Mets Game 81: Win Over Phillies
Mets 11 Phillies 1
The tables have officially turned.
Mets Game Notes
The Phillies are old, battered, and stink. The Mets are the opposite. This hasn’t been the case since 2006. It doesn’t matter whether or not the Mets win this series (they will), because what we’ve witnessed is that the Phillies era of dominance in the NL East is over, done, finished.
Also finished is Vance Worley, who can be compared to The Knack, Norman Greenbaum, Dexy’s Midnight Runners, The Buggles, Red Rider, Soft Cell, and Oran “Juice” Jones — in that he was a one-hit wonder. The statheads will say it is a result of regression to the mean. I say he’s physically damaged, and always will be, considering his horrendous stand-up follow-through that puts all the strain of deceleration on his arm (can you say, “Tommy Hanson“?). Bottom line is we’re both right, and it all became crystal-clear to Mets fans in this ballgame: Worley is nowhere near the surprising performer he was as a rookie in 2011.
Though, in Worley’s defense (pardon the pun), he wasn’t helped by his defense — both his own and the 7 men behind him. Only one error was charged to the Phillies in the boxscore, but they misplayed several balls that resulted in hits, extended innings, and runs. That’s why the old-school approach was to choke up with two strikes and just try to put the ball in play — because you never know what might happen. That philosophy was lost during the PEDs / radioactive period of home run derby, but I can see it starting to come back as middle infielders no longer routinely mash 25-30 HRs a year.
Speaking of, how about Daniel Murphy? He’s finally hitting almost well enough to overcome his defensive limitations and baserunning blunders. Though, his first “hit” of the day was a fly ball that should have been caught by left fielder John Mayberry, Jr. And for that matter, his second hit was also questionable; where the heck was Mayberry playing Murphy on that one? He must have been positioned where a left fielder might be in the late innings with a righthanded pull hitter — i.e., in guard-the-line, no-doubles defense — because that fly ball wasn’t in the normal “gap.” But, I can understand why Mayberry might’ve been there — first, because of the aforementioned fly that Mayberry missed, and second, because Murphy has been dumping Luis Castillo -like bloopers over the third baseman’s head for the last two months. The scouting reports must reflect that, but now, suddenly, Murphy is hitting the ball where left fielders should be positioned. I’m amazed at Murphy’s luck — he is still swinging with one hand and not really driving the ball with any kind of authority, but because of outfielder positioning, he’s getting doubles. You do have to credit Murphy for his ability to put the bat on the ball; I’ll never question his hand-eye coordination when holding a bat in his hand. He makes contact — but it’s usually ugly, and this year, rarely with any kind of force.
Speaking of Mayberry, the Phillies have zero ability to evaluate their own young talent. They truly believed Mayberry would somehow be the guy to fill the shoes of Raul Ibanez, and really, when you look at it, the third guy who is failing at filling the void left behind by Jayson Werth; they similarly blundered in thinking that Ben Francisco and Domonic Brown were the answers to that question. What’s interesting is that going back to the old days of the 1960s, 70s, and 80s, the Phillies had a tremendous reputation for identifying and developing talent — particularly position players. But that was when they had a scouting department that relied on unreliable methods and tools such as a scout’s eyes and gut. I don’t know enough about their current philosophy — does anyone know if they still rely on the old-school style, or if the problem is they haven’t put the right people in place to smoothly transition to numerical evaluations? By the way, yes, I do realize that the Phillies traded away a huge chunk of young talent to build their roster with stars such as Roy Halladay. But, that doesn’t excuse their horrendous failures in evaluation when it comes to replacements for Werth.
Back to the Mets … it’s too easy to talk about the positives when the team wins by ten runs, so I’ll focus on the negatives. For example, there was yet another issue on the bases involving Lucas Duda and Tim Teufel, in the second inning. Duda eventually scored and the Mets won easily, so this “minor” problem was buried. But this is the third gaffe between these two men in a week, and suggests there may be a larger problem that will continue to cost them runs and possibly wins in tighter ballgames.
What was with Josh Thole pussy-footing around Carlos Ruiz in the fourth? Ruiz was blocking home plate without the ball, Thole had the right of way, and he should have demolished Ruiz. Instead, he tip-toed around him and nearly injured himself in the process. Bad play by Ruiz to be in that position, but maybe it was a good play because he knew Thole wouldn’t try to barrel him over. Can you imagine the outcome if the same play occurred with Ty Wigginton running instead of Thole?
Oh, but I’m a nasty old-schooler who thinks silly thoughts that like that. Baseball’s not a contact sport, after all, and everyone is best buddies with each other! Just because they’re “opponents” doesn’t mean they have to actually “oppose” each other. I love you, you love me, we’re a happy fam-i-ly — with a great big hug and a kiss from me to you, won’t you say you love me too? Excuse me while I vomit.
Eight innings from Jonathon Niese, who gave up just one run on three hits and two walks and expended a paltry 107 pitches. Strong performance on his end combined with a Phillies club that went in the tank after the fourth. Wow, did I mention how the tables have turned? Only a year ago, even a six-run lead in the ninth wasn’t safe against the “Phightin’ Phils.” That team no longer exists.