Mets Game 147: Loss to Phillies
Phillies 5 Mets 3
Once again the Mets squandered a stellar performance by their starting pitcher.
Pedro Martinez pitched 6 innings, allow one measly run on 7 hits and no walks, striking out 9, expending 98 pitches. He was masterful, riding a very effective down and in, sinking fastball and a variety of change-ups. I didn’t see him throw one curveball nor other breaking pitch — making the performance all the more impressive. But then, when your slowest pitch is clocked at 58 MPH and your fastest 93 MPH, you can get by pretty nicely commanding pitches at varying speeds.
After those strong six frames, Pedro Feliciano came on in relief and promptly gave up a double to Tadahito Iguchi, who scored on Shawn Green’s first error in 80 games at first base. It was typical of the Phillies’ day — of their seven hits off of Pedro, three were weak bloops perfectly placed between fielders, with one of them an RBI single by Aaron Rowand.
Feliciano responded by striking out the next three batters — Chase Utley, Pat Burrell, and Ryan Howard — to end the inning. Unfortunately, despite the fact it is September 15th, Willie Randolph still hasn’t figured out that his relief pitchers are not effective beyond one inning. As a result, he pushed Pedro Lite back out there to start the eighth, and whaddya know Aaron Rowand hit a homer on the second pitch he saw to tie the game. The genius known as Randolph brought in Jorge Slider … er, Sosa … to come in one batter too late. However, Sosa wasn’t very effective, walking future Hall of Famers Wes Helms and Pete LaForest (who?!) to face Jimmy Rollins. Somehow before Rollins came to the plate, two outs were made — but that was actually a negative because the runners were going at the crack of the bat. And once again the Phillies got lucky, as Rollins lifted a fly to center that Carlos Beltran either misjudged or lost in the sun. By the time Beltran chased after the ball and got it back to the infield, both runners scored and Rollins was standing on third. Phillies, 5-3.
In the eighth, J.C. “Superman” Romero came on to get a groundout from pinch-hitter Carlos Gomez, and then Tom “Flash” Gordon came on to get two easy outs from Paul LoDuca and Lastings Milledge. With the Mets down by two runs and no one on base, both LoDuca and LMillz swung wildly at the very first offering from Gordon. When Gordon was really “Flash” — about three years ago — I MIGHT excuse that bit of stupidity. But against a guy who’s a shell of his former self, and carrying an ERA near six? Take a strike, dummy.
Anyone think J.C. Romero might have some “help” since joining the Phillies? You know, kind of like the “help” Guillermo Mota received last year when he joined the Mets? Romero was a bullpen teammate of Juan Rincon with the Twins. It’s sad, isn’t it, that we now have to question anyone who suddenly revitalizes his career? (Mota, cough, cough … Ankiel, cough, cough … )
Pedro was clocked as high as 93 MPH, but I think it may have been a glitch in the tracking by the Shea Stadium gun — partly because he didn’t go above 89 on any other pitch, and partly because Phillies’ reliever Kane Davis was also clocked at 99 on one pitch (his next-fastest clocking was 93).
Although he popped up the pitch, it was good to see Moises Alou swinging on a 3-0 pitch in the bottom of the third with Beltran on second base and one out. Why? Because pitchers often throw meatballs on 3-0, and Shawn Green was on deck — Green the double play machine. If Alou walks and Green grounds into a DP, it’s essentially the same result (I hope that made sense). As it turned out, Green walked instead of grounding out — but he wouldn’t necessarily have walked if first base were not open and the righty-hitting LoDuca on deck against the righty Kyle Lohse.
The Mets stole four bases in the third inning, the third time they have accomplished the feat in their history (the first time included a TRIPLE steal).
However, there was some buffoonery on the bases. Most glaring: Jose Reyes attempting to steal third base with two outs and David Wright at the plate — and getting thrown out. What the heck was Jose thinking? Beltran had pulled the same stupid stunt in the third inning and got away with it — but it didn’t make it an intelligent move.
Marlon Anderson was thrown out of the game for arguing a full-count strike three call in the ninth. The pitch was at least four inches outside. Reyes walked as the following batter, so instead of first and second with no outs, it was one out and a man on first in the ninth. Going one further, Luis Castillo reached on an infield hit, so it could have been bases loaded, no outs, with David Wright up at the plate. Still, it was too little, too late.
The Mets have now lost seven straight games against the Phillies.
Another afternoon game for the finale, with Oliver Perez facing Adam Eaton at 1:10 PM. As mentioned in the Series Preview, the Mets need only win ONE game, and this is the one they need. Ollie has pitched some nice Sunday afternoon games at Shea this year, let’s hope he keeps that trend going.