Mets 5 Phillies 0
Who are these Mets? Who are those Phillies?
The Mets won their fourth in a row — beating the Yankees and Phillies — and their fifth of their last six. They’ve shut out the Phillies in back-to-back games using fill-in starters. Is it because they’re that good? Is it because Jerry Manuel knows exactly what buttons to press, and when? Now that they’ve crawled out of the cellar, should we expect the Mets to start mashing their way to the top of the division?
Time will tell.
Hisanori “Don’t Call Me Ken” Takahashi spun another brilliant start, stupefying the Phillies through six innings of shutout ball. He allowed 5 hits, walked none, and struck out 6. The Phillies truly looked befuddled against him — I guess that’s what happens when they aren’t told what’s coming.
Takahashi is now tied with Johan Santana and Mike Pelfrey for the team lead in wins (4). He’s posted a 0.81 ERA over his last 8 appearances, going back to Cinco de Mayo.
Is it a coincidence that Takahashi, Raul Valdes, Jennry Mejia, and R.A. Dickey have been the biggest surprises on the staff, and none were exposed to Dan Warthen until very recently? Probably.
Jose Reyes blasted his first homer of the year, a 400-foot laser over the right field wall. He’s just getting warmed up, folks.
Rod Barajas — a.k.a., “Lord of the (High) Flies” — drove in 3 more runs with a double and a long fly. He’s hitting .533 with 8 RBI in 4 games vs. the Phillies this year. Clearly, NL teams do not archive their scouting reports, or Hot Rod would not continually get pitches low and in — pretty much the only spot his bat swings through. Let’s hope no one catches on.
Similarly, I hope the Mets continue to throw pitches — of any variety — down and away to Ryan Howard. Change-ups, fastballs, breaking pitches — it doesn’t matter what — if the pitch is below his knees, and off the outside corner, he’s swinging and missing. Those breezes must have been welcome in the 95+ degree heat during the game.
Angel Pagan was 2-for-4 with two stolen bases and a run scored, and his push bunt in the sixth helped ignite a three-run rally. He’s quietly turning into a solid offensive force at the bottom half of the lineup. Carlos Who?
Speaking of steals, the Mets are 7-for-7 in stolen base attempts in this series, and are second in the NL in both total steals (43) and SB percentage (83%).
Fernando Nieve did make an appearance, tossing 14 pitches in a perfect ninth. But this outing was PLANNED, as he was “getting his work in” in preparation for a spot start this coming weekend. Really? He needs to get work in? It will take a minor miracle to keep his right arm from detaching from his body before the end of the season.
The Mets are now 18-9 at home, and beginning to resemble the 1987 Twins, minus the dome.
The Phillies have scored a scant 15 runs in their past 8 games. The’ve scored 4 runs in their last 45 innings. The pitchers on the end of the Mets depth chart have shut them out through 18 consecutive innings. WTF?
This was the first time the Mets shut out the Phillies in back-to-back games since July 17-18, 1998, when Al Leiter and Hideo Nomo pulled the trick (back then pitchers still occasionally finished what they started).
The Phillies, by the way, have been shut out four times this year — three of those times in their last three games.
Next Mets Game
The Mets go for the sweep on Thursday night, sending Mike Pelfrey to the mound against Cole Hamels. Game time is 7:10 PM.