-the-rotation starter for NPB's version of the Yankees, so he doesn't really belong in the same category as RA.
  7. Andy May 27, 2010 at 4:15 am
    I was thinking Valdes. It would be only 3 days rest but he threw only 57 pitches so he should be okay.
  8. Rob May 27, 2010 at 7:21 am
    "Takahashi is now tied with Johan Santana and Mike Pelfrey for the team lead in wins (4)."

    Pelf is 4-0 at home and 6-1 overall on the season.

  9. isuzudude May 27, 2010 at 12:00 pm
    Here's the big question I ask myself: even if the Mets do go out and acquire Oswalt or Lee or Arroyo or some other veteran starting pitcher, does giving up the prospects and spending the extra dough make this team a viable playoff contender? Because, if not, and the move is purely reactionary because all of a sudden the injury bug is popping it's head in on this team again, then what is the point? The names we are considering trading for are not coming for nothing, and are most likely going to cost the Mets at least 2 close-to-MLB ready prospects, if not more. And I doubt a FMart/Parnell centerpiece is enough to entice potential trade partners anymore. Especially for the upper-echelon pitchers being mentioned here. We're probably talking Ike Davis/Jenry Mejia as a starting point for negotiations. Is that worth sacrificing for a slight boost in our playoff chances? To me, the answer is no. Honestly, I still don't think the Mets are a playoff caliber team even with an additional top of the line starter, and we're again being bamboozled by recent success by the Mets because they're happening to catch a few good teams on cold streaks.
  10. isuzudude May 27, 2010 at 12:01 pm
    Enter text right here! IMO, we should still have our focus on building a winning team for 2011 and beyond. I'm not saying to blow up the 2010 team, or to give up on the season, but I'd prefer to stick with the status quo and see if they can continue to stay hot while not giving up anymore peices that may be important to our success in the future.

    And if anyone thinks Derek Lowe, Aaron Harang, Kevin Millwood, or the like, are going to be consistently better than RA Dickey or Takahashi over the long run, then you haven't been paying enough attention to the rest of the league over the past year and a half.

  11. MikeTomaselli May 27, 2010 at 1:38 pm
    AGREED. gary s. is made of sweeping generalizations and assumptions. I don't know why he would say Takahashi is anything but what we have seen. All those supposed "Greg Maddox"'s of the NPB never showed us have of what we are getting from Takahashi. I see no reason why he can't succeed all year, perhaps not at this level, but he doesn't look like he has "completely fall apart" anywhere in his vocabulary.

    As for Dickey I'm happy that he is on this team because a guy with a rubber arm who can start one day and long relief two days later is an asset. A Knuckler is not something you can scout really well and as long as he is performing to his ability to throw it, he should succeed. So in the end if Niese comes back healthy and the Mets pick up another starter then Dickey goes to the pen in long relief, I think he is still an asset and going to help this team win. If he stays in the rotation I don't doubt that he can be successful. After all he's only 26 in "Knuckleballer years."

  12. MikeTomaselli May 27, 2010 at 1:45 pm
    'dude I agree because I don't believe in trading prospects unless it is from a surplus, and the Mets clearly don't have that. An example would be if the Mets had a stud SS behind Reyes and Reyes was not going anywhere, then you trade the prospect as a centerpiece. I also think that above getting Kevin Millwood or similar pitcher (not top tier ie Lee/Oswalt) this team is better off keeping the prospects. I think Omar has done a commendable job of keeping his young talent because it is so easy in NY to just trade Mejia for Oswalt and satiate the fanbase. I know he is trying to save his job, and the directive to hold on to prospects may be from above his head, but he hasn't pulled that trigger in what seems like a few years and I commend him for it.

    Having said that I really believe Kevin Millwood is the guy to go for. Yes he will cost a young arm, and yes he is obscured on a bad team, but he was great last year in Texas, he has pitched a lot of innings the past few years (consistency and durability) and I think he fits in really well at Citi.

  13. gary s. May 27, 2010 at 2:00 pm
    the fact that perez and maine going down almost destroyed the season is a sweeping generalization??i don't think so.before everyone falls in love with takahashi, let's see him pitch a few times on the road.he's been great so far and so has dickey, but the mets need another starter and i would try and get a millwood type, for lower rung prospects if possible.imho, u cannot count on niese (too injury prone) and dickey is a short term fill in.since we are winning right now, we could make a deal for a pitcher without being held up by another team.
  14. Nick May 27, 2010 at 2:10 pm
    Okay to the above post if you think this is a hot streak. I do believe it something more.
    Our bullpen has some solid pieces (albeit some roller coaster rides), and has been solid just like it has been in years past; 2008, not withstanding.

    This lineup is good. It has talent and when it comes together watch out. They're all tearing ass right now and getting hot. And that's what baseball is about, getting hot as much as you can. Not everybody can be a champion ballclub, ala Boston for most of the aughts, or the Yankees in the late 90's, or the Mets in 2006. Guess what, those teams don't always win the championship cuz one bad timed cold streak and their a dead duck.
    Show me where in this lineup we have a hole.
    I like you isuzu, always appreciate your input, but your being a pessimist right now. The Yankees are a good team who gave us a good fight, and we beat them fair and square. The Phillies might be cold, but its saying something if we can keep em cold.
    This team is a good team when all of the pieces are working together, and I have no doubt that it is a reflection of the coaching staff and probably a little something to do with Reyes getting hot ; )

    no matter what, let's not go nuts here, Ike Davis ain't going nowhere unless its in a blockbuster (ala Adrian Gonzalez). Same with Mejia. Clearly I've given up on Fmart, and yes its probably not likely anybody will really want him anyway, unless your including him in a salary dump for a good starter like Oswalt.

  15. mic May 27, 2010 at 5:20 pm
    Fire Omar!!!….Oh wait he imported (literally) unknowns in Valdes, Iggy and Tak, got Bay to sign.

    Personally, i hope this rotation keeps going. Ala Minaya's vision Santana is better if hitters face an RA dickey, Takashi, and Pel who are all very very different.

    As for these Oswalt dreams…I say No. There is no one out there that is not a short term fix, or high risk commodity. If there is a trade rather I would trade Reyes/Beltran plus Brad Holt/Gee/Evans/Havens/ ……I think Beltran for Dice-K would be a nice newspaper seller.

    Enter text right here!

  16. Mic May 27, 2010 at 5:26 pm
    PS I have been to the last two Pads games, NO WAY I trade Ike for A-gon. If you are looking at why the Mets are rolling, look at Ike both defensively AND on offense. Example the play on Sunday night in the 9th inning (2nd out?). …ALL IKE.

    Enter text right here!

  17. gary s. May 27, 2010 at 6:35 pm
    dude, u have to play to win every year.saying we are not going to trade prospects because we are building for 2011 is do u know that these "prospects" will stay healthy and be able to produce in 2011 and beyond?? if we can add a cliff lee or a millwood we have a terriffic chance to take 2 out 3 in 3 game series for the rest of the year.the nl east other than the phillies is a weak division.the only player i wouldn't move is ike davis.i'm a jets fan..last year they were 4-6 and looked dead in the water and ended up 30 minutes from a super bowl.this is not a great team, but adding a solid #3 starter makes us a good team.i say go for it NOW!!