Mets Game 51: Loss to Phillies
Phillies 10 Mets 6
This game was much closer and low-scoring than the final score would suggest. Mets fans might lament that this was one that got away. In contrast, Phillies fans might believe that their old “fightin’ Phils” are merely back to their comebacking ways. It’s all about perspective, right?
Mets Game Notes
On a positive note, nice seeing the Mets mount a comeback of their own in the ninth — even if it was too little, too late. It’s hard to win when the opposition scores nine runs in the final three frames.
Jimmy Rollins just loves killing the Mets, doesn’t he? The Mets set up their defense in a shift toward the right side, so he poked two hits to the left. And then there was the fly ball that went over the shifted infielders, the outfielders, and the fence.
An interesting pitchers’ duel, in that Dillon Gee put forth about as good of a performance as he’s capable on the same night that Cliff Lee was not quite on his game. The result was a very tight ballgame that was thrilling to watch — for those of us old-schoolers who enjoy games of this type.
And yes, when Cliff Lee allows three runs, that’s a bad night for Cliff Lee — even if it’s a “quality start” for mere mortals.
Regarding the run scored by Daniel Murphy in the first inning on David Wright‘s double: first of all, Murph ran right through a vehemently issued stop sign by third base coach Tim Teufel. Big deal? Not really, though if I’m not mistaken at least a few other Mets have been running through Tuff’s stop signs lately. If that’s true, one has to wonder about the players’ trust in their coach’s decisions. As it was, Murphy slid home safely, just ahead of Brian Schneider‘s tag. I watched the play in slo-mo about a dozen times, trying to figure out how Murph got in there, because Schneider did an excellent, textbook-perfect job of blocking the plate both properly and safely. The reason Murphy wasn’t out was because although Schneider’s bottom half was in proper position — blocking home plate with his left knee facing the runner — he reached both toward the ball and slightly upward to catch it, then had to reach back and down to tag the sliding Murphy. Here’s the thing: a thrown ball moves about ten times faster than the body can rotate at the hips. Thus, the best plan for a catcher in that situation is to receive the ball as late and deep as possible — i.e., as close to home plate as he can. In the case of a high throw, of course, one needs to reach up to get it; but still, one wants to catch it as late as possible. To me it didn’t look like the relay throw from Jimmy Rollins was THAT high. If nothing else, it was on the money. I think it’s possible that Schneider made a mistake by being over-anxious in reaching forward for the throw, and that was the difference in allowing Murphy to score. Had he waited back — even if he still had to reach up if the throw was high — Murphy likely would have been out, because the ball had enough mustard on it to travel exactly to home plate. It sounds like a small thing, but when you look at the replay, you can see that Schneider caught the ball a good three feet in front of home plate, then had to reach back those same three feet to apply the tag; with the ball traveling around 75-80+ MPH, Schneider gave up several precious milliseconds. It’s a game of inches, right?
Great heads’ up play by Cliff Lee to allow Dillon Gee’s popped-up bunt to drop in the second inning, allowing Lee to tag Gee and then double-up Rob Johnson at second. Shame on Gee for not running that bunt out; the only reason Lee was able to do what he did was because Gee just stood there watching the pop-up fall into Lee’s glove. It was a rare, out-of-character performance by Gee, and I’ll give him a mulligan on it this time.
Lucas Duda handled Lee easily, and hit his first homerun in over a month against him. He then hit a second homer in the ninth — exactly 21 hours after I finally gave up on Duda and dropped him from my fantasy baseball team. Hmm … maybe I should pick up Ike Davis for a few days and then drop him …
Bizarre play in the top of the fifth. With a man on first and Schneider at the plate, the Mets infield shifted over to the right side. As planned, Schneider bounced an easy DP grounder to Daniel Murphy, who was confused by Omar Quintanilla encroaching on his territory and Wright covering second base. As a result of the brain fart, Murphy froze, and instead of starting the DP at second, threw to 1B.
A few minutes later, Cliff Lee accidentally foul-tipped a ball off of the knob of his bat. It reminded me that girls softball players actually do that on purpose, though they try to poke the ball in fair play; it’s kind of a modified bunt.
Speaking of Lee at the plate, his crouched batting stance is kind of funny for a pitcher, isn’t it?
Next Mets Game
The Mets get a long-awaited day off on Thursday, then start a four-game set against the Cardinals. Game one on Friday begins at