Archive: August 27th, 2007

Mets Game 130: Loss to Phillies

Phillies 9 Mets 2

The final score shows seven runs between the victors and the losers, and it wasn’t even that close.

The Phillies did their usual thing: score a boatload of runs. The scary thing is, they were scoring like the Philadelphia Eagles BEFORE Chase Utley came off the DL. Now with Utley back in the lineup — and swinging just fine, thank you — the only question is whether they’ll be able to convert all the extra points.

On the other hand, the Mets did nothing of consequence. Against J.D. Durbin — he of the 5-point-something ERA and 1.6 WHIP — the Mets offense could muster just two measly runs on six lousy hits in six and a third innings. And would you believe that one of those two runs was scored on an unlikely infield hit by pitcher Brian Lawrence?

With one out in the seventh, and after throwing only 91 pitches, Durbin was inexplicably lifted by Phillies manager Charlie Manuel. This should have been a boon for the Mets, as the Philadelphia phiremen are of the Fahrenheit 451 ilk. But those New York bats could do nothing against future HOFers such as the 12-fingered (and twelve-toed) Antonio Alfonseca, J.C. Romero, Tom Gordon, and Clay Condrey. It was simply a bad, bad night for the Mets offensive.

Notes

Phillies outfielder Jayson Werth has nine hits in his last nine at-bats. I’d say he’s “in the zone”.

Paul LoDuca was 2-for-4 and running around like a ten-year-old at recess in his first game back since August 11. He scored one of the Mets runs and drove in the other.

Message to the Mets: this is how the rest of the series is going to go. If you are interested in taking one of these next three games — and that’s all you need, one friggin’ game — you must score. Don’t plan on the “good pitching beats good hitting” concept — it doesn’t work against this team at Citizen’s Bank Park. Two runs ain’t gonna do it. Neither are three, four, or five. These games will be slugfests — kind of like watching NCAA games with the aluminum bats. Score, score, and score some more.

Next Game

Tom Glavine enters the lion’s den against Adam Eaton. Neither pitcher is expected to pitch past the fourth inning. Of course, that’s expecting the Mets batters can figure out Eaton, who may be the worst starting pitcher in the NL since Jose Lima — and after seeing their putrid performance against the legendary J.D. Durbin, we can’t have any expectations.

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Phrom the Phillies’ Phan’s Perspective

Philadelphia Phillies baseball logo (old)The Mets and Phillies get together for four big games that may — or may not — have a significant impact on the rest of the season. On the surface, it would appear that the Mets are in the driver’s seat — if they split the series, then they actually come out ahead, because the magic number will go down by four. Even if the Mets lose three, the Phillies will still be four games of first. If the Phillies can sweep the Mets, however, they’ll be only two games out — and suddenly this is a high-pressure race.

From the Mets’ fans’ perspective, we can be very satisfied with a split. A Phillies fan, however, has a very different mindset in regard to this series. To get inside the head of a Philadelphia phan, we’ve called on David Cohen of The Good Phight.

(By the way, you should visit The Good Phight to read MY answers to David’s questions in regard to the series.)

1. I think you’ll agree this four-game series is HUGE. With only 33 games left to play, and the Phils six games back … well, do the math — the Phillies need to take at least three of these games if they want to make a move for first place. As a fan, are you still gunning for the NL East title, or watching the Wild Card run more intently?

On my good days, I’m still thinking NL East title. The Mets are flawed, and the Phillies bats are potent. On my bad days, I see no way to get to the post-season, even with a Wild Card, because of this team’s pitching problems.


2. Is Chase Utley playing in the series? How has he done in his rehab assignment? Do you expect him to give the team an emotional as well as offensive lift?

Barring any surprises, he’ll be back tonight. The team has been 14-12 without him, so his absence hasn’t been horrible for the team. Charlie Manuel seemingly does a great job getting his players through apparent setbacks, like injuries to star players. As for his impact upon his return, barring his secretly learning how to pitch while on rehab, his return will certainly help the offense, but that’s not the lift it needs.


3. Tadahito Iguchi has performed fairly well in Utley’s absence, batting .300. When Chase returns, does Charlie Manuel find a spot in the lineup for Iguchi? Third base perhaps?

I would love for Iguchi to try out third base. The tandem of Wegham Nubbselms (see this great piece from Christina Kahrl) would be much better being a full-time bench player(s).


4. J.D. Durbin: I see an ERA nearing six and an unsightly WHIP, yet a 5-3 record. Tell us something about him beyond his stat line, and what has made him a five-game winner.

Here’s all you need to know about Durbin’s five wins: 15-9-10-10-11. Those are the runs scored by the Phillies in each of his wins. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure out what’s going on here. (See also Adam Eaton‘s won-loss record.)


5. Cole Hamels is on the DL, but the most recent prognosis sounds good. Do the Phillies have a chance to make the postseason without him?

Sure. If their offense re-surfaces like yesterday, anything’s possible. But, I’m much happier with Cole returning . . . which should be very soon.


6. The last time we hooked up, I asked if Pat Burrell might be the target of an assassination attempt. Who has been wearing his uniform since the All-Star Break?

Pat Burrell. It’s regression to the mean. He’s on pace to do what he’s done before – another high OBP, 20 to 30 home run, roughly 90-100 RBI season. That’s par for the course for him.


7. Rumor has it that Adam Eaton will return from the DL to face the Mets this week. Is this a good thing for Philly?

Horrible. Eaton has been a disaster. The longer he stays on the DL, the better it is for the Phillies.

9. This late in the season, it’s difficult to make personnel changes. But, if you could improve one position or area of the team for the September stretch run, what would it be? (note: starting pitching and the bullpen count as different areas)

It’s a tough call between the bullpen and the starting pitching, but I go with starting pitching. The team needs quality innings, not just innings. The latter is what many of their starters have provided this year. The offense is good enough to overcome late inning pitching meltdowns, but when they get behind by a ton early on, no one can overcome that.

Thanks again to David for sharing his thoughts from a Philadelphia perspective. Check out The Good Phight for more great info on the Phillies.

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