Mets Game 94: Win Over Phillies
Mets 5 Phillies 0
A strange occurrence in Flushing on this lazy Sunday afternoon — the Mets won at home, with Matt Harvey on the mound.
Mets Game Notes
Matt Harvey dominated the Phillies. Not much else to say — he did what he’s been doing pretty much all season. The only thing that made this different from other starts was that the Mets gave him offensive support at home.
Meanwhile, Cliff Lee struggled mightily. If in fact that WAS Cliff Lee and not someone who looks a lot like him. Lee allowed 5 runs and 3 home runs, which seems to be a common theme for him lately. He even walked a batter. Bad timing for a slump if the Phillies are looking to trade him at the deadline.
Harvey and the Mets received all the runs they needed when David Wright hit a solo shot in the initial inning. Marlon Byrd followed with another, making it the first time all year the Mets went back-to-back with homers.
Byrd is having a career year at the age of 35, about to turn 36. Is there really no one even a little suspicious? Really? Even if he hadn’t been suspended last year for PEDs use, and even if he hadn’t “trained” under the watchful eye of former BALCO owner Victor Conte? Hey, maybe his PEDs use was actually suppressing his talent. Hmmm …
Juan Lagares is officially red-hot — he’s now 7 for his last 10 — and continues to play a stellar center field. Is he the Mets’ answer in the middle of the outfield? Color me skeptical. He’s on fire, so it’s difficult to judge him objectively. As mentioned in the previous post, I see no separation between stride and swing, as well as diving into the plate and hitting off his front foot. Many MLB hitters have used this style, few, if any, have won a batting title. Not that I expect Lagares to bat .350 — the point is that it’s not a sustainable approach. His homer off of Lee came on a hanging curveball, with most of his weight forward on the front foot. I’m not being critical to be a jerk — merely pointing out that the method is flawed, and suggesting that eventually it will be a problem (as it was earlier this season). In other words, enjoy his hot streak while it lasts, but don’t point to it as evidence of being the Mets’ center fielder for years to come.
I found it mildly hilarious hearing the SNY crew suggest that Terry Collins could be concerned about sealing the victory after Delmon Young hit a one-out double in the top of the seventh. Harvey was still on the mound with a five-nothing lead. The funny part was that SNY was probably right. How bad is your team (and/or your bullpen management) when you’re worried about a victory, despite have a five-run lead, with seven outs left, and one of the top five pitchers in baseball chucking for you? But that’s the concern when you manage every single game like it’s the seventh game of the World Series, and often need five relievers to get three outs.
It will be interesting to watch what the Phillies do in terms of their roster over the next two weeks. It’s almost a certainty that the Wild Card will come out of the NL Central, so a postseason appearance would be possible only by winning the East. If the Phillies are going to make the kind of run necessary to overtake the Braves, they absolutely have to beat teams like the Mets. I don’t think they’ll sell — mainly because they seem earnest in staying the course, but also because they’d be selling low on most if not all of their potential chips. Cliff Lee is looking bad over his last few starts, Chase Utley is in a walk year, Jonathan Papelbon is no longer elite (and has an expensive contract), Jimmy Rollins is doing poorly in the first year of an expensive contract, Carlos Ruiz is struggling, and Roy Halladay is still disabled. They might be able to get something for Delmon Young or Michael Young, but I get the feeling they want to keep them both around.
Don’t look now, but this underperforming Phillies team is in second place. The Nationals are free falling. This is likely why Philadelphia feels they’re still “in it” — because technically, they are. Makes one wonder: with the NL East teams performing well under expectations, what if the Mets had spent a few dollars in the offseason, and were more earnest in efforts to fill holes? Might THEY be in second place right now?