Mets Game 109: Loss to Phillies
Phillies 7 Mets 5
Jonathon Niese had his big curveball working, the home plate umpire had a huge, pitcher-friendly strike zone, and the Phillies were without Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, and Shane Victorino.
In other words, a sure-fire formula for success.
But, something went wrong on the way toward fulfilling that formula — I blame the scientist in the lab.
Niese allowed 4 hits and 1 run in 7 innings of work. The bullpen allowed 7 hits and 6 runs in the 8th inning alone. That, in a nutshell, was the ballgame.
On a positive note, Niese had his big overhand curveball working really well — as well as we’ve seen it all year. Why was it so good? Mainly because he was staying more “over the top” with his arm action, staying on top of the ball with a consistently high release point. In other words, he was doing all the things we’ve been saying he needed to do right here at MetsToday (check the archives). With that nice overhand delivery, Niese gets good 11-5 bite on the curve and a mild sink on the fastball. He does not get as much sideways movement on the slider that he calls a cutter, but in my humble opinion that is generally an ineffective pitch that should be used only as a “show” pitch — something to throw maybe 4-5 times a game just to keep the batters thinking of something else. Having a great curve working as he did in this contest is the ultimate equalizer, as we saw through seven formidable innings.
Mike Sweeney had two hits, a run, and an RBI in his debut as a Phillie. Sweeney is one of my all-time favorite players, and if you’ve been visiting for a while you know I’ve advocated the Mets acquiring him several times in the past. It’s remarkable that when the Phillies lose a player like Ryan Howard they are able to pick up a solid veteran such as Sweeney, but when the Mets had all those injuries last year, the best acquisitions they could muster were Wilson Valdez and Anderson Hernandez.
As well as Niese was pitching, there was this eerie feeling throughout that the Phillies were just waiting for the opportunity to explode and take the game. Or maybe it was just me.
Ike Davis went 2-for-4 with a run scored. Jeff Francoeur very quietly went 3-for-4 with 2 runs scored. Mike Hessman very loudly hit a pinch-hit, 3-run homer in the top of the ninth that chased J.C. Romero from the game.
Is a New York Met EVER going to slide hard and aggressively into second base to break up a double play? Just throwing that out there, because it seems like they’re always doing their best to get out of the way and make sure the second baseman or shortstop has a clear, unobstructed path to throw the relay to first.
Next Mets Game
Game two in this three-game set begins at 7:05 PM on Saturday night. Johan Santana faces Cole Hamels and the bullpen binoculars.
It’s ok though because Omar did a wonderful job assembling this bullpen…and lineup…and pitching staff…and coaching staff…
I ever heard he put together the grounds crew!
What a guy, what a team
1. Angel Pagan
2. Luis Castillo
3. Jose Reyes
4. Carlos Beltran
5. David Wright
6. Ike Davis
7. Jeff Francouer
8. Josh Thole/Henry Blanco
1 – Pagan
2 – Reyes
3 – Wright
4-8 They’re all terrible, who cares?
1. Angel Pagan-LF
2. Luis Castillo-2B
3. Jose Reyes-SS
4. David Wright- 3B
5. Ike Davis- 1B
6. Carlos Beltran- CF
7. Jeff Francouer-RF
8. Josh Thole/Henry Blanco (I am in favor of a platoon)