Mets Game 26: Win Over Phillies
Mets 6 Phillies 1
Channeling the ghost of Eddie Rabbit, the Mets love a rainy night.
Mets Game Notes
On a night not meant for baseball, the Mets reign down on the Phillies in Philadelphia and go 4 games over .500.
Jonathon Niese did what he needed to do, throwing strikes for seven innings to a Phillies team that clearly packed it in after falling behind early. And the Mets offense did what it needed to do — take advantage of a pitcher struggling mightily against the weather and inner demons.
Cole Hamels completely wet the bed in the fourth frame (see what I did there?); he’s done that several times in the past against the Mets, and I don’t know if it’s something he does frequently, or if he has a mental thing with the Mets. Hamels couldn’t throw a strike, and bounced several in the dirt, walking four in the process including one to Jonathon Niese with the bases loaded that forced a run home. Hamels threw 37 pitches in the inning, and if Eric Young, Jr. didn’t ground out on the second pitch he saw for out number three, I’m not sure Hamels would’ve been able to throw two more strikes against him. I don’t believe it had anything to do with the weather — I firmly believe that Hamels occasionally falls into these Steve Sax episodes.
Hamels wasn’t much better in the fifth, as he hit Josh Satin and then walked Travis d’Arnaud to load the bases. Then, Ruben Tejada swung from his heels on the first pitch he saw to give Hamels a strike, and followed it with a two-run single to center on Hamels’ 106th and last pitch, with two outs in the fifth.
Tejada, by the way, also hit a double down the third base line; it was a grounder that skipped off the 3B bag and into no-man’s land against the wall in foul territory in left field. Jayson Nix was playing in on Tejada, presumably guarding against a bunt, and might have had a chance to knock down the ball had he been playing at normal depth. I don’t understand why anyone ever plays Tejada in with no one on base — has he EVER attempted to bunt for a hit in his life? Do teams simply assume he has speed because he’s otherwise an awful offensive player? Very mysterious.
Even though Ryan Howard already has five homers this year, he clearly isn’t the same hitter. He’s getting nothing from his bottom half, probably because of lingering issues and/or bad habits as a result of his left achilles injury. Kids, your baseball swing starts with the turning of your back foot — the legs and hips are bigger and slower than your hands, so you start the lower half first to give it a head start. After starting the hips, you fire the hands quickly down to the ball. If you watch Howard swing, however, his upper body almost always leads the swing, and his bottom half lags behind — you’ll see his back foot turn AFTER his hands have already moved forward. Again, not sure if it’s because he still has pain in his achilles, or if it was a bad habit that resulted from previous pain. I had a similar issue after tearing the ligaments in my right ankle (I am a righthanded hitter) in my senior year of college, and because of the injury, I couldn’t turn my back foot efficiently, and as a result had no power.
Daniel Murphy was thrown out attempting to take second base on a pitch in the dirt in the third inning. However, that doesn’t count as a caught-stealing, so his consecutive steals streak remains intact. I always wondered why that play didn’t count as a caught stealing. When you think about it, it doesn’t make much sense, because, in effect, the runner IS trying to “steal” a base. I’ve always felt that if the catcher throws the runner out, the catcher should be credited with a caught-stealing, because it takes skill to block the ball, pick it up, and throw a runner out. Also, if the runner doesn’t advance on a pitch in the dirt, shouldn’t he be punished (in the stats) by making a poor decision? It’s bad enough that most steals are really the fault of the pitcher, yet they go against the catcher’s stats. And if the pitch is blocked so well that the runner is thrown out, how can it be described as a “wild” pitch? Something to ponder.
Murphy did swipe a bag later in the game to further extend his streak. He also had three hits, all against Hamels. Not sure how or why, but Murphy has had Hamels’ number his entire career.
Next Mets Game
The Mets and Phillies are scheduled to do it again on Wednesday night at 7:05 PM on Wednesday night, but if the weather reports are correct, the game will be flooded out. In the event there is a contest, Bartolo Colon faces Kyle Kendrick.