Mets Game 82: Loss to Phillies
Phillies 9 Mets 2
Cliff Lee had to win a game eventually.
Mets Game Notes
It’s hard to believe it took Lee until Independence Day to win his first game of the season. Who woulda thunk it?
Lee was his vintage self, firing strike after strike after strike; 86 of his 116 pitches were strikes (74%!). That approach works well against the sometimes too-patient Mets lineup, who often seem unable to adjust to strike-throwers by getting aggressive. Of course, Lee is an exceptional pitcher — one of the best in MLB — so it’s not as though anyone should expect the Mets to batter him.
Meanwhile, Chris Young was his usual self, setting down the Phils through six stellar innings. Then came the seventh, when the Phillies suddenly realized he wasn’t doing anything other than throwing batting-practice fastballs and started lifting them over the fence. Though Young gave up three quick runs to give the Phillies the lead, I was surprised to see him lifted for a pinch-hitter with the Mets down by one and Young having only expended 81 pitches. I get that Terry Collins needed to try to make something happen, and tried to correct the mistake of leaving Young in “one inning too long,” but once the game was turned over to the Farhenheit 451 firemen known as the Mets bullpen, well … the game was pretty much given away. I know many will second-guess Collins for leaving Young out there for the seventh, but after seeing what happened after he left, can you really blame Collins?
In contrast, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel has been burned by his bullpen enough times to know he had to ride his horse as long as possible. He was able to leave the efficient Lee out there for eight full frames before allowing his millionaire closer Jonathan Papelbon close out what turned out to be an un-tight ballgame.
There isn’t anything good to say about the Mets’ “relief” in this game. Tim Byrdak has fallen back to Earth of late, proving he’s hittable. Collins lost the matchup game, as both Byrdak and Miguel Batista failed in their one-out roles. Why in the world Collins thought it was a good idea to bring in Jeremy Hefner — whose game is pitching to contact — in a situation that begged for a strikeout, is anyone’s guess. Where was Bobby Parnell? Being “saved” for a potential save? I understand that he was “officially” named the team’s closer while Frank Francisco is on the mend, but doesn’t it make sense to be more flexible when a swing and miss is needed in the eighth inning of a two-run game?