Archive: July 3rd, 2009

Mets Game 79: Loss to Phillies

Phillies 7 Mets 2

The Phillies racked up seven runs in the first three innings against Livan Hernandez, and never looked back.

Hernandez was mercifully excused from his duties with no outs and the bases loaded in the fourth inning, at which point he had allowed 7 earned runs on 10 hits and 4 walks through three. It could’ve been an even uglier line, but long man Pat Misch got two ground balls resulting in three outs and no runs scored to save Livan’s ERA.

The Mets bullpen shut down the Phillies bats over the last five innings of play (Misch threw three shutout innings). Maybe the home team was simply tired of swinging and running around the bases.

Notes

Interestingly, Livan wasn’t victimized much by the gopher ball — a solo blast by Jayson Werth was the only run scored via homerun. Instead, the Phils mostly singled him to death. The top three hitters in the lineup were 6-for-8 against him in the first four frames.

OK, so, to reiterate: the Mets were beaten in a game where RODRIGO LOPEZ and CHAN HO PARK combined for eight innings of two-run ball. What else is there to say?

Ryan “Hercules” Church went 3-for-4. He’s now 13 for his last 23 and his season batting average has surged to .300. It’s safe to say he has “stepped up”. But hey, Danny Murphy (.245) is still a better hitter, as far as me and Pops Manuel are concerned.

Bobby Parnell pitched a perfect inning in this game. He does really well when the game is out of reach.

Once again, GREAT work by Emmy Award-winning Bill “Wizard” Webb, particularly in the third inning on a double by Jimmy Rollins. On the play, Rollins should have had a single, but made it to second because no one was covering the bag. Webb’s cameras gave us great up-close shots of Ryan Church fielding the ball in center, Rollins running down the first base line, and Livan throwing his glove at the ball up the middle, but unfortunately was not able to give us an angle that actually captured the play as it developed. Where was Fernando Tatis or Alex Cora? No one sitting at home knows, because no cameras were on them. Even if they had, most likely we would have seen the acne on Cora’s face or Tatis picking his nose, rather than a broad view shot that gave us an inkling on the actual ACTION.

For those unaware, many Emmy Awards are doled out to people not because of performance or popularity, but simply because someone took the time to fill out the necessary forms. No joke.

Next Mets Game

The Mets and Phillies do it again on July 4th at 4:05 PM (yeah, a FOX game). Fernando Nieve faces Jamie Moyer.

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Series Preview: Mets vs. Phillies

phillies-76The phireworks will be on the phield in Philadelphia this weekend, as the second-place Mets take on the phirst-place Phillies in a series that could be a turning point in the season for both teams.

In case you hadn’t noticed, the Phillies are not alone at the top of the division — the Florida Marlins have crept in to share the top seed thanks to an offensive resurgence and solid starting pitching. At the same time, the Phils have been stumbling mightily, losing their last three in a row and seven of their last ten ballgames.

The Phillies’ slide has been congruent with the absence of Raul Ibanez, who has been on the DL since June 18 with a groin strain. He was scheduled to return this evening in time for the Mets, but Philly has decided to play it cautious and hold him back a few days (what a novel concept!). Philadelphia has also been affected by injuries to their pitching staff — LOOGY Scott Eyre, middle man Clay Condrey, and rookie Antonio Bastardo are all on the DL, and Brad Lidge just came off a few days ago (Eyre might be activated this weekend). Additionally, Jimmy Rollins’ season-long slump continues, Cole Hamels has allowed 17 hits and 11 runs in his last 9 innings, and Lidge cannot be trusted to close games.

Game 1: Livan Hernandez(5-3, 4.04 ERA) vs. Rodrigo Lopez (0-0, 0.00 ERA)

You read that right — Rodrigo Lopez is alive and well and starting Friday night for the Phillies. Lopez, who hasn’t been relevant since 2005, and not thrown an MLB pitch in two years, was chosen to make this start instead of top prospect Carlos Carrasco (among others). The 33-year-old was 3-0 with a 0.86 ERA in his last three starts at Class AAA Lehigh Valley. From what I understand he still throws junk. Facing Lopez will be Livan Hernandez, who continues to do exactly what the Mets need him to do — eat innings and keep the team in ballgames. Keep on keeping on, Livan!

Game 2: Fernando Nieve (3-1, 2.25 ERA) vs. Jamie Moyer (6-6, 6.05 ERA)

Talk about a contrast in starters — one, a young flamethrower on the rise, the other, an old junkballer at his demise. Fernandomania suffered a setback a few days ago, but even Jorge Sosa wasn’t perfect through his first four starts (ironically, Sosa also lost his fourth start as a Met — an 8-1 drubbing at the hands of the Braves). If Nieve keeps his fastball down the way he did in his first three starts, he should be OK. What Moyer brings to the table is anyone’s guess — he’s been consistently inconsistent (though pretty impressive for someone collecting Social Security checks).

Game 3: Johan Santana (9-6, 3.34 ERA ) vs. Joe Blanton (4-4, 5.08 ERA)

Santana is still among the top thee starters in all of baseball, but his month of June was the worst of his career. One can only hope that a new month changes that pattern. Blanton has been up and down, and lately down — the Phillies have lost all of his last five starts. He’s been pushed far beyond the 100-pitch count several times this year, so don’t be surprised to see him lingering if the game is close in the late innings.

Final Thoughts

The Mets might take two out of three, or even sweep. They could just as easily get swept — that’s the way this season is playing out for everyone in the NL East. Find a comfy chair, crack open a cold one, sit back, and enjoy the ballgames.

Or, if this rollercoaster ride is too much, distract yourself by attempting to grill the perfect burger this weekend — at least that goal is within your control.

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