Mets Game 9: Loss to Phillies

Phillies 8 Mets 2

The final score looks ugly, but it really wasn’t that bad until the very end, when the defense broke down and the bullpen fell apart completely. Hey, the Mets still took two out of three in Philadelphia, so we can’t get too upset.

Mets Game Notes

Early on, Mike Pelfrey struggled commanding his fastball, generally missing his target too high, but he started to find his sinker at the bottom of the zone around the third inning. It was nice to see him snapping off 12-6 curveballs with tight spin and good bite — tell me, again, why that pitch was taken away from him when he first came up to the big leagues?

Also nice to see that Big Pelf has finally developed a decent pickoff move. He’s still a nervous nellie with runners on, but at least they can’t run rampant any more.

Speaking of runners on against Pelfrey, it’s so painful to watch; it reminds me of Steve Trachsel. After all these years, one would think that Pelfrey would eventually learn to stay cool and remain confident. Instead, he looks terrified, he dilly-dallies, and we are on the edge of our seats hoping that the other team runs into an out or a fielder makes a spectacular diving play to save him.

Cole Hamels had downright filthy stuff — so good that I wondered if he would throw a no-no after disposing the first two batters of the game. But that idea was squashed quickly when David Wright dropped a Texas leaguer into right field for the first hit of the game, and Ike Davis followed with his first homer of the year — a no-doubter into the right field seats. The Mets started to figure him out the second time through the lineup, as his big curve turned a little lazy and tended to hang up too high and too long.

I hate to use the cliche, but the gopher ball to Davis was the only mistake Hamels made — he otherwise set down the Mets seemingly without breaking a sweat. Meanwhile, Pelfrey was in trouble in nearly every inning, yet found (lucked into?) ways to wiggle out. Two things killed the Phillies — at least, until they met the Mets relievers — an inability to hit anything but singles, and refusal to take walks. It’s hard to score runs without extra-base hits.

As frustrating as it was to watch Pelfrey, he did pitch well enough to win. Unfortunately, Hamels pitched better, and the Mets bullpen wasn’t up to the task this time around.

Ike looks like he’s out of his slump; his timing was perfect on both his homer and his single to center and he had very positive / confident body language all day.

David Wright remains red hot; he dumped two bloops into right field for singles, both were inside-out swings that spoiled hard sinkers on the inside edge of the plate.

I don’t understand how Pete Orr continues to find his way on to MLB rosters and in starting lineups. He’s not a spectacular fielder, he doesn’t have blinding speed, he can’t hit a lick, yet somehow he survives. Orr reminds me of the backup middle infielders who used to litter rosters from the 1970s; guys like Rod Gilbreath, Rick Auerbach, Pat Rockett, Rob Sperring, Fred Stanley, Rob Andrews, Mike Champion, etc. I’m sure he’s a pleasant chap but I find it hard to believe there isn’t someone in the Phillies organization — or available via free agency — who can bring more to the table.

Speaking of hitless wonders from the 70s, is it me or have these first two weeks felt like ballgames from back then — when it wasn’t unusual for a pitcher to have an ERA under 3.00 and hitting 20 homers in a season was a big deal?

When I see Laynce Nix I think Matt Stairs. You?

Miguel Batista is beginning to resemble a cross between Pedro Feliciano and Brent Gaff. Like Perpetual Pedro, he pitches nearly every day; like Gaff, he appears in every kind of situation, but it rarely turns out well. I don’t know what he was thinking on a slow grounder down the 1B line in the 8th. He waited for the ball to roll foul, yet could have very easily picked it up and tagged out John Mayberry for out number three. So much for the benefit of veteran experience.

It wasn’t game 162, so Jonathon Papelbon finished the game without incident. He has some nasty stuff.

Jason Bay was a late scratch due to a jammed ring finger. Shame, since he was finally looking like he had a clue at the plate.

Next Mets Game

The Mets head down to Atlanta to begin a three-game series against the Braves at 7:10 p.m. on Monday night. Dillon Gee faces Tommy Hanson.

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. MikeT April 16, 2012 at 9:01 am
    So far all of the Mets three losses on the year are largely due to poor defense. Not entirely, but the Mets were in all of these games up until bad defense opened the door. Defense is important in run prevention, boys and girls, and defense is the Metsies biggest flaw.
  2. Joe April 16, 2012 at 10:02 am
    Pelfrey giving you six and Davis hitting along with the first two wins made this game acceptable. The Phils and Hamels v. the Mets were due, after all. Batista is trying to make people pine for D.J. Carrasco apparently. He did get that last out in the sixth once.
  3. Jeff April 16, 2012 at 10:54 am
    I can’t watch Manny Acosta anymore. Can we bring up Josh Edgin already? The man is 25 years old, not a kid, and proved in ST that he has good stuff, is not intimidated and goes right after hitters – something that Acosta does not. It is beyond inexcusable to walk the bases loaded and then walk in a run making it a two-run game in the bottom of the 8th inning when we already had a big enough hill to climb at 3-2. Of course Batista comes in and throws more gasoline on the fire – but it was Ramirez and Acosta that blew up this game. There is absolutely no reason to have Edgin in the minors while Manny Acosta is on our staff. The man stinks.
    • MikeT April 16, 2012 at 1:33 pm
      You are probably right, but I take two things away from yesterday. Collins is not going to overwork anyone in the bullpen. Parnell pitched the 8th a couple of days ago, and Rauch before him. Acosta my prove to not deserve the big spots, but at least he is getting a shot early. The other take away for me is that without the error from Tejada, the Mets have a shot at tying that game in the 9th, and I have a feeling that they will get to Papplebon at some point this year. I believe that defense will continue to be a problem (not to single out Tejada, he just happened to be the goat yesterday), but the offense works hard and will make up for a lot of bad fielding with runs scored. It will be sweet when Papplebon blows a save against the Mets.