Mets Game 4: Win Over Phillies

Mets 7 Phillies 1

Look who’s sitting in a tie for first place atop the NL East.

Cole Hamels continued his struggles against the Mets, allowing six runs in the third inning — a deficit not even the “comeback kids” of Philadelphia could overcome — as the orange and blue coasted to a 7-1 victory.

Chris Young kept the Phillies hitters in fits, allowing just one run to win his Mets debut, and he helped himself at the plate by going 3-for-3 — pretty impressive for a career .137 hitter. Meanwhile, David Wright was the offensive star, clubbing four hits, driving in two, and scoring twice.

Game Notes

One must wonder if Hamels has some kind of a mental or emotional issue when facing the Mets, because he has really pitched poorly against them in recent years — seemingly, ever since he called the Mets “choke artists” in the winter after the 2008 season. Actually, that’s not entirely true; he had a 6.00 ERA against the Mets during ’08. But I’d like to believe that his “choke” comment either started a bad karma cycle for him, or created an extra bit of tension that enters his mind every time he faces the orange and blue.

Speaking of Hamels, during his struggles in the third, he barked at home plate umpire Chris Guccione (no relation to Bob) on two pitches down and away to Ike Davis that were called balls. The SNY crew commented that Hamels was simply frustrated, and Ron Darling said “Those pitches aren’t even close”. Well, if you trust Pitch F/X, the first three pitches thrown to Davis were all seen as strikes by the technology. Davis took all three, two of them were called balls, and the fourth pitch was sent up the middle for an RBI single to score the fourth run of the inning and keep the rally going. If Pitch F/X was correct, and those two balls were called strikes, the inning may have played out much differently. That big inning clearly took the wind out of the Phillies’ sails — as did the chilly weather — and for once we witnessed an opposing team go through the motions after falling behind early. Is this a sign of things changing with the “fightin’ Phils” ?

Also during that third inning, Angel Pagan went from first-to-third on a base hit to left field. Raul Ibanez picked up the ball as Pagan was rounding second and was only about 100 feet from third base. Yet, he held on to the ball, looking puzzled, and eventually threw the ball to second base. Cutoff man Jimmy Rollins was in place — not that he should have been needed — so I’m not sure what the heck Ibanez was doing. When Ibanez looked up after picking up the ball Pagan was still only halfway to third, and there was plenty of time to throw him out from that distance had Ibanez come up throwing right away. Is his arm so bad that he can’t make a 100-foot throw? Was he simply stunned that Pagan would advance to third? I’ll get into this in more detail, with photos, in an upcoming post.

Mike Nickeas started behind the plate against the lefthanded Hamels. Obviously, Josh Thole had a day off along with everyone else on Monday. Anyone care to comment?

Jose Reyes had two hits and stole his first base of the year. However, he didn’t draw any walks, so he’s still not worth signing to an extension.

The Mets’ ninth spot in the order was 4-for-4; the Phillies’ was 2-for-3.

Once again, a game finished without Francisco Rodriguez on the mound at the end. He now has only 158 more opportunities to finish 55 ballgames. He’ll need to appear at least once every 2.87 games for the rest of the year in order for that $17.5M option to vest.

Next Mets Game

The FIRST-PLACE Mets face Phillies at 7:05 PM on Tuesday night. Mike Pelfrey looks to gain his first win of the year and to give the Mets sole possession of first place in the NL East. Meanwhile, Phillies’ fifth starter Joe Blanton will do what he can to prevent the Phillies from falling into second place.

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. Joe April 6, 2011 at 8:56 am
    Mike Nickeas needed a game and might have pitched Sunday except that Thole has experience (not that it totally helped) catching Dickey.

    Talking about SNY chatter, Darling mentioning how the basketball game was so tedious that he switched to PBS to watch The Civil War was amusing.

    The Phils having a pitcher that the Mets is only fair — even Achilles had a weak spot.

  2. Mike April 6, 2011 at 11:37 am
    I think it is becoming increasingly obvious that *if healthy* this team will hit this year.

    Wright’s approach really does look like 2 years ago. Beltran just looks good. Pagan is still impressive. Ike is clearly getting better. Emaus knows how to take an at-bat. The bench is not full of Alex Cora and Double-Play Tatis. Reyes still has some things to show me, but doesn’t look nearly as horrific as he did last year batting third.

    Now just get Bay back and get him going and this team will assuredly hit on most every night. I’m happy about that.

  3. xDanTanna April 6, 2011 at 11:51 am
    Good Win, you have to be happy w/ the start so far. As far as starting Nickeus over Thole. That one leaves me scratching my head a bit. Simply put; you can’t give Thole a day off to start this series, especially coming off an off-day. So bad job by Collins there.. but he got away with it.

    My reasoning is: This is one of those set the tone type series that I feel you have to suit up your best players.

  4. gary s. April 6, 2011 at 11:58 am
    can’t complain about 3-1 start..winning tonite would be huge, because we have to face halladay thursday .. I agree with dantanna that it’s silly to rest thole after a day off because a lefty was starting.Nickeas seems overmatched vs. big league pitchers .. I hope pelfrey steps up tonite and gives us a quality start